Exchange of Experience among Kyiv and Transcarpathian Human Rights Activists

Human Rights Fund

Belotserkivsk Centre of Legal Information and Consultation gladly welcomed guests from Mukachevo: a lawyer of known in Ukraine Human Rights Fund “Progress” came with educational visit for exchange of experience.

Workers of the NGO “Legal Unity” shared information about many years of providing free legal aid in Kyiv region and guests from Transcarpathia – success stories of protecting Roma rights.

The leader of the Legal Information and Consultation Nastina Olga: “Since 2007, our organization was the first in Ukraine from the network of identical centers that started to systematically and continuously provide free legal aid to citizens. Job Centre – is not only the “option” for vulnerable citizens and access to information about their rights and ways to implement them or access to justice. First and foremost is the fulfillment of an important mission – Legal Empowerment of the people.” The leader of the Center told about inner work in office: during applying to the Centre keeps records of each client in compliance with the rules of confidentiality of personal data protection. Emerging in client’s affairs, remember all the needed copies and lawyer’s applications or complaints. During all the time of the work was brought the book of the reviews of the work of the Centre, which contains only words of gratitude. “Working with people is always troublesome. We have to spend a lot of time to figure out what exactly led them to us. And very often is not entirely a legal problem. However, no one of them goes without advice, although monthly reception of citizens comes from 250 to 330 clients. In recent years ATO members, their relatives increasingly applied for legal aid “– commented a senior lawyer of the Center Marina Lysych.

Human Rights Fund

The volunteers come to help lawyers – students of legal clinic “Law and Practice” of Belotserkovskii National University. Students are supervised by the consultants lawyer Ina Malyshko working with young people in universities, colleges and technical schools, schools, because legal problems appear not only in the life of adults. During the regular educational and social activities, students were explained how to avoid violations, how to act “in the law,” learn how to defend their rights.

In turn the visitorы shared experience of advocacy work with the Roma population, because the fund “Progress” has over 5 years of experience in this area. Integration of Roma in Ukrainian society is very slow. On average 99% of people choose the easiest way – to justify this problem by saying it is the Roma fault, because they don’t want to improve their legal awareness and culture. Thus, a person who cannot read and write is automatically perceived as ignorant, and there is a lot of Roma like that. But in Ukraine, unfortunately, the level of legal culture in general is very low and do we have the right to talk about the legal barbarism of Roma? Ignorance of the law is a problem for many Ukrainian. The violation of laws, which are the same for all – these are the obstacles with what Roma get help, when they come to our fund. Currently, our organization works on involving Roma in the decision making at the local level. We initiated the Resource Center of Roma Self-Governance in the Transcarpathian region. The work of the Center is designed to provide information and legal support for members of Roma communities who wish to develop the Roma Self- Governance”– Oleg Grigoriev said.

Based on Bilotserkivskyi Center for Legal Information and consultation