On June 20, a webinar on the principles of and approaches to community-led monitoring of services (CLM) was held. The webinar brought together representatives of regional networks and communities of the EECA region, who at the beginning of 2023, adopted a Position on CLM, which enshrined the principle of continuous monitoring as a tool to achieve the desired result for the communities.
Yuri Yoursky, ECOM’s Programs Lead, and Elena German, Capacity Building Coordinator, presented ECOM’s approaches and successful cases based on which CLM was established as a tool for advocating for the rights of LGBT people.
Yuri Yoursky stressed that violations of the rights of LGBT people are a powerful barrier to accessing HIV prevention and treatment services. In the absence in most EECA countries of national mechanisms for collecting data on cases of rights violations, community-based monitoring is the main tool for recording and representing such cases.
“Since 2017, we have trained over 150 LGBT people on how to monitor rights violations. Today, 723 cases of rights violations have provided the basis for advocacy campaigns. I want to highlight the importance of using CLM to monitor services of the HIV response. It is important as a tool for influence and control within the framework of the principle “nothing about us without us”. Communities should discuss things that concern their interests and will lead to accessible changes. Violations of the rights of LGBT people are a barrier that limit access to HIV services,” said Yuri Yoursky, Programs Lead at ECOM.
ECOM developed a methodology for monitoring rights violations back in 2017. The main issues related to data collection and analysis include:
- Data sources: victims of human rights violations, third persons associated with victims, open sources.
- Data collection methods: interviews, media monitoring.
- Most common sources of rights violations: law enforcement agencies, decision-makers, medical workers.
- Most common perpetrators of hate crimes: law enforcement agencies, citizens.
“In 2022, we collected 240 cases of violations of the rights of LGBT people in five EECA countries, 86 of which were hate crimes. Unfortunately, human rights are violated systematically, and we must record and name this in order to create a system for monitoring and preventing violations,” said Yuri Yoursky.
Elena German, ECOM’s Capacity Building Coordinator, discussed another effective monitoring tool: the “Secret Client”.
This is a popular tool used by commercial bodies and adapted to the needs of the civil sector in order to assess the quality of services.
“The methodology is very simple: the organization itself develops a checklist for the service standard. It is very important to develop a standard; the monitor will rely on this when receiving the service as a regular client. All secret clients must be prepared. There needs to be a legend depending on which service you are monitoring. And of course, you must be internally prepared that reactions to coming out can vary completely,” said Elena German.
This tool has already been successfully used by ECOM’s partners in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.
When using the “Secret Client” methodology, partnership with local authorities is important, because for them, the results of such monitoring provide very clear indications of local service providers’ compliance with the standards of service provision.
When planning monitoring, always be clear about its purpose and to whom the results will be presented.
ECOM, as an expert organization protecting the rights of LGBT people and documenting rights violations, emphasizes the need to increase the awareness of representatives of the LGBT community about their rights, legal literacy, and to educate community representatives about the principles of CLM for successful advocacy to liberalize local legislation.
Over the years of ECOM's work, more than 700 cases of violations of the rights of LGBT people in the EECA region have been submitted to the UN and have formed the basis for advocacy at the level of national governments.