Human rights defence special force about to begin work


In the near future an expert team of human rights activists made up of professional defence lawyers will begin work in Ukraine. 25 lawyers, chosen from fierce competition (10 applicants for each place) are taking part in a unique educational programme for defence lawyers on International Law in Human Rights Work.

Authoritative international experts train the lawyers in effective mechanisms for human rights protection, using such mechanisms as the European Court of Human Rights, UN committees, etc. The training for lawyers in Ukraine is organized by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union. Similar courses are being run in 4 other countries: Moldova; Azerbaijan; Belarus and Russia.

Darya Svyrydova, National Coordinator of the Distance Learning Project for Human Rights Lawyers in Ukraine explains: “The project’s main aim is to enable defence and other lawyers to receive systematic distance education in the human rights sphere and to teach them to use human rights standards in their everyday work at national level. The distance learning programme does not aim to provide specific answers to complex questions regarding human rights protection. The project’s primary aim is to acquaint the participants with the main approaches and concepts in the area of international human rights law and to provide a platform for their discussion”.

This course in other countries has resulted in more than 100 applications sent to international and regional systems for human rights defence. In addition, project participants provide defence for human rights activists and take part in joint projects with partner organizations in their countries.

The organizers hope that this will not be the last such course and that more and more professional defence lawyers will turn to defending human rights and become specialists in this sphere.

The project is carried out by the Human Rights House Foundation together with 10 human rights NGOs in various countries.

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