Workshop in Kiev for human rights bloggers  from 7 countries

Bloggers from the Eastern Partnership & Russia meet to strengthen their skills and plan the next stage of the Human Rights Online project

Human rights bloggers, one from each section in the countries of the Eastern Partnership (ISHR Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine) as well from ISHR Russia and two project management members from ISHR Germany attended the workshop in Kiev, Ukraine from July 27-28.

The workshop was the launch event for this year’s project ‘Human Rights Online: into the regions and into the future’, which is funded by the German Foreign Office as a part of a larger program to support civil society and pluralism in the region. Human Rights Online was initiated by Dr. Carmen Krusch-Grün of ISHR Germany in 2016 as a blog platform for our sections to share news and information about human rights issues and violations across the post-Soviet countries of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) and Russia. Bloggers from each section were trained to use the tri-lingual (EN, DE, RU) WordPress site to upload their own posts onto the platform from on the ground. One of the goals of the workshop was to deepen their skills in working with the site and prepare them to lead workshops in regions facing especially intense human rights challenges (not in capital cities or regions).
Day one focused on analyzing the current audience and viewership of the website, trouble shooting problem areas, and developing concrete strategies to improve the efficiency and usability of the site. The afternoon focused on refreshing the skills of the bloggers and practicing using new tools on the site, including posting in native languages (besides Russian), as well as on entering SEO information into posts to boost their rankings in Google. Day two involved a discussion on use of social media and the future SEO strategy to boost views of the site and its posts. The second part of the day focused on discussing the implementation plan for the coming workshops in the target regions of each country.

Two target regions per country were strategically selected by each section, in order to introduce Human Rights Online to areas that are outside of the capital cities, and therefore generally more marginalized and lacking in access to tools to raise awareness of the human rights issues affecting them.

Therefore, the workshops will engage community members and young people from in discussing current human rights issues affecting each local area and to introduce the site as a platform to share and discuss these problems with each other and the public. The findings will be presented in posts on Human Rights Online, as well as in a collective human rights report, to be passed on to the German Foreign Office. This will contribute to building a better understanding of the complex challenges facing minorities and facing people affected by conflict in the post-Soviet space, among others. We hope to give people a voice who would otherwise remain unheard in mainstream political discourse.

Thank you to all the participants in the workshop and to our sections for all of their hard work in making this project a reality.