As you can doubtless tell from this month’s cover, dear reader, the theme of our seventh issue is Human Rights.
The quest for the institutionalization of human rights norms in contemporary Ukraine is a critical part of the implementation of a program of Westernization and Decommunization. Ukraine has many problems and the lack of redress for violations of the rights of citizens is near the top of the list. Ukraine, as our policy columnist Nick Holmov explains in this month’s column, has hereto operated on an outdated Soviet conception of understanding rights. In many areas of policy this means mostly ignoring individual rights in favor of collective rights.Ukrainian citizens do not always know that they have redress to their rights being violated, and thus do not always know how to react or what to do. Ironically, even while following such a program does not mean that collective rights (and needs) are always satisfied.
The issue features a special portfolio on human rights issues, some of which is very personal first person journalism dealing with human rights issues in the Odessa region. These include “A Home for Tolerance And Equality In Odessa” about an LGBT center in Odessa. Our Associate Editor Jack Margolin has written a fascinating piece about Odessa’s rich and complex media tradition and explains what is means for right to free speech. The founder of a successful new media platform dealing with human rights stories all over the former Soviet Union, Natalia Antelava gives a meaningful monologue. The profile of a prominent Human Rights ombudsman in Kyiv by Ian Bateson shows us that important side human rights work is done by individuals as much as social change is driven by social movements.
Despite the increased strength and vigor of Ukrainian civil society over the last several years much work still remains to be done for Ukraine to live up to it’s commitments to universal human rights.