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«Uspishna Varta»: Results of work in 2018

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ABOUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS PLATFORM «USPISHNA VARTA»

The all-Ukrainian Association «Uspishna Varta» is a human rights platform that brings together lawyers, public figures, and volunteers to protect the political and civil rights and freedoms of the citizens of Ukraine, as well as to support people and organisations who are persecuted for their
political beliefs.

Our mission is to change the social climate of Ukraine, demonstrating and supporting the existence of an alternative view of the order of things and asserting the value of human life and respect for civil and political rights in the state.

According to opinion polls, more than 80% of Ukrainian citizens believe that the events in Ukraine are developing incorrectly. The most active and civilly responsible part of society seeks to change the situation. These individuals and organizations, possessing an alternative point of view, are being persecuted and dissent is being suppressed. As a human rights platform, we support all those who are ready and have the strength of spirit to stand up for the rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens.

Our main function is to monitor violations of the rights and freedoms of citizens in Ukraine and make them public for a prompt response and to protect the affected people and organisations. We collect evidence of offenses and then transfer these facts to the responsible authorities of Ukraine, and if a reaction does not follow, then we send them to the world community and international organizations.

In its activities the «Uspishna Varta» human rights platform is guided solely by the principles of non-violence, as well as respect for the law and international human rights standards.
Law, people's lives, and peace in the state are fundamental to us.

«Uspishna Varta» was created at the initiative and with the support of the Ukrainian politician and public figure Aleksandr Klymenko.

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«Uspishna Varta»: Results of work in 2018

  1. 1. “Uspishna Varta”: Results of work in 2018
  2. 2. ABOUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS PLATFORM “USPISHNA VARTA” The all-Ukrainian Association "Uspishna Varta" is a human rights platform that brings together lawyers, public figures, and volunteers to protect the political and civil rights and freedoms of the citizens of Ukraine, as well as to support people and organisations who are persecuted for their political beliefs. Our mission is to change the social climate of Ukraine, demonstrating and supporting the existence of an alternative view of the order of things and asserting the value of human life and respect for civil and political rights in the state. According to opinion polls, more than 80% of Ukrainian citizens believe that the events in Ukraine are developing incorrectly. The most active and civilly responsible part of society seeks to change the situation. These individuals and organizations, possessing an alternative point of view, are being persecuted and dissent is being suppressed. As a human rights platform, we support all those who are ready and have the strength of spirit to stand up for the rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens. Our main function is to monitor violations of the rights and freedoms of citizens in Ukraine and make them public for a prompt response and to protect the affected people and organisations. We collect evidence of offenses and then transfer these facts to the responsible authorities of Ukraine, and if a reaction does not follow, then we send them to the world community and international organizations. In its activities the “Uspishna Varta” human rights platform is guided solely by the principles of non-violence, as well as respect for the law and international human rights standards. Law, people's lives, and peace in the state are fundamental to us. "Uspishna Varta" was created at the initiative and with the support of the Ukrainian politician and public figure Aleksandr Klymenko. 2© Human rights platform ”Uspishna Varta", 2018
  3. 3. MONITORING VIOLATIONS OF POLITICAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS "Uspishna Varta" collects, documents, and systematises information about violations of political rights and freedoms in Ukraine. Providing impartial information to Ukrainian and international structures concerning cases of human rights violations is one of the key activities of our human rights platform.  40 reports about the results of monitoring the observance of political and civil rights and freedoms in Ukraine were prepared and sent to our 18,500 subscribers, including international human rights organizations and the monitoring missions of the UN and OSCE.  A comprehensive report on political rights and freedoms: the monitoring of compliance with 2014–2018 was presented to the authorities in Ukraine and at international forums and conferences.  30 human rights cases are being constantly monitored by “Uspishna Varta”. During 2018 the journalist Dmitry Vasilets (Zhytomyr), his colleague Evgeny Timonin (Zhytomyr), and the journalist Pavel Volkov (Zaporozhye) were released from jail, and the measure of restraint was changed to house arrest for Vasily Muravitsky (Zhytomyr) and Nikolay Sidorenko (Kramatorsk).  73 court hearings were attended by the coordinators of our human rights platform in Kiev and other regions. 3 The Korolevsky Court of Zhytomyr, November 16, 2018, a hearing on the case of the journalist Vasily Muravitsky. Kherson City Court, December 11th, 2018, hearing on the case of the journalist Kirill Vyshinsky. © Human rights platform ”Uspishna Varta", 2018
  4. 4. MONITORING VIOLATIONS OF POLITICAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS During 2018 "Uspishna Varta" monitored the cases of journalists, public activists, and politicians who face charges that resemble political persecution for possessing alternative thoughts and opinions. 4 The journalist Pavel Volkov was arrested in September 2017 on charges of infringing on territorial integrity (article 110 of the Criminal Code) for his civil position and professional activities. After spending more than a year in jail he was released on October 25 2018, although judicial hearings continue. The journalist Dmitry Vasilets and his colleague Evgeny Timonin were detained in November 2015 on charges of giving informational assistance to terrorism and were sentenced to 9 years in prison. In February 2018 the sentence was overturned by the Court of Appeal and the journalists were thus released from jail, although the court hearings continue. The editor-in-chief of RIA “Novosti Ukraine" Kirill Vyshinsky was detained on May 15 2018 on a suspicion of treason (article 111 of the Criminal Code) for publishing materials on the website, and has been kept in jail without an alternative. The athlete Dariya Mastikasheva was kidnapped in August 2017 and confessed to treason (article 111 of the Criminal Code) whilst being tortured, which was shown at a press conference held by the head of the SBU V. Gritsak. She has been in jail without an alternative for more than a year. © Human rights platform ”Uspishna Varta", 2018 Stanislav Ezhov, a governmental official of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, was detained on December 20 2017 on charges of treason (article 111 of the Criminal Code) and has since been in jail. He is charged with allegedly disclosing classified data, which was read out in court by the Prosecutor.
  5. 5. LEGAL AID AND COUNSELLING An important area of work of "Uspishna Varta" in 2018 was giving legal advice to citizens concerning political rights and freedoms. Our work has also involved organising the process of providing legal assistance to persons whose rights have been violated and to monitor the observance of guarantees of fair justice. 5  More than 500 legal consultations concerning issues of political rights and freedoms and other appeals of citizens, including internally displaced persons from Donbass and Crimea. On 10 June 2017 the journalist of the newspaper "20 Khvylyn Zhytomyr" Ruslan Moroz (Kunavin) was assaulted and robbed. With the support of "Uspishna Varta" the interests of the journalist in court in relation to those accused of the attack were defended in the legal domain. © Human rights platform ”Uspishna Varta", 2018 With the legal support of "Uspishna Varta” the interests of the Orthodox community concerning the raider seizure of the Church of the Svyato- Sretensky in Konstantinovka (Donetsk region) were represented. In September 2018 "Uspishna Varta" filed a statement with the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine concerning the commission of a crime by the Director of the “Mirotvorets” center (website) in collusion with law enforcement bodies. A complaint was sent to the investigating judge about the inaction of the prosecutors of the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine in the case of “Mirotvorets”. The court session was postponed to February 2019.
  6. 6. PARTNERSHIP AND COORDINATION "Uspishna Varta" aims to form close partnerships with Ukrainian human rights organizations and the public sector. More than 10 memorandums of cooperation were signed during the year. Among our partners – the Center for Freedom of Speech, Legal Control of Ukraine, Kiev Palanka "Spilka Kozakiv", the "Republic” institute, Lvov organization of veterans, etc. On April 26, a "human rights party" was held as a part of the presentation of the "Uspishna Varta" platform in Kiev, during which well-known Ukrainian lawyers, representatives of human rights organisations and political parties, bloggers and journalists, as well as political prisoners whose rights were defended by joint efforts, were able to gather and exchange experiences and opinions. On June 20 the "Uspishna Varta” human rights platform, public and political figures, lawyers, and former political prisoners discussed human rights violations in Ukraine and the illegal actions of radical groups and authorities during around table in Kiev. 6© Human rights platform ”Uspishna Varta", 2018
  7. 7. HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVITIES AT THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL Representatives of “Uspishna Varta” take an active part in communication with international organisations, diplomatic missions, and the authorities of other states in order to inform them about the human rights situation in Ukraine. During the conference “Human Rights and Media Freedom in Ukraine”, which was organized by the Die Linke (The Left) faction in the Bundestag on June 11 in Berlin, the head of “Uspishna Varta” Nataliya Natalina presented the facts of human rights violations to German parliamentarians and transmitted the human rights report “The right to freedom of speech and opinion in Ukraine: monitoring compliance in 2014-2018”. 7© Human rights platform ”Uspishna Varta", 2018 On June 26 2018 in Kiev representatives of “Uspishna Varta” took part in the conference “Strengthening freedom and pluralism of the media in Ukraine during the conflict in and around the country", organised by the office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media under the leadership of Harlem Desir. In August the human rights activists of "Uspishna Varta" sent to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights information about the violation of the right to social security and education in Ukraine. On the basis of the collected information, the UN Committee will form a list of questions for the government of Ukraine for a report on compliance with international obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
  8. 8. HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVITIES AT THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL In the framework of the annual OSCE conference “Human Dimension Implementation Meeting” (HDIM) 2018 in Warsaw, the human rights platform “Uspishna Varta” held a series of events and public speeches in defense of human rights and freedoms in Ukraine, including a side event on the topic “The right to freedom of speech and opinion in Ukraine: threats and opportunities” (September 11). Representatives of the human rights platform "Uspishna Varta" also spoke at 4 general plenary sessions of OSCE meetings. The recommendations of “Uspishna Varta” were included in the final report on the results of the conference. 8© Human rights platform ”Uspishna Varta", 2018 On November 14 the representatives of “Uspishna Varta” took part in the annual conference “Berlin Autumn Talks 2018” in Berlin, Germany. Nataliya Natalina, head of the human rights platform “Uspishna Varta”, spoke about human rights violations at the United Nations Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law concerning the role of parliaments in respecting human rights and the rule of law (November 22-23, 2018, Geneva).
  9. 9. HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS The work of “Uspishna Varta” in 2018 also aimed to explain the basic political rights and freedoms to citizens through various communication tools. In partnership with the “Klymenko Time” YouTube channel, the human rights platform “Uspishna Varta” broadcasts the video project "Know Your Rights", in the framework of which well-known Ukrainian experts, lawyers, and human rights activists explain the peculiarities of the protection of political rights and freedoms and the main law enforcement practices in Ukraine. In total, the project has already had more than 500,000 views. On June 26 in Kiev “Uspishna Varta” organized a educational event for journalists and bloggers about the restriction of the right to freedom of speech and opinion imposed by the SBU. The speakers were the former political prisoner D. Vasilets and the lawyer A. Gozhy. On May 24 in Lvov the “Uspishna Varta” team held a training event on the topic “The right to peaceful assembly” for representatives of public organisations and human rights defenders. 9 During 2018 the human rights activists of “Uspishna Varta” held 10 training events and educational meetings in Kiev and the other regions of Ukraine for the purpose of teaching people about civil rights and freedoms. Our training events were visited by more than 150 people. © Human rights platform ”Uspishna Varta", 2018
  10. 10. COMMUNICATIONS PLATFORMS OF “USPISHNA VARTA” In 2018 we paid special attention to the formation of online communication platforms in order to provide the Ukrainian and international community with objective information about the situation with rights and freedoms in Ukraine. 10  Our communications platforms combine almost 55,000 subscribers and readers.  In May we launched the “Uspishna Varta” website uspishna-varta.com, which gives the possibility of providing advice online, informing about cases of human rights violations, contains legal advice, news, and much more. More than 35,000 users visited the site during its operation.  There are also functioning “Uspishna Varta” accounts on Facebook, Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube. The monthly coverage of all our communication platforms is more than 500,000 contacts.  We also created the specialised “Human rights in Ukraine” page on Facebook for an English- speaking audience.  More than 18,500 recipients have subscribed to our weekly e-mail newsletter about the situation with political and civil rights in Ukraine. © Human rights platform ”Uspishna Varta", 2018
  11. 11. For more information about the "Uspishna Varta” human rights platform: Website - https://uspishna-varta.com Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/UspishnaVarta/ Telegram - https://t.me/UspishnaVarta E-mail - info@uspishna-varta.com Hotline number - 0 800 20 40 04 11

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