The problem of discrimination is not new to Ukraine, but what is new is that it has ceased to be silenced. Since the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation in 2012, more and more people are not only learning to identify discrimination against themselves but also to declare it more often. The number of appeals to public organizations representing the interests of various social groups, many of which are considered vulnerable to discrimination, has increased significantly. There is a lively public discussion of cases of discrimination and the need to improve both legislation and policies to further combat discrimination at both the individual and systemic levels. During the years of the Law of Ukraine “On the Principles of Preventing and Combating Discrimination in Ukraine”, which was adopted in 2012, judicial practice in such cases began to develop.
The analysis of judicial practice, the number and quality of individual appeals to public organizations and to practising lawyers, in particular, show that much more needs to be done to develop good law enforcement practice. This requires not only working with applicants and supporting the desire of victims of discrimination to use legal, judicial and other administrative means to restore their rights. It is also necessary to work on the training of lawyers and judges so that the former can build strategies to protect and represent the interests of clients in such dishes, and the latter can analyze the evidence base and resolve such disputes.
The answer to the problem of insufficient qualification of lawyers to represent the interests of clients in cases of discrimination in 2018 was the development of a unique author’s training course for practising lawyers “Protection of victims of discrimination and hate crimes”.
During 2018 – 2020, with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation, the team of authors of the course released two sets of lawyers who successfully completed the course (the first set was exclusively for advocates and lawyers, human rights NGOs).
The program is based entirely on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and decisions of national courts of Ukraine. The authors of the program use their unique educational developments and their own strategic litigation. Although some modules of the course have a significant theoretical component, even it is based solely on practical exercises and tasks, which allows lawyers to acquire new skills, including:
- assessment of potential cases, the ability to analyze and build a business strategy,
the ability to identify discrimination on various grounds,
analysis of various forms of discrimination and the ability to analyze individual and systemic cases,
understanding the essence of the phenomenon of discrimination and the scale of its manifestations in Ukraine,
understanding the specifics and ethics of working with various groups vulnerable to discrimination,
preparation of procedural documents, expert and information materials for the media.
In the future, in order to strengthen the protection and fight against discrimination in Ukraine and use the acquired training materials and experience to transfer animation knowledge to other professional groups, the Program team plans to carry out:
- monitoring compliance with anti-discrimination legislation;
- monitoring the needs for specialized training of various groups of stakeholders (advocates, lawyers, human rights activists, judges, police, prosecutors, paralegals and others) on the application of anti-discrimination legislation;
- identification of key problems, development of ways to overcome them;
develop new tools to meet the learning needs of different social groups (curricula/manuals/methodological, information materials/expert opinions/references, etc.).