Mariana Savka: reading-performance “I Know, You Are Different”

On December 1, 2017, in the framework of communication campaign “Reinvent respect” on promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding in the community, famous writer and UNDP Tolerance Envoy Mariana Savka held a reading-performence, “I Know, You Are Different”, which took place in Odessa. During the event, Mariana Savka spoke about her own creative work, her publishing activity, the project “12 incredible women” and the importance of a proactive social position. The text of Mariana Savka "I Know, You Are Different" is her own attempt to communicate with those, who society characterizes as different. “These texts are of a universal value. Each of the stories is about the real person who is next to us. And I am not sure whether they can be called others. For others – we all, each of us, with its unique experience, challenges, victories and personal traumas. We do not live in the heavenly valley; it is not easy for us. So let's strive for good-neighborly relations, respect each other, and then our existence will beсome a little easier”, -said Savka. Especially for this project, a well-known artist from Riga, the master of the sand show Tetyana Gavrilenko created a video with her own sand animation. The United Nations Development Program project “Reinvent respect” aims to reduce the polarization of public opinion and strengthen dialogue among various social groups, promoting respect, tolerance and mutual understanding. ...

ICPS Press

On tolerance in the language of art, physics and botany

On November 16, on the occasion of the International Tolerance Day, a famous Ukrainian artist Alevtina Kakhidze held a lecture «On tolerance in the language of art, physics and botany», which took place in Slavyansk in the framework of communication campaign “Reinvent respect” with the support of UN Development Program in Ukraine. According to the UNDP Tolerance Envoy in Ukraine Alevtina Kakhidze, in her works through art, she tries to reveal the notion of mutual respect to each other. “In the animal world there is a concept of murder, there are also quite aggressive species in the plant world, but at the same time it is a very vivid metaphor that helps us to distinguish certain parallels both in political and social lives. It was through the botany that I spoke about the notion of tolerance in a society”, - said Kakhidze. During the lecture, the artist also drew attention to the laws of stable and unstable systems in modern physics, among which striking parallels with modern political conflicts can be found. There was also a joint work of the artist Alevtina Kakhidze with the participants of the 7th floor Theater. During the class, the children created scenery for the performance “Prince and Predator” by Mark Twain. The events are dedicated to the International Tolerance Day and are the part of the ICPS communication campaign on promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding in the community with the assistance of the UNDP in Ukraine, the Swedish Embassy and the Swiss Embassy in Ukraine.  ...

ICPS Press

The draft law on Donbas reintegration: pros and cons

On October 4, 2017, the text of the draft law “On the peculiarities of state policy on ensuring Ukraine’s state sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions” became available in an open access. The document (known as the draft law on Donbas reintegration) which was presented on the initiative of the President of Ukraine, aims to improve the legal regulation of the situation in eastern part of Ukraine, but does not provide a set of necessary actions for achieving this goal. “Pros and cons” of the draft law “Pros”: First, the draft law, if approved by the Verkhovna Rada, will be the first document, which at the legislative level recognizes the non-controlled areas in Eastern Ukraine as temporarily occupied territories, Russia is designated as an aggressor state with regard to the situation in Donbass, and pro-Russian militants are equated to the pro-Kremlin “puppets”. Second, the draft law on Donbas reintegration eliminates legal contradictions, in particular by allowing to abolish the ATO regime and transferring management in the front lines from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) to the Joint Operational Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Third, the draft law defines that state policy on ensuring Ukraine’s state sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories should be based on political and diplomatic means. “Cons” of the draft law: First, despite the defined objective, the draft law does not provide specific mechanisms for the restoration of state sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories. Second, the draft law does not take into account the human dimension, particularly the mechanisms for ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens residing in non-controlled areas, such as retirement benefits, social security, administrative services etc. Consequently, serious problems can arise for Ukrainian citizens residing on these territories. Third, the preamble of this draft law refers to the evidences of Russia's aggression in Eastern Ukraine (based on the UN General Assembly resolution “Definition of Aggression”, which is a non-binding document), but ignores the undeniable facts of Russia’s aggression in Crimea. The reference to the annexation of Crimea and the inclusion of the Crimean “components” could help Ukraine achieve international recognition of Russia as an aggressor state. Four, the draft law contains a "sliding" reference to the Minsk agreements (the state authorities of Ukraine “ensure the priority of implementing the security provisions” of the Minsk agreements). Consequence, the question arises whether there is a legal contradiction in this document: the Minsk agreements recognize particular areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as a conflicting party while this draft law designates Russia as a conflicting party. Generally, the main point in the Donbas reintegration draft law is that it rather resolves operational tasks, but does not contain effective mechanisms for achieving goals of the draft law themselves, in particular the liberation of DPR/LPR-controlled territories and the protection of the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of people, who have suffered from the armed conflict....

ICPS Press

Theresa May’s Florence Speech: the Key Changes in the UK’s position on Brexit?

Official Brussels and London return to negotiations on Brexit process amid a recent stalemate. Theresa May addressed the British press pack in Florence on Sep 22, 2017 in a bid to gain momentum in the Brexit talks. The city of Florence was chosen because of its location in the heart of Europe and known for its history of trade and finance. The Florence speech itself was seen as an attempt to kick-start the stalling talks  and was largely a symbolic gesture rather than an outline of policy, verbatim, given that May went to Florence in friendship rather than adversity. It was this thinking which could been illustrated through the tone, content and notions employed through the speech of British PM. In her speech, British PM Theresa May tried to set out a picture of a post-Brexit UK. Some key concessions had been ceded through this speech. May outlined her proposal for a transition plan, of which would be over two years (till March 2019), in order to succeed in key agreements, to support business and to offer a degree of stability of families between Britain and mainland Europe. However, a transition plan will also allow May and her government to formulate an implementation plan and their aims and objectives. The parallel talks, as supported by Brexit Secretary David Davis, which had been an area of disagreement between the UK and EU have been dumped in favour of a sequencing of talks – an agreement on dates, priorities and organisation. A major concession which came out of the Florence speech was the acceptance of any law the EU agrees to regarding the rights of EU citizens in the UK. EU citizens arriving into the UK after March 2019 will be subject to a registration system. May has rejected the ‘Canadian model’ for further relationship with the EU, which was previously mooted as a possibility, in favour of a ‘bespoke model’  - a model, which considers the cooperation of Britain with Europe. She has also rejected the idea of a post-Brexit Britain becoming tax-haven, akin to the Northern-Hemisphere/ Hong Kong. That said, David Davis has confirmed that the European Court of Justice will no longer have a mandate over the UK, instead a new system will be formed to deal with the intermediate differences between the UK and EU.  Furthering the notion of cooperation as carried by the rhetoric “Shared History, Shared Challenges, Shared Future”, May alluded to the possibility of a treaty being drafted which would concern deeper cooperation between Britain and her European counterparts in the field of security. She called for a bold, new security pact with the EU and post-Brexit UK considering the UK’s role in European security as vital as never before. In addition, Britain will pay into joint projects involving science and education, whilst also paying to accept the freedom of labour. The speech has been criticised for lacking substance, however, it could be argued that this speech maintained a sensible negotiating stance, leaving the EU space to advance upon its preconditions. Therefore, although the past week of Brexit negotiations was described by both sides as ‘warm and constructive’, still no sufficient progress has been made necessary to move to next phase of Brexit talks.     Iryna Ivashko, ICPS senior analyst, Cameron Gibson, ICPS visiting expert                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ...

ICPS Press