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Maria Tomak

Guest Speaker

    Professional affiliation

    Ukrainian human rights activist, journalist, researcher, co-founder of the Media Initiative for Human Rights

    Full Biography

    Having started from volunteering for the Euromaidan SOS initiative during Euromaidan, Maria moved on to actively participate in documenting human rights violations in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s seizure of Crimea and delivering information on them both in Ukrainian society and the international community. In the summer of 2014, Maria started dealing with the cases of Ukrainian citizens arrested by Russian Federation on political motives by Russia, and further was a coordinator of the LetMyPeopleGo campaign to free them, including by participating in the court hearing in Chechnya as one of the witness of the defence of Ukrainian prisoners Klykh and Karpiuk. Today, Maria focuses on cooperating with Ukrainian structures to advocate for the release of Ukrainian illegally held by Russia. She is a co-founderш of the NGO Media Initiative for Human Rights and conducts journalistic investigation human rights violations related to Russian aggression from both sides of the conflict. As well, Maria is a co-author several documentaries dedicated to the bloodiest days on Euromaidan and the war in Donbas. In 2017 she has received a national human rights prize for the personal contribution to the defending of human rights in Ukraine. She has significant experience in international advocacy at the level of international intergovernmental organizations and particular governments. In 2020 she has obtained the Master of Jurisprudence degree from the School of Law of Loyola University Chicago (Rule of Law for Development Program, located in John Felice Rome Center, Italy). In recent years Maria used to cooperate with USAID Human Rights in Action Program as an advocacy expert.