From July 2020 Karolin Kruuse (Project Coordinator), Erika Tšerkašina (Advocacy Coordinator) and Yuri Yoursky (Advocacy Advisor) joined EHPV to implement the project “Protection through Mobility: An Emergency Response to Hostility”. The project aims to create protection mechanisms and ensure access to healthcare services according to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health for MSM and trans people, including those HIV+, who experienced SOGI-based state-sponsored prosecutions in the Caucasus region of Russia, as well as Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The aim is to be achieved by unveiling and spreading information on lawful migration channels from a beneficiary’s country of residence (Russia, Turkmenistan, or Uzbekistan) to Estonia by advocating for granting entry visas to Estonia on humanitarian grounds. Respective cases of human rights violations would be documented upon arrival and applied in advocacy for improving legal and factual environments in respective countries by submitting alternative reports to UN treaty bodies. Access to HIV and other healthcare services for displaced MSM and trans people would be improved by creating a clear and state-approved procedure for gaining access to antiretroviral therapy in Estonia for newly arrived MSM and trans people.
Karolin’s professional interest is primarily the topic of refugees. In the summer of 2019, she graduated Tal Tech master’s degree in International Relations and European-Asian Studies Cum Laude, where her master’s thesis studied the possibility of granting legal refugee status to persons forcibly displaced by climate change under the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. She has worked with immigrants and refugees in Estonia at the Harku Detention Center as a recreation specialist, in the media team at the Yaffa cultural centre in Balata Refugee Camp in Palestine, as a training coordinator at the NGO Johannes Mihkelson Center in the project „Meie Eesti: inimesed, kohad, helid, maitsed“ and at the moment she works as a project coordinator in NGO Tartu International House project „Uued lapsed koolis: uussisserändajatega seotud väljakutsed Eesti koolides ja kohanemise toetamine“. In the framework of the “Protection through Mobility” project, Karolin aims to focus not only on supporting the integration process of immigrants in Estonia but to focus on the legal bases and procedures for granting refugee status in Estonia and to stand up for the equal rights and fair treatment for everyone.
Erika is an experienced human rights professional currently engaged in human rights monitoring and analysis in diverse environments; from conflict-affected zones to countries lacking an anti-discrimination legislation, focusing on gender- and SOGI-based discrimination. She has worked with LGBTQ community mobilisation and contributed to local and international advocacy over the course of over 3 years. Erika holds an MSc degree In Global Development from the University of Copenhagen and regularly engages in research of migration and gender issues in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
As advocacy advisor in human rights field with a considerable background both in academics and in the field. Yuri is an expert on meaningful engagement with UN Human Rights Bodies, certified trainer on combatting SOGI-based stigma and discrimination. He holds Master’s in International Relations and European Asian Studies. Since 2017 occupies the position of Human Rights and Legal Issues Coordinator at ECOM – Eurasian Coalition on Heath, Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversity, where he closely works with communities of gay men in Russia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.1