ODIHR Director Link joined by Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner and civil society at launch of project in Kyiv

News and Press Release
Originally published

KYIV, 24 April 2015 – Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), was joined in Kyiv today by Valeria Lutkovska, Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner, for the launch of ODIHR’s new two-year project. Following Director Link’s public lecture on the subject of civil society, democracy and human rights, ODIHR engaged representatives of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the civil society and academia in a panel discussion on the vital role civil society plays as Ukraine takes critical steps to advance democracy, protect human rights and address discrimination.

“ODIHR often serves as the main institutional channel for contact between the OSCE and civil society. Strengthening the independent voices of civil society in countries of transition is at the core of ODIHR’s mandate,” Director Link told the audience at the event. “This project aims to reinforce the hard work of civil society in this country, supporting Ukraine along its road of transformation into a stable and prosperous European democracy.”

Lutkovska, the Commissioner for Human Rights said “ODIHR’s project is fundamental for strengthening the coalition between Ukrainian civil society and governmental institutions in support of Ukraine’s compliance with its OSCE human dimension commitments”.

“It is key that civil society are the focus of today’s discussion and I welcome partnership and dialogue to consolidate Ukraine’s democratic institutions,” said Andriy Meleshevych, the President of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, which hosted the event.

“The format chosen for the launch event set a solid foundation for inclusive co-operation of civil society, the government, the academic and international community,” said Ihor Kohut, Director of the Agency for Legislative Initiatives.

ODIHR’s “Strengthening Dialogue among Civil Society and with Key Governmental Stakeholders in Ukraine Project” will bring together more than 600 stakeholders from both civil society and the Ukrainian authorities in 2015 alone, to enhance effective mechanisms for dialogue to address key human rights issues in Ukraine, in line with OSCE commitments and international standards.

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Thomas Rymer, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
Ul. Miodowa 10
00-251 Warsaw
office: +48 22 520 06 40
mobile: +48 609 522 266
fax: +48 22 520 06 05

Public Affairs Unit, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
Ul. Miodowa 10
00-251 Warsaw
office: +48 22 520 06 00
fax: +48 22 520 06 05