From 26 to 30 June 2017 the 5th Summer School on Human Rights “Social Vulnerability: Contemporary Challenges and International Protection” was held on the basis of the Ural State Law University (Yekaterinburg), organized by the Consortium of Russian Universities Implementing the Joint Master's Program “International Protection of Human Rights”
The event was part of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) campaign “Stand up for someone’s rights today”, which aims to spread awareness about the rights of vulnerable groups, protect their rights and ensure respect and non-discrimination of vulnerable groups in accordance with international law.
The ceremonial opening of the school began with welcoming words from Lev Lazutin (Head of the Department of International and European Law of the Ural State Law University). Then Marat Salikov (First Vice-Rector of the Ural State Law University; Professor of the Department of Constitutional Law) spoke. He noted the complexity of the topic of human rights, as well as the complicated dialogue between the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation on certain issues. Then the floor was given to Vadim Dubichev (First Deputy Head of the Administration of the Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region) and he reminded the participants of the Summer School that the authors of the current Constitution of the Russian Federation, in which human rights and freedoms occupy an important place, are natives of the Urals and graduates of the Ural State Law University.
Rashid Aluash (Coordinator for the joint program of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Russian Federation) greeted the participants of the Summer School and pointed out the need to respect human rights in everyday life. Igor Morokov (Ombudsman for the Rights of the Child in the Sverdlovsk Region) called for the creation of favourable living conditions of future generations. Secretary of the Russian Ministry of the Foreign Affairs in Yekaterinburg Mikhail Kosarev drew attention to the danger of politicizing human rights, and spoke about the functionality of the Representation in protection the rights of citizens of the Russian Federation for abroad as well. Then Anna Demeneva (consultant of the Office of the Ombudsman in the Sverdlovsk Region) read out the welcoming speech of the Ombudsman in the Sverdlovsk Region Tatyana Merzlyakova. Irina Kinzina (head of the department of the unified office of ombudsmen for human rights, child rights, protection of the rights of entrepreneurs of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region (Yugra) urged to think not about problems, but about opportunities in protecting the rights of vulnerable groups in her speech.
The organizers of the Summer School voiced welcome letters from the Ombudswoman of the Russian Federation Tatyana Moskalkova, from the International Department of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation, from the President of the All-Russian Public Organization of Disabled People “All-Russian Society of the Deaf” Valeriy Rukhledev, from the Ombudsman in St. Petersburg Alexander Shishlov. The guests of the event were: Ombudsman in the Voronezh Region, Professor of Voronezh State University, Doctor habilitatus (law) Tatiana Zrazhevskaya; as well as the head of the Regional Office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Russia Davron Mukhamadiyev; Olga Bogatyryova, professor of the Ural Federal University; Professor of the Liberal Arts University Alexei Semitko. Leading specialists from the Consortium of Russian Universities, professors from universities of the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratization (EIUC, Venice), representatives of international organizations, experts of the UN human rights treaty bodies, representatives of governmental bodies and civil society were lecturers at the Summer School.
The Summer School was held in the format of plenary lectures and three thematic blocks (clusters). Plenary lectures were delivered by: Professor, Doctor habilitatus (law), Head of the Department of International Law of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights A.Kh. Abashidze; senior researcher at the Institute of State and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child O.A. Khazov; Rashid Aluash, Coordinator for the joint program of UNHCHR and the Russian Federation. The Summer School program included the following three clusters: “Fight for the rights of the child”, “Fight for the rights of disabled people”, “Fight for the rights of refugees and migrants”. Each cluster included lectures and interactive sessions.
The first cluster “Fight for the Rights of the Child” was devoted to the economic, social and cultural rights of the child, the problems of child participation in the decision-making process, and contemporary problems of realizing the rights of the child. The work of the cluster was opened by a lecture by Tatyana Titova, associate professor of the Ural State Law University, who gave a general description of the universal and regional acts on the rights of the child, revealed the concept of liberal paternalism, laid down in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and also analyzed the concept of a “child” enshrined in the Convention. According to the lecturer, the conventional definition of a child is universal, this is confirmed, among other things, by the conclusion of further international treaties taking into account the provisions of the Convention. The first cluster was taught by three foreign lecturers: Bill Bowring, Bill Rolston and Bryce Dixon (professors from United Kingdom universities). Each of them addressed the regional European system for the protection of human rights, as well as the social aspects of realizing the right to education. Anton Burkov, Head of the Department of European Law and Comparative Law of the Humanitarian University, devoted his lecture to the specific issue of the child's right to be born from a prisoner in accordance with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and spoke about the strategic judicial campaign for the right of families to exercise long-term visits with their life-sentenced relatives. Associate Professor of the Department of International and European Law of the Kazan Federal University Uzeyir Mamadov delivered a lecture on the international legal protection of the rights of children during armed conflicts. During the work of the cluster, three practical sessions were held. The first was dedicated to the protection of children's rights at the European Court of Human Rights, led by Tatiana Titova. The second was conducted by Natalya Ulanova, a Consultant of the Office of the Ombudsman in the Sverdlovsk Region. In addition to the students of the Summer School, children of 8-12 years old took part in it. The study of such topical issues in modern society as the protection of personal data on the Internet and the manifestation of tolerance in the team took place in a playful way. In the end, the children watched a cartoon dedicated to the realization of children’s rights and received sweet gifts and small souvenirs. The third practical lesson was conducted by lawyer Galina Ibryanova. The participants were divided into three groups, each of which received an assignment similar to one of the practical problems that Galina Ibryanova faced in her legal practice on the protection of children's rights.
The second cluster, “Fight for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, focused on accessible remedies for people with disabilities, independent lifestyles, community engagement options, and disability recovery and rehabilitation services and programs, as well as a human rights-based approach to disability. The work of the cluster began with a lecture by Anna Demeneva, consultant of the Office of the Ombudsman in the Sverdlovsk Region. Anna reviewed the main obligations of states under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the first steps to implement the Convention in Russia. As a continuation of this lecture, Maksim Likhacyov, associate professor of the Ural State Law University, conducted a practical lesson. The lecture by Associate Professor of the RANEPA Ekaterina Alisiyevich continued the topic of mechanisms for protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, referring to the regional level, namely, the mechanisms of protection within the Council of Europe. Yelena Pereiro di Melo, Associate Professor at the New University of Lisbon, delivered a lecture and a workshop, during which the issues of ensuring equal opportunities for people with disabilities were discussed.
The audience was keenly interested in the lectures of the head of the department of the All-Russian Society of the Deaf, Maxim Larionov, and the scientific leader and chairman of the board of the National Centre for Problems of Disability, Alexander Lysenko. The practical lesson was conducted by the director of the Sverdlovsk regional public organization for socialization and rehabilitation of children “Pelican” Zoya Glukhikh and the general director of the ANO Scientific-practical social-pedagogical association “Blagoe delo” Vera Simakova. An unusual practical lesson was also held within the cluster. Maria Gendeleva and Dmitry Radyuk (employees of the department for universal design of the RSDP “Perspektiva”) spoke about the activities of the organization “Perspektiva”, which, unlike specialized societies dealing with problems of a certain category of disabled people, provides support to all groups. For practice, the participants were asked to try on special gloves that simulate poor mobility of the fingers with some injuries, as well as glasses that simulate poor vision. It was necessary to perform simple actions with gloves: open a plastic bottle and pour water into a glass, and also remove the cap from the felt-tip pen and put a signature. It turned out to be not so easy and showed that even such a small artificial limitation can cause significant inconvenience, and people with disabilities face more serious barriers every day. This practice, more effectively than any words, made the participants imbued with the problem of the need to develop a universal design and provide an accessible environment.
The third cluster “Fight for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants” provided the participants with an opportunity to discuss issues of legal and social protection and social integration of refugees and migrants, labour exploitation, discrimination on the basis of ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious affiliation of migrants and refugees. Professor Sylvie Sarolea from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) conducted the first lecture and a workshop. She raised the question of whether sovereignty is a principle, and the obligation to respect the rights of migrants – an exception to this principle, or the obligation to respect the rights of migrants should be recognized as a principle (as recognized in the doctrine of human rights), and the sovereign rights of the state – an exception from it. Professor Boldijar Nagy from the Central European University reviewed the status of refugees and asylum seekers in the European Union. Along with refugee status, EU law also provides for additional protection guarantees and the possibility of providing temporary protection in the event of a massive influx of migrants. Professor of the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. R. Wallenberg Lyal Sangha gave a lecture on the current difficulties in monitoring the rights of refugees, especially women and children. Rustem Davletgildeyev, Associate Professor of Kazan Federal University, delivered a lecture on the international legal protection of the rights of migrant workers. On the same day, the Open Dialogue “Ethnic Communities and Authorities” was held with participation of the Head of the Citizenship Department of the Migration Department of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the Sverdlovsk Region Anna Chirkova, Chief Specialist-Expert of the Migration Department of the State Department for Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the Sverdlovsk region Oksana Radosteva, as well as the Head of the Youth Department of the Sverdlovsk Regional Public Organization “Kyrgyzstan-Ural” Shamil Toktogulov. The authorities spoke about the mechanisms for granting of a refugee status, political and temporary asylum existing in Russian legislation, about the differences between the procedure for obtaining a patent and a temporary work permit, and about the special status of qualified and highly qualified workers.
The last day of the Summer School began with a lecture by RUDN Associate Professor Ekaterina Kiseleva on a human rights approach to migration. Sergey Yagodin, Deputy Head of the Department for the Protection of Social Rights of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Russian Federation, delivered a lecture about the experience of the Office of the Ombudsman in the Russian Federation in relation to migrants. The lecturer dwelled on the most pressing issue of acquiring Russian citizenship for citizens of Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, who often turn to the Ombudsman to protect their rights. Concluding the work of the Cluster, a practical lesson by Anatoly Teslenko, an associate professor of the Ural State Law University, was held, during which the question of whether a migrant is a legal category was decided. Teamed up participants of the Summer School offered their answers to this question with references to the practice of the CIS Economic Court, doctrinal and international legal sources. Annual competition “Model of the European Court of Human Rights” was held as part of the Summer School in Yekaterinburg, in which 7 teams from 8 partner universities of the Consortium took part. The winner of the competition was a team of students from the Ural State Law University.
The Summer School has become a platform for meetings and discussions. The participants had an excellent opportunity to expand professional contacts, gain new knowledge and share experience in the field of protection of the rights of vulnerable groups. For many participants, this week of classes completely turned the perception of problems, forced them to reconsider their beliefs regarding representatives of vulnerable groups of the population and think about their own role in resolution of these problems.
Mass media about the V Summer School for Human Rights: