New Generation of Human Rights Activists. Results of 2015 Academic Year.

Publised: Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"Human rights activist is not an occupation, not a job, not a position. It is a system of beliefs, life philosophy and "reference system", based on respect for human dignity, on recognition of freedom as a supreme value and absolute nonacceptance of injustice".

Yevgeniy Zhovtis

A one year’s project under the "Human Rights" Program aimed at establishment of a new generation of human rights activists in Kazakhstan has been completed. During the year, 9 already certified project participants attended various training seminars, and by the end of the project developed advocacy plans to defend and to promote public interest on the selected subjects in the field of human rights.

"One of distinguishing aspects of the scholarship project is not only in-depth training in the basics of human rights, but also preparation of monitoring studies by participants on selected topics, and further development of advocacy strategies to address problems in the field of human rights", - says program coordinator, Aizhan Oshakbayeva. - "This is the second round of project graduates and we are interested in further training of young people in the field of human rights, able to develop and implement various monitoring and advocacy projects".

Two leading experts in human rights - Yevgeniy Zhovtis (Kazakhstan) and Anna Sevortian (Germany) - conducted training sessions and provided mentorship to the project participants. As part of the annual school 3 training sessions were conducted on such topics as "Human Rights Basics", "Human rights monitoring", "Advocacy, Protection and Promotion of Public Interest".

"This was a good school for me – I acquired a lot of knowledge and practical skills from mentors and guest speakers of the program, learned how to appropriately conduct research and develop recommendations on the basis of various human rights practices and tools. Moreover, it was very convenient to study in this program. Facilitators did their best to accommodate my individual information access peculiarities that are due to the fact that I can only read texts in electronic form and Braille script"- says Parhat Yusupdzhanov graduate of the project.

"To me personally the project was very significant. I found answers to my questions. Most importantly, this school helps you to understand, whether or not you have human rights values in you", - confesses another project graduate, Aigul Shakibaeva.

"Thanks to this course, mentors and participants, I began to see various social problems in a new way and was able to reconsider some of the things in my activities. Getting to know more experienced human rights activists made it possible to launch new joint projects", - adds Alexander Pushilin.

As part of the training course, project participants prepared advocacy projects in human rights, which they defended before panel of experts comprised of Bakhyt Tumenova (“Aman-Saulyk" PF), Victoria Tyuleneva (Freedom House-Kazakhstan), Aida Aidarkulova (Soros Foundation Kazakhstan) and Yevgeniy Zhovtis (community leader and project mentor).

The works of three project participants based on the results of defense of advocacy plans were recognized as the best, and at the moment they receive support for their implementation.

Meanwhile, receipt of applications for the new 2016 academic year has been finished. All of the received applications are pending. The working language of the school this year will be Kazakh.