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Strengthening civil activism in Ukraine, 2013


People in Need

Financial Contribution from Czech MFA: 1 965 000,- CZK

Due to unfavourable political and social development in Ukraine, People in Need (PIN)decided to get more engaged in human rights issues in 2013 as it has had experience with such activities from other non-democratic countries. This project primarily focused on strengthening civil activism in Ukraine. PIN decided to reach this goal through the following means: support of a network of legal aid clinics, support of human rights defenders and organizations and systematic raising awareness of the public. Also, PIN flexible adapted its activities to dramatic developments of events after the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013.

The crucial activity of the project was support of the network of five legal aid clinics in Crimea which PIN established together with local organizations in July 2012. Representatives of these clinics – activists and lawyers – received comprehensive training (trainings, study trips to the Czech Republic) in 2012-2013 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 consulting. Assistance to NGOs and citizens who found themselves in conflict with state authorities was the priority. A year and a half of running of the legal clinics brought very positive results: each clinic provided 50 consultations per month as an average; lawyers helped clients to file lawsuits, represented them at court hearings and won some of their case. Additionally, in 2013 the legal clinics held more than 10 trainings for the public on human rights issues, raised human rights and social issues through more than 130 media outputs and two successful campaigns. More importantly, the network of legal aid clinics and its lawyers and activists established themselves as the most outspoken representatives of the civil society in Crimea who helped critically assess the public issues as well as activate the local communities. These facts were confirmed by a leading role of the local coordinator and other network´s activists in organizing of peaceful protests in late 2013 in Crimean capital of Simferopol.

In 2013, five human rights projects of Crimean NGOs as well as four awareness and advocacy campaigns of Ukrainian NGOs were supported in form of sub grants. Such support increased capacities of these organizations and had positive impact on the target groups of these projects and campaigns. Also, PIN actively participated in organization of a campaign and photo exhibition „Human Rights Offside“ in Prague, Warsaw and Vilnius. Also, support of the advocacy campaign of the Ukrainian NGO „Insight“ against adoption of a homophobic law was successful. Since November 2013, PIN has flexibly adapted to peaceful protests in Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square): PIN organized trips of Czech music bands and activists, sent volunteers to cook for protesters and helped to attacks on activists. Additionally, throughout the 2013, PIN informed the Czech public about developments in Ukraine in form of newsletters, debates or documentary films screenings.