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International conference "Strengthening legal capacity of communities" started in Kharkiv
Conference participants are experts from Ukraine, Canada, USA, South Africa, Pakistan.Photo: Facebook.
Conference participants are experts from Ukraine, Canada, USA, South Africa, Pakistan.

On 20-21 October International conference "Strengthening legal capacity of communities" was held in Kharkiv. Participants considered the issues on the merits, approaches, ways and tools to strengthen the legal capacity of communities.

The main issues of the conference were inter alia as follows:

  • How to involve local communities in the process of qualitative changes?
  • How to influence a corrupt tradition?
  • How to resolve disputes without trial?
  • How to increase the legal opportunities of vulnerable populations?
  • How to resolve legal issues without lawyers?

The event was attended by experts from different countries, including Canada, USA, South Africa, Pakistan. During two days the best international and Ukrainian practices of strengthening the legal capacity of communities were presented/ Participants also discussed why it is important to strengthen the legal viability of the Ukrainian community, what the use and effect of this process for communities is, what are possible tools for this, what this means in the context of development of the Ukrainian legal aid system, and what international experience we can use to improve the efficiency of the process.

"Networking of social activists who use the law as a tool of strengthening the legal capacity of communities helps the development of civil society in Ukraine. The network of public centers for legal aid should become a resource platform of social activists," said in the opening the conference, Director of the Coordinating Center for legal aid providing Andriy Vyshnevsky (pictured second from right).

The participants of the first day also heard about the system of free legal aid, which 10 years ago was created under support of International Renaissance Foundation.

"Professionalism should be based on moral quality, since corruption and irresponsibility are often associated not with ignorance of law but with lack of moral duty. Therefore, the influence of society on the solution of problems of vulnerable groups is required", stressed in his speech the Executive Director of the International Renaissance Foundation Yevgen Bystritsky (pictured left).

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Photo: Facebook.

Among the participants of the conference there was the delegation of the defenders of the rights of the Roma minority: the leaders of Roma NGOs, human rights defenders, lawyers, social activists.

"During three sessions at the conference we will be talking about the Roma communities and cases of self-organization, access to justice and reduction of social isolation. We will discuss approaches to overcoming the separation and segregation of vulnerable groups. And many other stories of how through the rule of law to overcome poverty…", commented on his Facebook page the Director of Roma Program Initiative of the International Renaissance Foundation Olga Zhmurko.

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The delegation of the defenders of the rights of the Roma minority. Photo: Facebook.

The representatives of the Informational Resource Center "Legal Space" also participated in the conference. The head Natalia Bimbirayte, coordinator Anna Martyniuk and lawyer Volodymyr Orlovsky shared their experiences on community development, implementation of the reform of FLA, as well as presented the publication "A Step Ahead" - about the key achievements of the network of free legal aid for 8 years. The book can be downloaded here or in the Annex to the article.

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The delegation of the IRC "Legal Space" presented the book "A Step Ahead".

More photos in the gallery to the article.

The article used information from the Public Space website.

Reference
The conference was held in the framework of the project "Quality and accessible legal aid in Ukraine" funded by the Government of Canada and implemented by the Canadian Bureau for International Education, International Renaissance Foundation and the Coordinating Center for legal aid providing. More information on the concept of strengthening the legal capacity of communities, as well as the draft programme of the conference can be viewed on www.lep.in.ua.

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