Mainstreaming Russia’s Human, Social and Civil Rights

MSI’s four-year, USAID-funded Mainstreaming Human, Social and Civil Rights (“I’ve Got Rights”) program aims to create and support the conditions and political will to sustain the observance of human, social and civil rights.

Since September 2009, the program has operated in four regions to promote citizen awareness about their rights, strengthen the skills of human rights organizations and facilitate networking among them. The project also focuses on promoting reforms to safeguard human rights.

MSI provided training to more than 480 representatives of human rights NGOs, addressing issues of working with the mass media, managing their image and using new communications technology. The training also focused on conducting negotiations with the government and using civil rights in NGO activities.

The program also sponsored the publication of the Technologies for Human Rights Organizations handbook, which explains the most effective tools and techniques that human rights NGOs can use to be more successful.

MSI provides support to approximately 50 civil society organizations and their partners in implementing projects to educate citizens on their rights and provide legal assistance to those whose rights were violated. These organizations also advocate for reforms to better observe and defend citizen rights, especially those of youth and children, the disabled, workers and women.

With the support of the project, NGOs provided legal assistance to more than 13,000 citizens, resolving many cases in citizens’ interests. These NGOs conducted more than 500 public events with more than 10,500 participants educating citizens about their rights. They also produced and disseminated more than 100 human rights-oriented brochures, flyers and analytical reports and participated in numerous TV and radio shows. NGOs participating in the project and their partners advocated for 75 policy reforms on the local, regional and national levels, half of which have already been enacted by the government.

The “I’ve Got Rights” website provides daily information about the program’s events and achievements and serves as a resource center to NGOs, providing access to 1,200 reference materials on human rights issues. The website contains more than 200 stories of citizens successfully defending their rights.

In partnership with Russian counterparts, MSI also conducts public opinion polls – Russian Citizens and Their Rights: Priorities, Attitudes and Experiences. The survey results are widely disseminated and discussed at the program’s workshops and roundtables.