How did it all start?
The Open Dialogue Foundation was established on the initiative of Lyudmyla Kozlovska (currently the President of the Foundation) in Poland in 2009. The Foundation was set up on the basis of experiences gained and contacts developed during the period of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 and thereafter, through international activities and cooperation with Ukrainian student organisations and citizens’ movements.
What do we do?
Apart from our observation and analytical activities, the Foundation operates proactively in cooperation with MPs engaged in foreign affairs, protection of human rights and relations with CIS countries with a view to supporting democratisation processes and liberalisation of internal policy in the post-Soviet area. Another important area of the Foundation’s activities is coordinating assistance programmes for prisoners and political refugees.
The Foundation devotes special attention to the largest countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States: Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
How is our activity financed?
The Foundation’s activity is financed through donations and grants from individuals, companies and institutions, both in Poland and abroad. It has so far received material and financial support from the City of Lublin, the International Visegrad Fund, the Foundation for Democracy in Russia, the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe, the Goethe Institute, the Theatre Institute, the Polish Ministry of Culture, Gazeta Wyborcza and members of the Euorpean Parliament amongst others.
Financial statements and factual reports produced on the Foundations’ activity are submitted to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and are accessible via the Foundation’s website.
How are we organised?
The Foundation’s statutory bodies are the Board and the Council. The position of the President of the Foundation is currently held by Lyudmyla Kozlovska. Bartosz Kramek acts as the Head of the Council.
The Foundation comprises a handful of different organisational units, examples of these are, an administration office, a press office, a political team, an analytical team, a fundraising team and an Internet services editorial office.
Where is the Foundation based?
The Foundation‘s head office is in Warsaw. It also has offices in Kyiv and Brussels and permanent representatives in Prague and Paris.
What are your main activities?
- Monitoring the court cases of victimised individuals and political refugees
- Sending delegations of observers to participate in trials
- Provision of legal services to the persecuted
- Preparation of reports and analyses related to the levels of respect for human rights
- Informing the media and other organisations engaged in protection of human rights
- Encouraging the international community to exert pressure on governments and international organisations with a view to defending fundamental values
- Organisation of election observation missions
- Meeting with opinion leaders and political decision-makers
- Preparation of draft legislative changes
- Organisation of conferences, public debates, as well as training workshops seminars and street performances
- Provision of humanitarian assistance in crisis situations
How can I help?
Is our activity effective?
The actual impact of our activity is illustrated by the fate of the most famous political prisoners in Kazakhstan. Thanks to the advocacy of the Foundation, on March 15, 2012, the European Parliament adopted a resolution regarding Kazakhstan, which concerned improvements in the situation regarding human rights protection. On the same day, the Kazakh authorities released the editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper ‘Vzglyad’, Igor Vinyavskiy. Soon after, he was joined by a director – Bolat Atabayev, a youth activist – Zhanbolat Mamay and the lawyer who represented the protesting workers in the town of Zhanaozen – Natalia Sokolova.
Murtabek Ketebayev, an opposition politician and social activist in Kazakhstan, at risk of extradition for political reasons, was granted refugee status in Poland on December 16, 2013. Our efforts have also contributed to the release and blocking of the extradition of Tatiana Paraskevich, an associate of the Kazakh dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov in the Czech Republic in March, 2014.
Around March 15, 2014, following our sustained efforts, the leader of the democratic opposition, Vladimir Kozlov, sentenced to 7 years and 6 months‘ imprisonment for antistate activities, was transferred from a strict penal colony in Petropavlovsk to an open prison in the vicinity of his hometown, Almaty.
In the first quarter of 2014, the Foundation transferred 500 000 PLN worth of humanitarian aid to Ukraine (in connection with the relief effort to the Ukrainian society). We also helped refugees from Crimea, occupied by the Russian Federation, to start a new life in the Lviv Oblast and in Poland. Bulletproof vests which we sent to Ukraine saved the lives of activists and journalists engaged in street combat in Kyiv and those exposed to the Russian hit squads in Crimea and in the eastern regions of Ukraine.
On numerous occasions the very presence of international observers, who participated in trials as part of the missions organised by the Foundation in non-democratic countries, had a positive influence on the rulings issued by courts in political cases.