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Human Rights Friendly Community: “We respond to the legal needs of the community: analysis, advocacy, roadmap”

The last training module in 2020 for the teams of the Human Rights Friendly Community Program consisted of 5 webinars, during which participants formed further action plans based on the results of the research.

It should be reminded that the  Human Rights Friendly Community Program is designed to help to investigate legal problems and needs among community residents in order to develop and propose solutions that will solve identified problems.

In the photo – Berezanka team (Mykolaiv oblast) during training in the framework of the Human Rights Friendly Community Program 2020, Kyiv

The Team of Berezanka (Mykolaiv oblast) chose the topic “Research of legal problems of socially vulnerable residents of the Berezanska UTC, which can be solved in pre-trial form by mediation”.

The purpose of the study was to identify in the socially vulnerable category of residents of the Berezansk settlement UTC of the Mykolaiv region the level of mediation needs and identify “challenges for mediators”, that is, those legal problems that can be solved in an alternative extrajudicial way through mediation.

Conclusions based on the results of the study:

  • 18% of the polled socially vulnerable category of residents of the Berezansk UTC of the Mykolaiv region do not know what problems/disputes are solved via mediation;
  • 6% of the respondents of the socially vulnerable category of residents of the Berezansk UTC of the Mykolaiv region are aware of an alternative out-of-court way to resolve legal problems/disputes through mediation.
  • 44% of the polled socially vulnerable category of residents of the Berezansk UTC of the Mykolaiv region apply to local self-government bodies and private lawyers to solve their problems/disputes.

The recommendations, which were proposed by the project team on the basis of the study, provide for the formation of an effective and convenient service for socially vulnerable residents of the Berezansk settlement council of UTC for understanding in pre-trial order, in particular on the basis of the possibilities of mediation technology and dialogue:

  1. The local self-government bodies of the settlement community to create an appropriate working group to develop a draft decision of the settlement council on amendments and additions to the Program for the provision of free legal aid to the population of the Berezan settlement council of the united territorial community of the Berezanskyi district of Mykolaiv region for 2018-2020, in terms of obtaining free mediation services.
  2. Coalitions of the Program in the Berezanska united territorial community initiate the formation of 2 pilot projects:
  • “Effective mechanisms and tools for resolving family and social problems/disputes;
  • “Raising awareness of the employees of the local authorities and awareness of the residents of the Berezanska settlement council of the UTC of the Mykolaiv region about mediation”;
In the photo – Voznesensk team (Mykolaiv oblast) during training in the framework of the Human Rights Friendly Community Program 2020, Kyiv

The Voznesensk team (Mykolaiv oblast) conducted a massive representative survey of students of the Voznesensk UTC.

The results of the survey are as follows:

  • More than a quarter of respondents (27%) consider themselves well aware of their rights and freedoms. Most of them consider themselves partially expert (64%).
  • 36% could not correctly define the concept of “the right of the child”, 21% could not name any legal document in which the rights of the child are enshrined. 6% of the polled do not recognize bullying as a violation of the rights of the child, 11% do not consider the violation of the rights of physical punishment from parents, 38% – underestimation of teacher’s grades, 55% – the practice of taking mobile phones from students during control. 5% could not name any right that they have, 33% can tell no more than three.
  • 53% of respondents feel a great or some need to learn more about their rights and how to protect them. The most convenient ways to get information about your rights are from the Internet or from parents, as well as on school subjects, through a mobile application, during an online course. The least convenient way is to attend a special course, training, lecture.
  • 68% of pupils reported that they at least occasionally face situations when they feel their rights and freedoms are violated. Only 10% of respondents who faced violations of their rights have always managed to protect them.
  • If we assess the experience of violations of rights in everyday life on specific examples, 93% had such experience, and 98% saw how the rights of other minors were violated. The most common situations in which the respondent rights were violated are related to the actions taken by school teachers to ensure discipline, as well as the purchase of low-quality goods. There are also cases of bullying.
  • More than a quarter of students (26%),whose rights were violated in everyday situations, always defended their rights. At least 50% of students had an experience of inaction in everyday situations of violation of their rights. Another 24% could not answer.
  • 15% of the respondents have ever resorted to formal ways of protecting rights (police, social protection, lawyer, hotline).
  • The main problem associated with the protection of their rights is a lack of knowledge about rights and methods of their protection (37%). However, widespread barriers were also fear of aggravating the situation, disbelief at the ability to change it, distrust and impairment on the part of adults.
In the photo: Team of Uzyn (Kyiv oblast) while studying within the framework of the Human Rights Friendly Community Program 2020, Kyiv.

The purpose and objectives of the study of the team of Uzyn (Kyiv oblast):

  • To find out the prevalence, structure of legal problems of vulnerable groups and attitude/understanding of their problems in the community;
  • to clarify the scope of resolved or unresolved problems;
  • to find out if people know the possibility of accessing information to solve their problem;
  • to identify a request for legal assistance from vulnerable groups of the population;
  • learn how people solve their legal problems through access to justice mechanisms.

Conclusions based on the results of the study:

  • 13% of respondents feel unsafe in their own community;
  • 18% of the polled “do not seek help anywhere, as it is expensive and time-consuming”;
  • 86% of the polled are ready to use the services of a free lawyer or lawyer if he works in the community.

Research-based recommendations:

  • Raising the level of legal awareness of the residents of the Uzyn UTC;
  • analysis of changes in the legal needs of vulnerable groups of the population after the functioning of the program of providing the population with free legal aid;
  • development and adoption of a local program to provide the population with free legal aid
  • creation of a communal institution or communal institution for the provision of free legal aid to community residents.
In the photo: Team of Chervona Sloboda (Cherkasy oblast) during training in the framework of the Human Rights Friendly Community Program 2020, Kyiv

The team of Chervona Sloboda (Cherkasy oblast) set the goal of its study to identify the level of access and barriers to obtaining free legal aid among community residents.

Research-based recommendations:

  • Creation of a Community Free Primary Legal Aid Center with the involvement of a private law entity that will develop a schedule for the reception of citizens and provide primary legal assistance;
  • Development of proposals for allocation or raising funds for the establishment of a Primary Legal Aid Center in the Chervonoslobidske UTC;
  • Raising awareness of access to the community free legal aid system through a number of legal awareness-raising activities and dissemination of information on the websites of the Chervonoslobidske UTC and NGO “Center of Law” (a member organization of the Legal development networks from Cherkasy);
  • Raising the level of legal awareness of the community by publishing answers to frequently asked questions by people during fieldwork on the websites of the Chervonoslobidske UTC and NGO Law Center.

During five webinars held at the end of November 2020, the groups were able not only to present and analyze the results of their research, but also to develop specific recommendations for state and local authorities and their implementation strategy in their communities over the next 3-5 years. “Roadmaps” have been created that will help to achieve the goal as quickly and efficiently as possible. The participants discussed in detail each next step approaches to the development of projects of local programs for access to justice and advocacy for their adoption.

Educational and practical Human Rights Friendly Community Program has been being implemented by the Ukrainian Access to Justice School of Practice since 2019 on the basis of the network of legal clubs #PRAVOKATOR with the support of Coordination Centre for Legal Aid ProvisionInternational Renaissance FoundationUkrainian Legal Aid Foundation, partner organizations and institutions, and administered by Legal Development Network.

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