How has the human rights organization “Man and Law” been founded?

In 1998, two aspiring lawyers Irina Protasova and Sergey Poduzov began to work in the “Human rights center of the Republic of Mari El”, which was chaired by public and political figure Vyacheslav Paidoverov. Journalists, businessmen, deputies, heads of districts, law enforcement officers, and ordinary citizens applied to the human rights center for help and support.

The late 90s and early 2000s were full of rapid democratic transformations: openness, working social elevators, free elections. However, the country was dominated by arbitrariness on the part of those in power.

In 1999, young lawyers had an idea to create their own human rights organization, which will help army conscripts, prisoners and counteract the arbitrariness of law enforcement agencies, work with the European Court of Human Rights. At that time, the Russian Federation had just ratified the Convention, and the protection of human rights was an entirely new area of activity. Thus, the urban public organization "Man and Law" appeared. We protected citizens from arbitrariness of the authorities at the city level.

Unfortunately, in 2001 Vyacheslav Paidoverov died, and the human rights center gradually ceased to exist. There was only one human rights organization left in the Republic, and we didn’t want to finish our work on human rights protection, because people began to ask for help more and more often. In 2007, our organization grew to regional one, and in 2014 we reached the interregional level. Now “Man and Law” is the interregional non-governmental human rights organization which protects human rights in 42 regions of Russia.

The mission of our organization has remained unchanged since its foundation: for 20 years we have been fighting human rights violations in Russia and helping to form civil society in our country. Every year we improve the forms and methods of work for the implementation of our mission. We are civic optimists and believe in the rule of law.

3 000

Citizens whose rights we have defended in courts

42

Projects that we have implemented

1 016

Seminars for authorities in 40 regions of the Russian Federation

15

Educational programs we have developed

Main goal

Protection of each individual from not based on the law and arbitrary actions of the authorities (representatives of the authorities or persons with authority).

We protect

Professional lawyers of NGO “Man and Law” work in a Public reception and protect citizens’ rights. We provide individual protection to victims of human rights violations at the national and international levels. We render legal assistance not only to residents of Mari El Republic, but also to residents of other regions remotely.

We have precedent cases in Russian courts. If we fail to achieve the restoration of the violated rights in national courts, we submit documents to the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Committee for the protection of human rights. In the ECHR and the UN Committee, we make the state recognize the violation of human rights and bring the perpetrators to justice, so the victim could receive fair compensation.

Main areas of legal protection

Protection of human rights from illegal actions of the authorities

Police, prosecutor's office, court, bailiff service, medicine, education and other bodies of authorities.

Responsible person:
Vladimir Protasov

Protection of the rights of the child

Protection of the rights of the child in education, social and health systems. Legal assistance to children, who are in conflict with the law.

Responsible person:
Irina Protasova

Protection of the rights of persons in detention

Monitoring the observance of human rights in places of detention in Russia in order to prevent cases of ill-treatment and improve the standards of detention of prisoners.

Responsible person:
Olga Vasileva

Protection of the rights of civil society activists

Protection and legal assistance to activists who are persecuted by the current government for their public activities.

Responsible person:
Sergey Poduzov

We educate:

The main causes of human rights violations lie in the inconsistency of the law, economy and human factor, namely, illegal actions of the persons with authority. We have identified these reasons in the process of many years of work with the population. In a year our organization receives more than 100 complaints of citizens connected with illegal actions of officials. To reduce the level of violations, we have begun to develop educational human rights programs for the authorities. In these programs we pay great attention to practical tasks and psychological training of employees of power structures.

For 20 years we have been developing author's programs for employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service ( FSIN), the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), school teachers, employees of courts, prosecutors and other government agencies. We see in practice how our human rights programs increase the competence of officials and help to achieve meaningful changes in the government system.

Education of government officials is an effective mechanism for preventing human rights violations. However, since 2014, it has become more difficult for us to establish cooperation with the authorities, because “Man and Law” has received the status of an organization performing the functions of a “foreign agent”. According to the law on non-profit organizations, NGOs that receive funding from foreign funds and engage in political activities are included in this register. However, from the day of its foundation to the present day the organization “Man and Law” has never performed political activities. We cooperate with the authorities only in order to change the situation with respect for human rights in our country at the state level. After all, if you want to achieve qualitative changes – solve the problem systematically.

“Man and Law” does receive foreign funding, but each time from different sources. Why? In order to maintain the independence of the organization from any particular Fund. Before the changes in the legislation, our organization received grant support from the Russian government. You can read the public reports here.

Despite the increasing attacks on NGOs and activists, civic optimism lives and grows in us day by day. Now we are developing educational activities in the public environment. We hold public lectures, discussions, educational seminars for concerned citizens, where we invite government officials. We experiment with the form and presentation of the material: we organize intellectual picnics and invite theaters to our Republic with performances on human rights issues, discuss acute social issues. During our work, we have formed an database of educational materials on human rights , which will be useful to read both for representatives of the authorities and ordinary citizens.

We control

Public control is a constructive dialogue with the authorities, the most important tool of a human rights defender. The presence of informed and knowledgeable observers in places of potential abuse of power helps to change the situation for the better.

“Man and Law” has been exercising public control in Mari El Republic since 2004 and has extensive experience in the field of control of the systems of the Federal Penitentiary Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In 2018, we created the school of public controller in Mari El Republic, where we train caring citizens who are ready to change life in the Republic for the better. Recruitment to the school is announced annually from the beginning of October. You can take part in it by filling out an application.

Support the work of the human rights organization “Man and Law”

We have been working for 20 years, and all our activities are aimed at helping people. Forced entry into the list of organizations performing the functions of a “foreign agent” complicates our work greatly: information pressure, refusals to provide premises, litigations. But we don't give up because we know our work is important. “Man and Law” is a vigilant inspector over the abuse of power. If you share our values and want to help our organization protect human rights in Russia, then support us.

We have been working for 20 years, and all our activities are aimed at helping people. Forced entry into the list of organizations performing the functions of a “foreign agent” complicates our work greatly: information pressure, refusals to provide premises, litigations. But we don't give up because we know our work is important. “Man and Law” is a vigilant inspector over the abuse of power. If you share our values and want to help our organization protect human rights in Russia, then support us.

Team of the human rights organization “Man and Law”

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Irina Protasova

chairwoman of the organization, lawyer

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Sergey Poduzov

co-chairman of the organization, lawyer

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Olga Vasileva

project manager

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Ekaterina Romanova

accountant

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Vladimir Protasov

lawyer

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Yuliya Ozhiganova

press secretary and SMM

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Nikolai Gusakov

project psychologist

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Liubov Romanova

translator

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Anastasiya Arno

clinical psychologist

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Ravil Khairutdinov

technical officer