Awareness is key: bringing human rights closer to Armenian citizens


The Human Rights Lab (HuRiLab) Fellowship is a unique opportunity for young people in Europe and Central Asia with a passion for human rights to put their ideas into action.

 

The concept behind HuRiLab is simple: Engage more people in addressing the challenges posed by discrimination and marginalization. But how does it apply to the fellowships?

 

Our four Fellows are hard at work developing new proposals that aim to better promote human rights and widen access to justice. As part of this project, each Fellow is receiving modest funding along with guidance from UNDP to put their idea into action.

 

Meet Liana

 

Liana is a great example of what young people can do when they put their minds to it. As a young Armenian lawyer and civil rights activist, she also founded an NGO  that works to integrate people with disabilities into society.

 

She is currently partnering with UNDP in Armenia and innovation experts, Kolba Labs to increase rights awareness in order to help widen Armenians’ access to justice and improve protection of their rights.

 

For Liana, the problem stems from two mutually reinforcing gaps: knowledge and access.

 

Every day in Armenia, she says, people experience systemic violations of their rights, however with no professionals there to protect them and little understanding of the recourse one can take, it’s a vicious cycle. “Awareness is key,” she explains, “because, especially in the regions of Armenia, people lack information about human rights - what they can do and to whom they can apply when theirs are violated.”

 

She continues:

 

“Kolba Labs holds trainings every week about innovative communication techniques. I am participating in these trainings very actively. I’ve learned lots of ways on how to get involved in social life and become closer to the people. For example, there are many offline communities like Edgeryders, which I am using in my research especially in reaching young people. I’m also learning about micro-narratives and how to use them to interact with others. Micro-surveys, blogs, and one-on-one interviews with judges, lawyers, advocates, youth, and NGOs working in the field further provide me with the material I need.

 

Collaboration and engaging with people from the outside is nothing revolutionary. What makes this approach unique is its mutually reinforcing effect.

 

New ideas and insights from citizens can help our UNDP offices create programmes that better respond to citizens’ needs. At the same time, this approach empowers citizens to address human rights and justice challenges by themselves, making their voice truly heard.

 

We’ll be following up with our other three Fellows to give you updates as this project progresses and present all the fellowships at a webinar in mid June. Also be sure to follow our updates and share your thoughts with us through the HuRiLab website and Facebook page.