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Enhancing Civil Engagement in Crimea, 2012


People in Need

Due to unfavorable political and social development in Ukraine, People in Need focused on enhancing citizen assertiveness and engagement of citizens in Crimea. People in Need decided to establish a network of free legal clinics in Crimea, and to support Ukrainian human rights activists and organizations, as well as to raise awareness among citizens in a systematic way. At the same time, People in Need provided support and helped prepare two human rights campaigns with national reach – the campaigns efficiently raised awareness about violations of human rights and backslide of democratic standards in Ukraine.

The main activity of the project was establishment and operation of four legal clinics in the Crimean cities of Alushta, Dzhankoy, Yalta and Simferopol in July 2012. Activists and lawyers from the clinics received comprehensive training in order to provide high quality services in three areas – raising awareness in Crimean society about human rights and their violations, activation of local communities, and especially free legal advice. Assistance to NGOs and citizens who found themselves in conflict with state authorities is a priority.

Six months of operation of the legal clinics have brought positive results: the network has been service advice to 60-80 clients per month, and prepared more than 50 civil actions, represented clients in court, won cases in court. The clinics have become increasingly more popular among local community. The clinics also organized round table discussions, workshops, university lectures, film screenings and public events during which they provided information about human rights or violations of law. They also monitored the campaign before the parliamentary elections which took place in the fall. During the fall and winter 2012, Crimean human rights organizations received small grants for thirteen projects.

Besides these activities, People in Need participated actively in preparation and organization of a photo exhibition and human rights campaign „Human Rights Offside“ during UEFA European Cup in Ukraine. In 2012, the organization supported the campaign against the homophobic law which de facto makes the LGBT community illegal. People in Need initiated a successful advocacy activity in connection with the discrimination against the LGBT community and the said law.