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Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union Annual Activity Report 2008 History of the organization

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Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

Annual Activity Report 2008

  1. History of the organization

We’ll be protecting human rights so long as mankind will exist.

It’ll be possible to stop only when solar system

will vanish and there will be no more people.”

Yuriy Orlov, professor, physicist, dissident,

one of the Helsinki human rights movement founders

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union was officially registered on June 30, 2004. But the long history preceded this event.

Final Act of Conference on Co-operation and Security in Europe was signed August 1st, 1975 in Helsinki, and laid foundation for new development of international relations in Europe on the basis of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Ukrainian Group for Promoting of Helsinki Treaties Implementation (UHG) was organized on November 9th 1976. But its actual activity was stopped by the repressions of Soviet government.

Later, on initiative of Ukrainian Helsinki Group activists, its activity was renewed – Ukrainian Helsinki Union was created. Unfortunately, that time the organization had the clear political, but not human rights goals and interests. Because it members set the goal of Ukraine’s independence renewal. Later, in 1990 it at fact stopped the activity and was transformed into the Ukrainian Republican Party. The informal human rights movement Committee “Helsinki-90” was organized in June the same year.

In 2000 – 2003 years work on creation of human rights organizations network became more intensive. Council of Ukrainian human rights organizations (RUPOR) with separate office in Kyiv was organized in 2003 for coordination of human rights defenders’ joint activity, on initiative of Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group.

After the First forum of human rights organizations “Human rights monitoring during elections”, which was organized by RUPOR, the Constituent Assembly of Association of human rights organizations “Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union” took place on 1st April 2004. One of its founders was the Committee “Helsinki-90”. The new stage in the joint work of many human rights organizations was begun.

The meeting of world-famous dissidents and human rights defenders was held in Kyiv in 2008. Founders and members of Helsinki groups from post-soviet countries discussed the future ways of Helsinki human rights movement development, the contemporary challenges for human rights on post-soviet space and worldwide.

On the photo from the right: Vasyl Ovsienko (one of the founders Ukrainian Helsinki Group, member of the Supervisory Council of the UHHRU, Yuri Orlov, one of the founders of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Nina Marchenko, mother of the Valeriy Marchenko (member of the UHG), Mykola Matusevych, historian, Lyudmila Alekseeva, the President of the Moscow Helsinki Group and Alla Marchenko.

  1. Structure of the organization

The structure of the organization has the following view in schematic form:

Revision Commission (3 persons)

General Meeting (23 human rights NGOs)

Supervisory Council (7 persons – the famous activists of human rights movement of 60-80 years)

Chairman of Commission

Board (9 persons represented the members)

Chairman of the Board

Executive Director (appointed by the Board)

Staff of the Union

The UHHRU consists of 23 human rights NGOs.

International women human rights centre “La-Strada-Ukraine” and NGO “Committee for monitoring freedom of the press in Crimea” became the members of UHHRU in May 2008.

In May 2008 Vinnytsya human rights group was excluded from UHHRU members by the decision of General Meeting, because of its activity, that has substantially bad influence on the Association’s name.

In July 2008 NGO “For professional assistance” (Poltava) reached the decision on it General Meeting to leave the UHHRU.

Full list of organizations-members of UHHRU is for your attention

  1. The All-Ukrainian Society of Political Prisoners and Victims of Repression (including the Ukrainian Helsinki-90 Committee), Kyiv

  2. The Association “Civic Initiative”, Kirovohrad

  3. The Centre for Legal and Political Research “SIM” (Lviv)

  4. The Centre for Research into Regional Policy (Sumy)

  5. The Chernihiv Civic Committee for the Protection of Human Rights

  6. The Chortkiv Civic Organization „Helsinki initiative – ХХІ” (Ternopil region)

  7. The Civic Committee for the Protection of Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties (Luhansk)

  8. The Civic Organization “M’ART” [Youth Alternative], Chernihiv
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