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Support to Human Rights and Democracy Actions on Torture and other Forms of ill-treatment in Ukraine

Project facts

  • Funder: EIDHR
  • Partner(s): Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
  • Project period: 2009 – 2011
  • For information mail to: office@nhc.nl

Since 1996, Ukrainian civil society has brought the problem of torture on the public agenda. Although a number of positive changes have taken place, for instance in legislation, activism in the area of torture prevention is scattered and inconsistent. As a result, many efforts fail to bring tangible and sustainable outcomes and the practice of torture and ill treatment persists. The lack of a unified and consistent state policy, weak coordination between various state agencies, insufficient expert knowledge and practical skills is particularly problematic.

The idea of the project was to combine the efforts of civil society and the state in tackling the problem of torture. It aimed to draw up a concept of a national action plan to create a holistic national system for the prevention of torture and ill treatment. This consisted of four parts: research and lobbying activities, developing and strengthening a torture prevention network, creating a system for legal aid to victims of torture and ill treatment, and raising awareness.

The role of the NHC in the project was relatively limited. The NHC selected and sent four experts to provide a one day training that was organised by the Ukrainian partner (Kharkyv Human Rights Protection Group). Each training covered a different aspect of the project and addressed a different group of participants: judges, public prosecutors, prison staff and human rights activists. The contributions of the Dutch expert added an international dimension to the two day training event, one day focussing on international legal provisions and conventions and one day focussing on the specific situation in  the Ukraine.