Findings from Report on implementation of UHHRU’s Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination Policy in 2019

All links are in Ukrainian, unless other is specified

Starting from 2016, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) keeps on implementing the Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination Policy in order to apply the principle of gender mainstreaming[1] throughout its operating activities and at one’s workplace (e.g. hiring process, working relations, wages, composition of decision-making bodies, etc.), as well as in the course of implementing specific programs and projects. For this, UHHRU’s Gender Advisor prepares annual Action Plan on the Policy’s enforcement, monitors its implementation, which results in release of the annual subject-matter report.

The 2019 Action Plan was aimed at implementation of awareness-raising activities on gender and non-discrimination, building cooperation with concerned NGOs, prohibition of discrimination based on gender, age, etc.  In 2019, the anti-award “Tse Yaytse!” [This Egg] given for the sexist remarks was established in cooperation with the “Women in Media” NGO. Jointly with the “Legalife-Ukraine” charitable organization there was produced a report “Impact of the armed conflict in the east of Ukraine on female sex workers”. Also, just as last year, we organized the subject-matter awareness-raising actions.

Also, UHHRU provides informational and organizational support for advocacy campaigns aimed at promoting protection of the sex workers’ rights in Ukraine in frames of the project “Development of a legal network for the protection of the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, representatives of key PLWH and TB patients” under financial support of the charitable organization “All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH”[2].

Our advocacy work this and last year helped finally resolve the issue of the ability of HIV-positive women to exercise their right to motherhood: after the entry into force of the Health Ministry’s Order no. 933 of 22 April 2019, women living with HIV have been able to exercise their right to infertility treatment through assisted reproductive technology.

UHHRU’s Gender Advisor Tamara Martseniuk and Coordinator on Monitoring over Implementation of the Action Plan to the National Human Rights Strategy Ksenia Semyorkina shared their comments with the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia outlet for the article “Gender Education in Ukraine: where are we headed?”[3].

12 321 consultations were provided during the year by UHHRU’s legal aid centers located in different regions of Ukraine. Out of those, who mentioned their gender, there were 50% of male clients and 49% of female clients. In particular, there were 106 appeals related to domestic violence (against 81 subject-matter appeals in 2018). All the victims received high-quality legal advice and assistance.

UHHRU member organization “Human Rights Group “SICH” (Dnipro) produced a documentary entitled “Unbroken” about women held in captivity in Donbas which garnered success in Ukraine and beyond[4].

UHHRU continues supporting a specialized project “Women human rights defenders who change Ukraine”, being a series of interviews with female human rights activists from all over Ukraine working in different spheres of human rights protection and representing various organisations (including UHHRU). By the end of the year, 70 interviews with female human rights activists had been published. In 2019, around 20 new interviews were taken, featuring women judges (as a new category of heroines) who also identify themselves as human rights defenders. They include, among others, Vira Mykhaylenko[5], Judge of the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine, and Olena Balzhyk[6], Judge of the Izmail City District Court of Odesa Oblast. With one of them, journalist and human rights activist Liza Kuzmenko[7], we have established a fruitful cooperation.

Thus, in 2019 UHHRU continued seeking out new partners among organizations specializing in protecting women’s rights and combating sexism. Supporting such initiatives is important since joint research and media projects provide a great opportunity to implement not only the state gender policy but our own gender policy as well.

At the same time, similarly to the previous years, at the end of 2019, the issue of ratification of the Istanbul Convention[8] and increasing the visibility of anti-gender initiatives remains topical in Ukraine. That is why we should include this issue in our plans for 2020.

Full report in Ukrainian is available here.



[1] Gender mainstreaming means integrating a gender equality perspective at all stages and levels of policies, programs and projects.

[2] As part of the project “Alleviating the Burden of TB and HIV by Ensuring Universal Access to Timely and Quality Diagnosis and Treatment of Tuberculosis and its Drug-Resistant Types, Expanding Evidence-Based Intervention, Diagnosis and Treatment of HIV, and Creating Sustainable and Viable Healthcare Systems” funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

[3] February 2019,





[8] The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (2011),

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