Methodology of Monitoring
Monitoring includes description of cases of pressure and preventing human right and civic activist who work to protect civic interests on controlled and uncontrolled territories of Ukraine (including occupied Crimea), which took place in 2018 as well as monitoring of legal framework, which regulate activity of human rights and civic activists and practices of implementation of such legislation in the sphere of freedom of assembly and association in Ukraine.
Objects of monitoring:
Objects of monitoring are human right activists in the wide meaning of United Nations. This term includes activists who protect human rights, combat corruption and conduct their activity to protect civil interests and act in a nonviolent way.
The right to protect human rights (the right to be human rights defender) is generally acknowledged right, which is defined by international documents in the sphere of human rights, which Ukraine signed and took obligations to respect, protect and ensure its implementation by any of such individuals, who are on its territory and under its jurisdiction.
Basing on the definition in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Activists, it is obvious that everyone has the right to “individually or jointly with others facilitate and strive to protect and ensure human rights and basic freedoms” on local, national and international levels.
Human rights defenders acknowledge universal nature of human rights for everyone without any exceptions and they protect human rights in peaceful, non-violent ways and methods and protect civic, economic, social and cultural rights.
Basing on the UN Resolution on Human Rights, the focus of our attention will be asp direct on those activists who protect women’s, LGBTI, ecological and property rights, corporate social responsibilities issues as well as those who work on the raising the level of transparence and accountability and identify cases of corruption and power abuse by the government, commercial entities and non-state actors. Monitoring will also cover cases of victimization of journalists, who cover the human rights issues and anti-corruption work.
Monitoring will not cover political actors, public servants and representatives of local self-governments. Information on attacks and disruption of work of lawyers and councilors will be considered in those cases, when motives of pressure on them was their professional activity in protecting human rights.
Special attention will be given to the possible victimization of anti-corruption activists given the adopted by Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on March 23, 2017 changes to the Law of Ukraine “On Combating Corruption”. Due to these legislative changes, it is mandatory now for civic activists to declare publicly their assets (e-declarations). Prior to this, such condition was mandatory only for public servants of the highest level, Members of Parliament, state employees and judges. Whereas now anticorruption activists can face criminal charges for violating this law.
Subject of the monitoring
The subject of the monitoring will be different forms of disruptive activity directed against the work of human right and civic activists, who put their efforts to protect community’s interests, which took place during 2018. This may include limitations in the sphere of freedom of assemblies, freedom of speech, freedom of peaceful meetings and freedom of movement applied to human rights and civic activists, who protect community’s interests (murders, physical injuries), damaging property, falsified criminal and administrative cases against activists, threats, surveillance, discrediting campaigns and other kinds of pressure.
Geography and timeframe for monitoring
Monitoring will include description of cases, which took place in Ukraine (including uncontrolled territories) during 2018-19.
Source of information
Monitoring will be based on the use of verified from several sources information (witnesses and victim’s testimonies) and secondary information, as well as information from open governmental sources, media and other open sources, legal framework and regulatory acts analysis and information provided by government authorities in response to the Center of Information on Human Rights “Zmina” and partners.
To verify certain cases, which happened in other regions of Ukraine, special mobile missions will be organized.
To verify and document cases, which took place in Crimea, Center of Information on Human Rights “Zmina” will use HR and expertise of the organization that is available on occupied peninsula. At the same time, direct documentation of cases on uncontrolled territories of Donbass region will not be conducted due to possession of significant threat to health, life and freedoms of monitors.
The list of cases of disruption of work of human rights and civic activists who work to protect community’s interests, included into the final report will not be complete as it will cover only that part of cases, which were learned by the Center of Information on Human Rights “Zmina”. Difficulties of gathering and documentation of information exist as in a number of cases, victims do not inform media and law enforcements due to lack of trust to the above listed institutions and the fear to worsen the situation.
However, monitoring will give the overall understanding of the atmosphere where civil society and professional community, which protects human rights and combat corruption should work in Ukraine. The purpose of the report is not only to provide deep analysis of all cases, whereas to highlight and analyze the environment of the work of human rights activists during last three years on controlled by Ukrainian government territories and identify general tendencies.
Not all cases of victimization and pressure on human right activist and journalists, which were conducted at the analyzed period of time will be included in a public part of the generalized report. This will be done due to security matters and protection of victims in case victims would express their will to avoid publication of such information. In addition, in a number of cases due to security reasons depersonalization can be applied during publicly available descriptions of certain cases. This can be done in case a victim provides his agreement to publish information in depersonalized form.
Monitoring will be conducted by the Center of Information on Human Rights “Zmina” in cooperation with Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and Freedom House Ukraine within the activity of the Coalition for Protecting Civil Society in Ukraine.
Legal and Information Support to Victims
In order to draw the attention to cases of victimization of human right and anticorruption activists, Center of Information on Human Rights “Zmina” will conduct information campaign and will prepare and disseminate news on overall situation and separate cases, will prepare articles and conduct journalistic investigations and spread information through social media etc.
In order to protect victims Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union will provide pro bono legal services through 23 regional centers of free legal services. Such services will include consultations, representation in courts, initiating strategic court cases etc.