Programme Review

Defending the right to full recovery: The RIGHTS NOW! human rights programme

05 March 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has become a challenge for all of us. In a short period of time, we have learned how it is to have limited movement, wear masks everywhere, self-isolate, communicate online and avoid physical contact with other people. We have more concerns about our own health and the health of our loved ones. We have developed a fear of losing our jobs, the quality of education. We are asking ourselves “What next?” much more often.

During the RIGHTS NOW! human rights programme, we will discuss the changes in various domains of life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and talk about how to defend our right to health.


The RIGHTS NOW! human rights programme includes 11 discussions in which, together with specialists from the civil and public sectors, we will discuss human rights in the new corona crisis reality. We will find out whether Ukrainians take care of their sexual health and how to defend our right to safe and the least traumatic childbirth. We will consider the influence of social media on children’s mental health and learn about the problems which make people go to psychologists. The discussions will concern problems in palliative care and in the treatment of orphan diseases, and the medical care which patients receive at detention facilities. We will also look at the problem of the construction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station from the perspective of defending the human right to health.


The Living Library will traditionally be a component of the RIGHTS NOW! human rights programme. This year, the books in the Living Library will include different people who have one thing in common: stories of overcoming stigma, bias and discrimination associated with their community or status. In addition, the festival will offer a special event related to the topic of the new Docudays UA human rights campaign: the screening of Unseen, directed by Maia Martiniak.

The RIGHTS NOW! human rights programme and the Living Library will be held online on 27 March – 4 April.


All RIGHTS NOW! discussions will be accompanied by sign language interpretation provided by the Inclusively Friendly project.


Here is some information about the events in the human rights programme.


27 March, 3:30 p.m. | The new corona crisis reality: What next?


Changes associated with the “corona crisis” did not just shake our financial situation, but also transformed our lives, thinking, and affected our values. We have survived two lockdowns and felt human rights retreat into the background when collective safety was at stake.


In the discussion titled The new corona crisis reality: What next?, we will talk about the changes that happened in the government’s humanitarian policies, particularly in terms of overcoming poverty, corporate ethics, health care and communications. We will also explore how a crisis in these areas has affected the situation with human rights in Ukraine and globally.


28 March, 3:30 p.m. | Myths about the immune system: How to stick to common sense during a pandemic?


Ukraine has become the 95th country where vaccination against the coronavirus has started. During the discussion, we will talk about the role played by our immune system in the new reality and about the existing effective ways to improve the body’s defence mechanisms. In addition, we will touch upon the issue of forced and voluntary vaccination of Ukrainians.


29 March, 3:30 p.m. | Rare: How do orphan patients fight for their right to a full life?


Orphan diseases (such as hereditary immune deficiencies) or undiagnosed conditions (such as FAS) have the incidence of less than one case per two thousand population. Most of these illnesses are genetic and incurable. Medicine and rehabilitation for patients with orphan diseases are expensive, and far from every Ukrainian family with such patients can afford it. During the discussion titled Rare: How do orphan patients fight for their right to a full life?, we will discuss the situation with providing medicine to patients with orphan diseases in Ukraine. We will also consider the international experience in helping orphan patients which Ukraine could adopt.


30 March, 3:30 p.m. | Pain medicine: How can we relieve the suffering of seriously ill people?


In Ukraine, palliative care as a separate kind of medical care is guaranteed by the state, and seriously ill patients should be prescribed painkillers. At the same time, there is still debate around the most effective pain relief methods. In this discussion, we will talk about whether human rights are respected in palliative care and whether seriously ill patients receive proper treatment.


31 March, 3:30 p.m. | The construction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station 2: Is disaster inevitable?


Practically from the first day since the publishing of the plans to build the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station 2 (Kherson Region), activists, scientists and engaged citizens have defended the environment and the historic heritage, as well as their right to health. In this discussion, we will talk about how the public plans to defend their right to health and a clean environment.


1 April, 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. | Mental health and social media traps


Mental health is underestimated and misunderstood in our society. And the problems associated with it are ignored and silenced. At 1:30 p.m., during the discussion on How has the attitude towards mental health changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?, we will talk about the problems which make Ukrainians go to therapists and about how the coronavirus affects the nervous system and brain activity.

On the same day at 3:30 p.m., the RIGHTS NOW! programme will continue with the discussion on The web of social media: What are the traps that children get caught in?. Digital security experts will talk about the real dangers for children on social media and dispel the myths about “death groups.” And experts from Docudays UA’s Nationwide Ukrainian Campaign Against Cyberbullying will present the results achieved in the two years of the campaign and share interactive tools that can be used to prevent online bullying.


2 April, 3:30 p.m. | Rehabilitation of the health of the victims of the armed conflict in the East and the annexation of Crimea: What does the government offer?


The armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea have affected the quality of life for many Ukrainians. However, in all the years of the war, the public mechanism for helping and rehabilitating the victims of the conflict and annexation has not been established in full. In this discussion, we will talk about the steps the government should take to improve the situation.

Health care in places of detention (such as pre-trial detention facilities and correctional facilities) is either not provided at all, or provided very selectively and not in full. In this discussion, we will talk about how ill people are treated at penal institutions and about the ways to reform prison health care.


4 April, 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. | Sexual health and the rights of mothers and fathers in maternity hospitals


The RIGHTS NOW! human rights programme will end with two discussions.


At 1:30 p.m. we will discuss popular sexual health stereotypes and talk about how sexual and reproductive rights affect our quality of life. Join the conversation on Sexual health: What do human rights have to do with it?.


And at 3:30 p.m. in the discussion on The rights of mothers and fathers in maternity hospitals: Expectations and reality, we will discuss why Ukrainians continue to experience trauma during childbirth. In particular, we will present our new human rights campaign For the Rights of Future Mothers and Fathers at Maternity Hospitals. The film Unseen will help us create a space for dialogue. The film’s protagonists have experiences of childbirth similar to the experiences of thousands of Ukrainian women who are often forced to keep silent about childbirth trauma due to pressure from the people around them or from medical staff. You will have a chance to watch Unseen during the 18th Docudays UA at Zhovten Cinema and in the DOCUSPACE online cinema.



The events of the RIGHTS NOW! human rights programme at the 18th Docudays UA are supported by the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine and the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation.

25 – 
April 2022