On December 17, 2018, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) and the Legal Development Network (LDN) presented the results of the application of the local human rights index methodology piloted with the support of the USAID New Justice Program.
The local human rights index methodology is aimed at ensuring the observance of human rights in the process of activity of local self-government bodies through public monitoring of local policies and programs in terms of respect for human rights and taking into consideration the vulnerable group’s needs. According to Yevhen Poltenko, LDN Executive Director, the local human rights index methodology has proven itself as a unique, objective and effective tool for assessing the observance of human rights by local authorities and consideration by the latter of real needs through the mechanism of public monitoring, expert support and training for local authorities’ representatives and the public.
During 2018, the LDN and UHHRU, with the support of the USAID New Justice Program and under the USAID Human Rights in Action Program, conducted over 30 monitoring in all regions of Ukraine. The results showed that the local human rights index methodology can be effectively applied in all settlements, in particular those located near the zone of armed conflict. It contributes to better exercising of human rights in all types of communities, helps cooperation between authorities and the public. The UHHRU Executive Director Oleksandr Pavlichenko expressed hope that successful results of the methodology piloting will draw the attention of a larger number of local public associations designed to conduct monitoring of the authorities with coordination and academic support of UHHRU to this method as a monitoring tool.
As a result of each such monitoring, local authorities will have a list of recommendations for improving their own activities; expert evaluation of their activities and at the same time – self-assessment tools and a list of ways to solve typical dilemmas. Local non-government institutions and representatives of those persons whose rights are violated will, in their turn, have a checklist of requirements for local authorities and will be able to choose the way to protect the rights of local community residents. All monitoring reports are posted on the website: National Human Rights Index. According to Natalia Petrova, USAID New Justice Program Deputy Chief of Party, public monitoring is an important element of implementing any reform, because its results and the recommendations developed on their basis help to control the activities of local authorities.
The LDN and UHHRU initiative to monitor local self-government through the local human rights index methodology is aimed at improving the observance of human rights in the communities. As one of the tasks of the USAID New Justice Program is to promote access to justice and human rights, the support of this initiative became one of the Program’s priorities.