UHHRU Declaration of Ethical Principles

At its annual general meeting on 1 April, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, which is made up of 24 Ukrainian human rights organizations, unanimously adopted the following Declaration of Ethical Principles.

We civic organizations that have joined together in the All-Ukrainian Association of Civic Organizations – the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU)
– recognizing the value of human dignity, freedom, universal human rights, the rule of law, a humane society and democratic State, as well as respect for nature which is the foundation of human life;
– conscious of our responsibility for the achievement of our mission, this being to defend freedom, promote the development of a human society based on respect for human life and dignity, and harmonious relations between the individual, the State and nature;
– confirming our commitment to the ideals and principles, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the humanitarian provisions of the Concluding Act of the Helsinki Accords, and other international legal documents adopted on their basis which take into consideration the civilization demands of the XXI century;
– endeavouring to develop greater understanding of our work in society, and make this work more conscious, responsible and efficient;
have adopted this Declaration of Ethical Principles underlying the work of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and state our intention to be guided by it in our everyday activities.
We agree that the main ethical principles for the activities of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union are:
– Compliance of our actions with the proclaimed mission, objectives and principles;
– Democratic management;
– Independence and impartiality;
– Responsibility’
– Active human rights and civic stands;
– Non-discriminatory policy;
– Non-violence;
– Openness and transparency;
– Tolerance;
– Solidarity and friendly cooperation;
– Effective and frugal use of resources.

1 The Principle of compliance of our actions with the proclaimed mission, objectives and principles
1.1. UHHRU shall act in accordance with its mission, commonly agreed objectives and principles, as set out in this Declaration;
1.2. UHHRU and its members shall seek to prepare and introduce high ethical standards of cooperation and individual action;

2. The Principle of democratic management
2.1. UHHRU as a voluntary association of independent and self-governing organizations respects its members and ensures equal opportunities for participating in decision-making and access to information;
2.2. UHHRU observes democratic procedure in the management of the Association.

3. The Principle of independence and impartiality
3.1. UHHRU is independent and impartial in determining its mission, objectives, principles and in the adoption of decisions.
3.2. Interacting with State, political or commercial structures, the media, and other civic organizations, the Association and its members shall avoid dependence on them, first and foremost, when this is a threat to human rights, fundamental freedoms, the declared mission, values and principles of work of the Association.
3.3. UHHRU shall be independent of public opinion when this runs counter to the declared mission and values shared by the members of the Association.
3.4. UHHRU and its members may not support in any form one or other political party. Political choice is the personal matter of all members of the human rights organizations which form the UHHRU.
Holding a management position within UHHRU is incompatible with membership of a political party or holding a position in the civil service.

4. The Principle of responsibility
4.1. The Association and its members shall strive to achieve maximum accuracy and objectivity of information which they circulate.
4.2. Members of UHHRU shall act within the framework of their competence, constantly seeking to improve their skills and achieve the highest professional standards.
4.3. UHHRU and its members, including representatives elected to its statutory bodies shall seek to carry out the duties they have taken on and adhere to their written and verbal agreements and arrangements.
4.4 The Association and its members shall respect the authorship of ideas, publications and projects, avoid plagiarism.

5. The Principle of active civic and human rights stands
5.1. In its activities UHHRU members shall try first and foremost to eliminate human rights abuses and uphold an active civic and human rights stand

6. Prohibition of discrimination
6.1. UHHRU and its members defend human rights and fundamental freedoms regardless of race, colour of skin, gender, citizenship, ethnic or social origin, property or other situation, position, type and nature of activities, place of residence, language, religion, political or other convictions.

7. The Principle of non-violence
7.1 UHHRU and its members do not either propagate or use violence to achieve their aims.

8. The Principle of openness and transparency
8.1. Information about the mission, values, actions, principles and the results of the activities of UHHRU and its members is open to the public.
8.2. UHHRU is open to cooperation and membership of other organizations which share its public mission, values, objectives and principles of work.
8.3. The Association and its members seek to achieve constant dialogue and cooperation with other public structures.
8.4 The principle of openness does not apply to personal information about people who have approached UHHRU, its members and working structures seeking defence of their rights. This information may be made public only with the person’s consent.
8.5. UHHRU and its members annually publish a report about their work.
8.6. On the basis of their projects, the Association and its members draw up an honest and transparent budget, regularly publish an annual generalized financial report with an indication of the sources of financing and use of funds received.

9. The Principle of tolerance
9.1. The Association and its members respect differences in thinking, diversity of civic associations and their objectives.
9.2. UHHRU members avoid compromising other organizations and people who work in them.
9.3. UHHRU members respect the position of the minority in the Association.

10. The Principle of solidarity and friendly partnership
10.1. With their objective being the achievement of common objectives, UHHRU members strive for effective cooperation and combining of resources in the Association and beyond it.
10.2. UHHRU members work together in a spirit of trust, respect and mutual assistance.
10.3. Fair competition between UHHRU members is acceptable as one of the means of increasing their professionalism and capacity for effective action. However this competition must not hinder the support of relations of trust, active communication and cooperation within the Association.
10.4. Where conflict arises between UHHRU members they should be guided by this Declaration of Ethical Principles, and seek to resolve conflict through dialogue and compromise within the Association itself in order to not damage its reputation.
10.5. The Association and its members shall support in their human rights activities civic organizations and individuals who do not belong to UHHRU.
10.6. Members of organizations within UHHRU, including those elected to statutory bodies, must observe recognized moral norms in their communication and actions.

11. The Principle of effective and frugal use of resources.
11.1. UHHRU and its members endeavour to use financial, material, human and natural resources as efficiency and economically as possible, directing these resources mainly at achieving the mission and objectives of the organizations.

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