Extending the Ombudsperson’s mandate to the regions

Kyiv, 8 June 2015 – The Office of the Ombudsperson held an interview with the pre-selected candidates for the positions of Regional Coordinators for public relations of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsperson) in Zakarpattia, Zhytomyr, and Kherson regions. Now, the 11-strong network of regional coordinators has expanded by 3 additional regions in Ukraine.

For the past almost two years, UNDP has been supporting the implementation of the system of Ombudsperson's regional civic coordinators in order to tackle regional representation challenge of the Office of the Ombudsperson (OO). Locally-involved civic experts have come to serve as "eyes and ears" of OO for monitoring the human rights situation on the ground.

Vadym Pyvovarov, Director of the Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors in Law Enforcement and a member of the selection panel, maintained that "There was a need to expand the network of regional civic coordinators of the Ombudsperson. After all, they are if not the only human rights defenders with a relevant Ombudsperson's mandate in the regions, who can provide real help to people in extreme situations."

The selection panel comprised representatives of the Ombudsperson and the Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors in Law Enforcement, as well as UNDP Ukraine with an advisory vote. The panel tested the knowledge of the candidates on the mandate of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, international and national standards for the protection of human rights, and the national preventive mechanism.

Oleh Hryhoriev, head of Mukachevo Human Rights Center and member of the "Development" Charitable Organization of Information and Education Initiatives, was selected a winner in Zakarpattia region.

Tetiana Sklyarenko, a former consultant at UNICEF on monitoring and coordinating protection of the rights of internally displaced persons in the south of Ukraine and teacher at Kherson Institute of Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, became a regional coordinator in Kherson region.

Tetiana Kovalenko, a civic activist devoted to the rights of internally displaced persons and member of the Public Humanitarian Council under the Zhytomyr Oblast Administration, was chosen to serve in Zhytomyr region.

Regional civic coordinators operate in 11 regions of Ukraine with support from UNDP Ukraine and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark since August 2013.