In this week’s #Forum2000online Chat, Inna Pidluska, Deputy Executive Director at the International Renaissance Foundation (IRF), Ukraine, joined Arzu Geybulla, a journalist and member of the Forum 2000 Program Council, to talk about civil society in Ukraine and the post-war future. In the interview, Inna Pidluska explains that "Ukraine is fighting the existential war for its right to be, for its right to exist as an independent European democratic nation which has the human rights values and human dignity at its core, which has the European integration ambition, which is now becoming a reality. And the civil society is really part of this process". What is the role of civil society in wartime? What are the current and post-war challenges? Is there hope for a successful reconstruction of Ukraine?
According to Inna Pidluska, you will learn that:
- There is a lot of work that civil society is already doing and it is to respond to immediate needs. Communities are working to provide people with shelter, opportunities and support, helping them to recover from trauma and also to think about how to plan their lives. The civil society organizations are heavily involved in providing emergency assistance.
- At the same time, civil society organizations are moving from emergency response to long- or medium-term ideas and solutions. Ukrainians are already thinking about the future reconstruction of Ukraine in the post-war period.
- The international and national support and solidarity with Ukraine have been immense. That is moral and practical support: money, food, equipment. Ukrainian civil society and volunteers make sure that this aid reaches people in need in the most effective way.
- One of Ukraine's challenges is to repair the enormous damage caused by the Russians to cities, infrastructure, the economy and the educational system. Thousands of schools are now affected and unable to operate. Hundreds of them have been destroyed. Many school-age children had to leave their homes. There is also great damage done to the health system. The Russians have been deliberately targeting schools and hospitals. This is a war crime and civil society organizations are helping people cope with this trauma.
- There is a lot of work being done by civil society to document war crimes and crimes against humanity and to make sure that the perpetrators at the highest level, not just the immediate perpetrators who have been killing, raping and maiming Ukrainians in the temporarily occupied territories, be brought to justice.
- Civil society has a very important role to play in making sure that reconstruction is people-centred and accountable to citizens at all levels. The main goal is to rebuild a vibrant Europe and successful Ukraine.
The interview was recorded on May 13, 2022, and moderated by Arzu Geybulla, a journalist and member of the Forum 2000 Program Council.