ECOM presents a unique to the region training manual for EECA civil society activists on engagement with UN treaty bodies on the issues of SOGI and HIV.

The advocacy response to violations of the right to health and other related rights still remains quite ineffective in the EECA region, for both the LGBT community and for people living with HIV.

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As a response to such low involvement in international advocacy at the UN level, ECOM increased its educational efforts in 2017-2019.  Such efforts include trainings for activists on working with UN treaty bodies, educational sessions on UN special procedures, as well as sessions on improving organizational capacity and supporting the advocacy work of partner organizations in various countries. This manual was also developed for this purpose. It is a collection of information on working with UN treaty bodies, and practical exercises for training groups and/or for the self-training of activists on this topic.

These efforts are all aimed at increasing the involvement of activists in international advocacy in order to increase the effectiveness of their human rights work in countries, and to use the UN’s potential to exert influence and pressure on national authorities.

During the past few years of ECOM active work and its regional partners, the first results of successful international advocacy at the UN level in relation to the health issues of LGBT and people living with HIV were observed in Armenia, Belarus, North Macedonia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as in a number of other countries in the EECA region. This has only served to strengthen ECOM’s belief that international advocacy tools can be effective, simple, and easy to use for all activists.

“When developing the manual, we focused on its practical use for work in countries, and therefore, developed not only a manual, but also related presentations that will help trainers to educate others involved in advocacy for LGBT and PLHIV about the confusing UN system, its treaty bodies and special procedures,” stated Yuri Yoursky, ECOM’s Human Rights and Legal Issues Coordinator.

“It was important for us that the document was as simple as possible to use, understandable to people with a minimum amount of knowledge in this area, and also sufficiently universal, i.e. so that it can be used by groups with different levels of training. I think that we succeeded,” said Yuri.

The training manual for EECA civil society activists on working with UN treaty bodies on the issues of SOGI and HIV will be useful for civil society activists of Eastern Europe and Central Asia working with UN treaty bodies on the issues of SOGI and HIV or for those planning to develop their work in this direction.