Project “Human Rights First”
The initiative is directed to increasing the protection of human rights of Ukrainians through a non-governmental legal aid system. Initiative contributes to the development of humane society based on respect of human life and dignity.
The initiative includes three main components.
Firstly, Public Receptions Offices (PROs) that provide legal aid to vulnerable category of people and contribute to legal awareness of people. The existing network of PROs providing assistance to more than 10000 people in all regions of Ukraine will be maintained. UHHRU coordinates all these PROs located in 20 regions of Ukraine, that provide legal aid in these 20 regions as well in the neighbor regions. The network consist of 21 PROs, 4 leading regional PROs among them will have enhanced capacities and responsibility to be methodological and educational centres for other PROs.
Secondly, forming and maintaining an effective system of strategic litigation that sets precedents and multiplies best practices in protecting of human rights. Supporting Strategic Litigation Centre (SLC)(under UHHRU), with good experience in human rights strategic litigations, will allow enhancing its capacities to influence system of protection of human rights.
Thirdly, conducting coordinated advocacy campaigns to provide policy recommendations aimed at improving human rights situation in Ukraine. This integral element of the project will convert the knowledge gained from PRO and SLC activities in advocacy of the changes in legislation and legal practice with the aim to improve the human rights situation in Ukraine.
The target groups of the initiative are human rights defenders, human rights NGO, lawyers. They need assistance in organizing provision of legal aid, developing and training in effective mechanisms for protecting of human rights. They also require help in complex situations involving human rights protection.
NGOs and human rights activists have been selected as a target group for their capacity to add value with their practical first-hand experience of human rights protection. They are the most likely to benefit from new networking opportunities and learning. Practicing lawyers willing to work pro bono need coordination in seeking cases of interest involving rights abuse, as well as training in effective human rights protection mechanisms.
State agencies responsible for various aspects of human rights protection belong also to target group.
The final beneficiaries of the initiative are vulnerable groups including people with disabilities, minorities, poor and others, whose human rights have been violated. Those who will benefit from it are in the first instance people not at present able to defend their rights through lack of knowledge or money. It is most often their socio-economic rights that are infringed, or violations on the ground of discrimination. Over 55% of the victims of human rights infringements are women and the initiative responds to legal needs and interest of women.
The main objectives of initiative are to contribute to the development of humane society based on respect to human life, dignity and rule of law; promote respect for human rights by strengthening civil society and representatives of vulnerable groups with regard to access to justice and fair trial, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of expression, non-discrimination, social and economic rights (especially the right to property, labour rights, the right to social security, the right to housing, the right to education, the right to health and others); establish a cooperation platform for the member organisations to enhance the impact of UHHRU’s activities at the national and international levels.
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