A Rights Sensitization training for activists of LGBT and HIV service organizations was conducted in Yerevan, August 21-23, 2017 within the ECOM Regional Program “Right to Health” supported by the Global Fund.
The training, attended by representatives from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Macedonia, identified the most pressing problems related to stigma and discrimination, violation of the rights of gay men and other men having sex with men, trans* people in EECA region which could be addressed under national and international legal frameworks of ECHR and/or the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies.
“The training gave me an opportunity to review the international human rights mechanisms and discover the possibilities for activity coverage, and the ways to be heard. The training also helped me to gain a different perspective on current situation – through the lens of representatives from other countries”, Hayk Hayrapetyan, lawyer at “New Generation”, NGO Armenia.
Within the training block on advocacy campaign development, participants practiced to design advocacy campaign and learned how to implement it, also identified key impacts on decision-makers and individual groups. Paata Sabelashvili, ECOM Advocacy Coordinator, by using Georgian examples of efficient advocacy campaigns, explained to participants how to conduct an effective advocacy campaign in short time and with limited resources, but with huge motivation.
Andrei Zavalei, LGBT activist and “Delo_Pi campaign” coordinator, Belarus, underlined that the training was useful for human rights promotion under difficult circumstances. “The well designed training program has enabled me to systemize and strengthen my advocacy knowledge, emphasizing the benefits of human rights promotion. It contributed to my personal development as a human rights activist and will help to render my current campaign more effective and more sustainable.”
A volunteer of the Macedonian organization “Stronger Together” highlighted the benefits of participation in the training for him and his organization. “In the training I learned that, as an individual, I can make an impact, and I learned which authorities and committees to address. I will use this knowledge and the connections and contacts I have gathered during the training, to help further the cause of the LGBTQ community in Macedonia, and possibly influence policies towards the betterment of our society.“.
“I’ve joined our NGO fairly recently. Earlier, I had an endless desire to change our country for the better, now I’ve obtained the knowledge on advocacy campaigns. Kyrgyz NGOs have difficulties dealing with the state. There is no rule of law. At the training I came to know how to influence state policy through UN committees and other international tools”, said Nadira Masiumova, Advocacy Specialist, “Kyrgyz Indigo”, Kyrgyzstan.
Communication development between activists from different countries has been considered of high importance. “The training was interesting for me because I got a lot of new information that will help me in my work and sharing information with others.“, commented Gocha Gabodze, Member of the Board “Equality Movement”, Georgia.
One of the discussions held within the training focused on “shadow” reports on LGBT human rights violations and “right to health” promotion through international and national protection mechanisms.
High level participants’ motivation was praised by Yuri Yoursky, ECOM Human Rights and Legal Issues Officer. “I am always encouraged to see new emerging activists, who stand up for protection of human rights and freedoms in their countries to make our planet a safer place. It’s important that “a new generation of activists” in the EECA region realized that their social activism is required at the national and international levels right now in order to change the situation for better, rather than wait-and-see tactics expecting the government to do its job”.