Simple-minded portrait of Ukraine

Category: by sophie engström, EU, NGO, ukraine
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It is intrigues to note how international media is covering the aftermath of the Ukrainian Presidential election. I am not considering the political battle, or the long and protracted death struggle by Tymoshenko, but actually how international media looks upon the result. First of all, it seems to me that many journalist in “old media” (to use a concept from the Swedish Pirate movement) seems to have a predilection to depict Ukrainian voters as a hopeless passive group, like silent masses that never would be able to protest against possible violations against human rights or freedoms of speech. In most articles the voters does not even exists! (One example from the leading Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.) It seems to me that many international journalists actually nurse the idea that the orange revolution was created by some kind of misstake. NOT as a protest against something that the Ukrainian voters actually felt humiliated by. This rather retarded interpretation of the situation actually leads to that many journalists seems to think that it is EU that must “save” Ukraine from itself. I would say that Timothy Garton Ash in actually nurse this particular perspective.

From his perspective it is important that Europe (which seems to be the same thing as EU for Ash) somehow secure the Ukrainian freedom. In one respect I must give him right, it is really important that EU understands the importance in having good relationship with Ukraine, and it is also important for EU to try to work faster and less obsessed by bureaucracy. But when he diminishes Ukraine to be only its politicians, I am wondering if he actually has understood what has happen during the past five years.

What we have been witnessing during this election is a triumph for democracy, and I am not sure that we should thank EU for that! I fear however that Ash would have preferred a complete capitalist integration, in that extent that Western interests should control all affairs and political life in Ukraine. Some kind of weird capitalistic interpretation of democracy. I can admit that I am as fond of Ash and trust him as much as I like Anders Åslund, which implies serious skepticism. For me it is just too obvious that the iron wall is really high and thick in their minds!

I, however, believe that democratic movements and freedoms of speech will need help during the next coming years, but I also believe that EU is not necessarily the guarantee that we will keep and develop that! What I am hoping for is grassroots initiatives, actions and connections over our boarders! It was actually grass-root movements that made the orange revolution possible, so let’s hope we together can create the best environment for freedom of speech and human rights in Ukraine.

(UPD: Thank you, Olha Wesnjanka for highlighting the article by Ash.)


Hopefully a helping hand for NGOs in Russia

Category: by sophie engström, NGO, russia
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According to AFP president Dmitry Medvedev has announced that he will submit a new bill for human activist organizations and NGOs in Russia. It was in 2006 that Vladimir Putin, then president, signed a legislation on that all NGOs had to registrate at the state and an increased control of their financial situation. This was one of the actions then-president Putin took that made EU and other countries to worry about that democratic development of Russia. Even though this is a step in the right direction it is yet to be showed if president Medvedev will be able to hold his more liberal approach.


Ukrainas ideella organisationer kämpar mot trafficking

Category: by sophie engström, NGO, trafficking, ukraina, ukraine, UN
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I Sverige har diskussionen om människohandel stundtals varit het och intensiv, och mycket görs för att försämra för förutsättningarna för människohandel. Som ett exempel har Länsstyrelsen i Västra Götaland haft ett aktivt och uppsökande arbete där man informerar arbetsgivare och företagare om vad de ska göra om de upptäcker, eller tror sig upptäcka, att de har att göra med trafficking.

– Många tror att de absolut inte kommer i kontakt med trafficking och människohandel, men utan kunskap kan man inte heller avgöra vad som är människohandel, säger Sophie Nilsson, jämställdhetshandläggare på Länsstyrelsen i Västra Götaland. Sophie Nilsson är också verksam i Nätverket mot trafficking, som mycket framgångsrikt samordnar regionens resurser att motverka trafficking.

Personerna på bilden har ingeting att göra med artikelns innehåll.

Men väldigt få belyser det arbete som görs för att förhindra människohandeln i traffickingens ursprungsländer. Ett land som tagit flera steg i rätt riktning för att motverka trafficking är Ukraina. Många frivillig organisationer arbetar med att bekämpa trafficking och den mest framgångsrika organisationen är La Strada. 2006 trädde en ny jämställdhetslag i kraft i Ukraina. Den förstärkte på flera punkter skyddet mot traffickingens offer och underlättat för organisationen La Strada. På deras kontor i Kiev suckar man dock lite uppgivet på frågan om de verkligen har lyckats förhindra trafficking.

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