Regional meeting of the ISHR in Poltava

On October 21, 2018, the second regional meeting took place in Ukraine – in the city of Poltava (Poltava region). The meeting was attended by lawyers, journalists and civil society activists in the region.

Given the experience of holding a meeting in a small town, we felt it necessary to formally declare that our meeting concerns human rights violations in Ukraine, including rights to a fair trial. We also highlighted the event over social media.

This helped us to attract active citizens and reduce the interest of far-right organizations that we encounter in our work at our meeting. Nevertheless, representatives of radical groups tried to get to the meeting, but there were no incidents. The participants were extremely interested and some had even prepared detailed reports, expressing their desire and willingness to work with the ISHR.

The main problems discussed at the meeting were: the problem of the lack of independence of the courts in the region, the pressure of the local authorities on the justice system, the pressure of the regional authorities on the media.

It is difficult to exercise freedom of expression in our country; one does not dare to talk about all problems freely. If the issue of freedom of expression was mentioned as a side issue at the first meeting in Putywl, this problem was extremely important for Poltava as a regional center. At the meeting, reports were filed on the prosecution of journalists and lawyers, further substantiating the caution of local residents.

The meeting also featured the website, which was set up with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office for the development of blog forums on the topic of human rights. The presence of such an international, independent and free website has attracted the interest of those present who have repeatedly encountered censorship in the media during their activities. Several participants expressed a desire to publish their reports on this resource and to use the website as a platform to publish their work.