How to efficiently respond to new human rights challenges in the context of war

Regional coordinators of the Office of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights have been trained on psychological and legal aspects of working with war-affected people.

March 23, 2023
Photo: UNDP Ukraine/Andrii Krepkykh

Kyiv, 23 March 2023 — A two-day training event for members of the Secretariat of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for human rights and its regional network has been completed. It covered new challenges in human rights protection and effective responses to them. The training was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the governments of Japan and Denmark.

During the training, the participants learned about the psychological basics of communication with people affected by war, with families and loved ones of war who are prisoners, deceased, veterans and injured in hostilities. When greeting the participants, Svitlana Kolyshko, UNDP Human Rights Initiative team lead, and Human Rights for Ukraine project coordinator, mentioned that the war is forcing people to make difficult decisions, respond to new challenges, overcome uncertainties, deal with grief and console their near and dear ones every single day.

“The Commissioner’s regional offices are often the first point of contact to get help or legal advice for those whose rights are violated. This is why it’s essential that the regional network is skilled enough to communicate with those experiencing physical and mental traumas, in distress or dealing with a loss. It’s essential that such communication is efficient, not traumatic and supportive for those seeking help to restore their rights,” she said.

The training has also helped the regional network members to learn how to detect and respond to cases of war-related sexual violence and provide legal assistance to the victims. 

Speaking to the participants, Yana Liubymova, Deputy Chief of the Commissioner’s Secretariat, stressed that having a powerful and effective national human rights institution is essential for the country in the context of the full-scale invasion. 

“The significantly deteriorating human rights situation requires complex and comprehensive solutions. We are constantly working to make our institution highly effective and capable of prompt responses to citizens’ needs”, she said.

“Human rights are in danger in times of war. We are constantly improving our employees’ capacity to address new human rights protection issues in a timely and effective manner,” pointed out Ivan Verveiko, Deputy Chief of the Commissioner’s Secretariat.

UNDP has been cooperating with the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights since 2012 to encourage Ukraine’s commitment to human rights at both national and international levels, as well as to ensure efficient implementation of the Commissioner’s mandates.

The Commissioner’s Regional Network operates in all the regions of Ukraine with the support of the Human Rights for Ukraine Project, implemented by UNDP in Ukraine and funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2022, the Regional Network, supported by UNDP, held 449 field visits and more than 1,000 consultations and reached out to 5,229 persons (3,248 women and 1,981 men), providing advice and assistance for protecting their rights. 

The Regional Network Training was supported by the project “Promotion of Human Security in Ukraine by Responding to the Multidimensional Crisis Caused by the War”, implemented by UNDP and financed by the Government of Japan.

For Media Inquiries

Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Communication Manager, of phone: +38 097 139 1475