By her specialty Elena Khmelyova is an educational psychologist. For 20 years she has been working at the College of Secondary Vocational Education teaching social studies students. She believes that the main task of the teacher is to demonstrate the exercise of rights in real life. “In my free time, I try to do what can help me better understand how legislation is applied in practice. I try different areas of activity: this is the chairmanship of a homeowners’ association, work as a specialist in governmental bodies and legal activity in a company. I have been working in the district election committee of Verkhnyaya Pyshma of the Sverdlovsk region since 2005, and now I am its chairman”, Elena says. She believes that “working as a college teacher and an employee of the territorial election commission helps to identify a number of problems in human rights protection in Russia, including in the development of legal literacy and culture of citizens and in legal education of young people”. “I have many times been convinced that education in the area of human rights should start from a very young age”, Elena said.
Elena is currently studying in the Humanitarian University of Yekaterinburg in the Master’s Program in Human Rights implemented by the Consortium of Nine Universities of Russia with the support of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
According to Svetlana Glushkova, head of the Master’s program at the Humanities University, “Elena Khmelyova is a self-motivated, proactive and talented student”. Elena is confident that “human rights are a fundamental value of the global civilization, which develops thanks to the standards and activities of the UN and the efforts of many states of the world, primarily Russia”.
This year Elena took part in the All-Russian students’ research competition “Russia and the UN: 75 Years of Partnership”, organized by the Office of the Ombudsman in cooperation with the UN OHCHR and the Consortium of Russian universities. She became one of three winners of a competition in which participants were invited to write an essay on any topic related to the UN-Russia partnership and human rights issues. The jury of the competition received more than 120 works, the authors of which were students from different regions of Russia of various specializations – from pedagogics to international law.
The works submitted to the competition touched upon a variety of issues of cooperation between Russia and the UN, highlighted problems of migration, inequality, poverty, discrimination and violations of social, economic and political rights, including the right to education. Some students emphasized the responsibility of states in the implementation of human rights and analyzed the state's response to individual challenges. Works were also devoted to the problems of artificial intelligence, new technologies and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The three winners of the competition were announced during the Day of the UN within the Virtual Roundtable organized by the UN Information Centre.
“During the preparation of the competition work, I studied in detail the progress and difficulties in achieving sustainable development goals in Russia in general, and in our region in particular. In many respects, when preparing the competitive work, knowledge, skills and abilities that I received studying in our master’s program in human rights, were of great help”, Elena shared her experience.
Elena devoted her essay to the rights of vocational graduates, as she believes that in order to realize the rights of citizens, every young person needs to understand the importance of involvement. “I think the future belongs to the youth”, says Elena. Speaking of her plans for the future, Elena says: “my plans for human rights are connected, on the one hand, with the strengthening of the human rights component in my work as a college teacher and an employee of the election commission, and on the other hand, with admission for a postgraduate study and the preparation of research articles and a dissertation related to the protection of human rights”.