Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Feedback on the FRA conference in Paris Dec 8th-9th, 2008

On December 8th 2008, the French Ministry of Justice hosted the first FRA conference on Fundamental Rights called “Freedom of Expression, cornerstone of democracy – Listening and communicating in a diverse Europe”. I attended the first day, as a representative of both Dare and Humanity in Action – France, and would like to share the lessons I brought back from it.

The opening of the conference was representative of the whole day, in a surprising way. While officials and EU representatives talked about caution with regard to freedom of speech, journalists were shocked that others speakers would take that angle rather than that of defending freedom of speech as a fundamental right in Europe. Florence Aubenas, French journalist, reminded us all that while our Justice minister Rachida Dati had made a lovely speech about freedom of expression and its limits in France, it was in France, a week earlier, that the editor of one of the most famous papers had been brutally arrested and humiliated with no justification for the violence of the process (but which Dati officially approved of); it was in France that in the past week, a motion was passed to allow for the President to name and revoke the directors of public televisions; it was in France that in the past week 3 major newspapers had suffered from direct or indirect censorship. In Aubenas’s view, freedom of speech was to be defended, and not questioned as something suspicious and dangerous, as it seemed to be in the conference, and as it was increasingly seen in France.

It seems to me that we can learn from this. Aubenas’s point is definitely valid and important. It was supported by the majority in the room. But it revealed a complete gap between two approaches: protecting freedom of speech at all costs because it can never be taken for granted, and fighting xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance at all costs, because the protection of minorities can never be taken for granted.

It was clear in my mind that the idea of restricting freedom of speech had only to do with being cautious with regard to racist speech, hate speech, discourses encouraging to hatred and/or violence. I was attending to find better ways to do it, and to teach others about it. This restriction already exists in certain legal systems, and it seemed important to discuss it at a European level and make some room for dialogue on this matter, given that some governments consider that this approach only feeds the interests of fanatics, and reduces the scope of freedom of expression too much. But to others, it was quite clear that restricting freedom of speech had to do with corrupt governments, fanatics and censorship.

The difficulty is that after Aubenas’s speech, it was very difficult to get properly into the discussion from the angle I had understood the workshop I attended on diversity in the media. The topic on the negative representation of minorities (which definitely has been an issue in France in the past few years) didn’t really come up. We only discussed how to promote diversity in the media, which, while being interesting, is not as clearly linked to fundamental rights as protecting minorities from hateful and racist speech – or representations – is.

There was, however, the interesting initiative of asking workshop groups to come recommendations for governments and other actors; I mentioned the way the Vienna DARE conference had worked, and how it would be interesting for the FRA to use a similar model for future events – getting people from various fields interested in troubleshooting one specific and explicit issues in small groups, each bringing in their own experience (how to identify and react to racist speech in discourses defending gay rights for instance, or, in this case, it could have been how to promote diversity in the media without giving in to stereotypes, negative or positive) and then coming up with recommendations maybe. In this instance, the groups were very large, and the workshop titles so similar that it was quite difficult to grasp the differences between them in the first place, and therefore to choose the right one to go to.

While it was very fruitful and interesting for all of us, I am sure, to meet with people from such different fields, and on so many different levels of action (government, ngo, media, and so on), and while this is clearly a way to help all of us work together towards a better future, I came home with the feeling that we need to remember that the same words mean different things to people from different cultural, but also professional backgrounds. Maybe this has to do with providing a clear statement of purpose, or some clear goals. Maybe it has to do with smaller groups. Maybe it has to do with patience and listening, maybe it has to do with being more explicit and less allusive to avoid misunderstandings or confusions. I am not sure. Food for thought!

Happy New Year to you all, looking forward to more exchanges in 2009!

Tara Dickman – Humanity in Action

Friday, 19 December 2008

Lifelong learning: making Europe the world's leader in education

Press release European Parliament
Education - 18-12-2008 - 12:25

MEPs call on the Commission to support knowledge, creativity and innovation in order to make Europe the world's leader in education and training systems in a report on lifelong learning adopted by the EP. The House approved a report by Ljudmila NOVAK (EPP-ED, SL) with 551 votes in favour, 31 against and 11 abstentions to support a better implementation of the 'Education & Training 2010 work programme', which seeks to make Europe the world's main actor in education and training systems by 2010.

MEPs call on Member States to effectively implement lifelong learning strategies and tools to attain this goal.

The role of media literacy, foreign languages and values in lifelong learning

Media literacy and ICT knowledge, especially among teachers and elderly people, should be taken into account in the promotion of lifelong learning objectives, said the Members.

MEPs also agree that the knowledge of a second foreign language must be introduced as early as possible in children's education. The approved text also draws attention to the importance of including issues such as environment, human rights and European values in the different subjects.

Cooperation between higher education institutions and mobility

A stronger cooperation between European higher education institutions should be pursued, regarding matters such as the transference of qualifications. In addition, the text suggests that the mobility of students and teachers should be enhanced.

Integration of Roma people

MEPs stress the need of working on the inclusion of groups with special needs (like women, disable and elderly people) and integrating migrants and minorities, such as Roma people, in all levels of education. "Roma people should be assisted by trained staff which belong to the same minority or at least speak their native language", said the approved text.

Providing education to employees and supporting entrepreneurship

The motivation of workers to keep learning throughout their lives is also among the requests of the Parliament. Employers should provide their employees with education and training to achieve this objective.

Members also emphasise the importance of supporting entrepreneurship through lifelong learning programmes, for instance by informing citizens on how to set up small and medium sized firms.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Training on Social Charter Collective Complaints procedure (Strasbourg, 19-20 February 2009)

Call for applications for training on Social Charter Collective Complaints procedure, Strasbourg, 19-20 February 2009

The Council of Europe is calling for applications for the 2nd training session on the Revised Social Charter Collective Complaints procedure that will be held in Strasbourg on 19-20 February 2009 and organised by the Council of Europe Roma and Travellers Division and Department of the European Social Charter.

The training aims primarily at providing NGO participants/lawyers with practical information on how to lodge a complaint before the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) to defend Roma and Traveller communities’ social rights.

Information about the European Social Charter is available at
http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/socialcharter/default_en.asp.

The deadline for applications is 10 January 2009. The contact person is Eleni Tsetsekou (contact details below).

Contact person:
Eleni Tsetsekou
Migration and Roma Department
Council of Europe
F - 67075 Strasbourg cedex
Tel : +33388412433
Fax: +33 3 88 41 27 31
E-mail:
eleni.tsetsekou@coe.int

Final call for HREA e-learning courses February-April 2009

Dear DARE members,

Please be aware that the deadline for upcoming HREA e-learning courses (from February-April 2009) is Monday, 15 December. Of particular interest to DARE members may be a number of new courses that are relevant to HRE/EDC in Europe:

Human Rights of Migrants, Migrant Workers and Their Families (4 February-14 April 2009)
Monitoring Women's Rights (4 February-14 April 2009)
The European Union and Human Rights (2 February-12 April 2009).

To learn more about these course and to apply online, visit http://www.hrea.org/courses/.

Best wishes,

-Frank

International Migrant's Day

In 1997, Filipino and Asian migrant organisations began celebrating and promoting the 18th of December as the International Day of Solidarity with Migrants. This date was choosen because it was on 18 December 1990 that the United Nations adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrants Workers and Members of Their Families. In 2000 the UN General Assembly designated 18 December of each year as International Migrant's Day.

Learn more about International Migrant's Day.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Message from European Youth Press

Dear participants of the DARE conference on Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna,

some days have passed since we all met at the banks of the Danube in Vienna, but I hope you are all still eager to see the result of the media coverage by Orangelog.eu.

All texts, photographs and a video report are now online at http://www.orangelog.eu/en/topics/dare-conference/articles/. Enjoy reading and watching the reports and interviews and feel free to leave comments.

In case you or your organization would be interested in establishing some sort of cooperation with Orange or the European Youth Press (EYP), I have added a small introductory text about EYP.

Should you have any further questions or proposals of collaboration, don’t hesitate to contact Ms Anna Sulewska at a.sulewska@youthpress.org.

What is the European Youth Press?

The European Youth Press is an umbrella association of young journalists in Europe. It involves more than 48,000 journalists who are less than 30 years of age.

The European Youth Press' primary objective is to ensure strong cooperation among national youth media structures through group projects. Moreover, the Press' overall aim is to strengthen the role of youth media and promote freedom of press in Europe. More information is available at http://www.youthpress.org/.

What is Orange?

Orange is the international event magazine of the European Youth Press.

It can appear either in the form of a printed magazine which is distributed among the participants of the event, online at http://www.orangelog.eu/ or both in printed form and online.


Orangelog.eu aims to provide an interactive, multimedial platform for event coverage. This can include videos, pod casts, pictures and different kinds of texts.

It’s not important how international an event itself is, as long as there are interesting stories for a European audience. Orangelog.eu is an English-based platform.

With Orange the European Youth Press aims to enable young people to give voice to their opinion on a European level and provide a critical view of media and politics through journalistic education as well as learning by doing.

Yannick Brusselmans, team coordinator, yannick.brusselmans@gmail.com

Compass HRE Manual in Roma Language

DARE member EIP Slovenia - School for Peace (NGO) contributes to the celebration of the 60th anniversary of UDRH with the first partial (and unofficial) translation of the Council of Europe's HRE manual COMPASS in Roma language. Not only this is one of the first such attempts in Europe (and the first HRE manual for youth in Roma language in Slovenia), but it is also done only in e-version using the up-to-date application Flipage.
The publication is to be used by Roma youth HRE trainers and for peer teaching, and has links to relevant on-line COMPASS pages. It contains basic information on HR, three selected activities and a simplified version of UDHR.

Make a personal contribution to the HR day and click on http://www.flipage.net/eip to flip through the pages now! Create a link to it or fw it to people/organisations that could make use of it. Enjoy the Roma language and hope one day it will be treated as a language equal to all others.


contact :
Ms Alenka Elena Begant/President EIP
EIP Slovenia - School for Peace
Robiceva Str. 9
SI-2341 Limbus
Slovenia

solazamir@eip-ass.si
EIP Slovenia: www.eip-ass.si
Center for Citizenship Education: www.eip-cdv.si

.

Synchronised Action Days on EDC/HRE

With the Synchronised Action Days we reconnect our work from the grassroots level to the level of policy making. We show the initiatives and give an impression what work in EDC/ HRE is being done by our organisations and partners on local, regional and national and European level. Synchronised Action Days are a dissemination tool for our activities and they have a clear function to lobby for our work, by showing what is been done.


Žiūrėti DARE Network: Synchronised Action Days 2008 didesniame žemėlapyje

The Synchronised Action Days contain 53 Activities undertaken by our and our partner organisations in the period covered 20.11.2008 until 10.12.2008. These activities are collected, published with a link to your activity on DARE's Web and put in a brochure, which will be sent to all relevant stakeholders on national and European levels in order to give an impression what activities related to EDC/HRE happen in this period.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

FRA welcomes new EU Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) very much welcomes the Council's adoption, on 28th November 2008, of the Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia - exactly seven years after it had first been presented by the European Commission.

Since the original proposal in 2001, FRA, and its predecessor the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), have highlighted the pressing need for an EU-wide response to the problem of racist violence and related racist and xenophobic crimes. The Agency's Annual Reports on the situation regarding racism and xenophobia in the EU have consistently outlined the problem of unequal responses to racist and related crimes in the Member States, and have called for the adoption of the Framework Decision as an EU-wide legislative response to this social ill. Other Agency publications have also addressed the impact of racist and xenophobic crime on particularly vulnerable groups in society - such as the Roma and Jewish people. In addition, over a number of years the Agency has either directly organised or participated in various events that have called for the approximation of criminal law in this area; including, amongst others, a public hearing on the Framework Decision at the European Parliament and a seminar under the Austrian Presidency.

FRA sees the adoption of the Framework Decision as an important tool for the EU-wide condemnation of racist and xenophobic crime. At the same time, the Framework Decision can be considered as a first step towards possible recognition of a range of crimes that impact on other vulnerable social groups, such as the LGBT community and the disabled, which are not currently encompassed under the Framework Decision. To this end, FRA will continue to monitor the situation in the EU with respect to intolerance and crime on the grounds of racism and xenophobia, as well as on other grounds.

Read more on the Council's website:
http://www.ue2008.fr/PFUE/lang/en/accueil/PFUE-11_2008/PFUE-27.11.2008/resultats_JAI

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Call for partners

Project name: Let's Meet Our Partners from Neighbor Countries in Europe
Place: Azerbaijan
Date: 01-11 July 2009 years
PARTICIPANT PROFILE: 18-30 years

THEME: Our main theme is European citizenship and within that area we will
focus on cultural diversity, social inclusion, equal opportunities, human
rights and democracy for young people

Target group are youngsters 18-30 years old plus group leaders which should
be older than 25. Each country should send 4 participants plus 1 youth
leader (With gender balance).

No Participation Fee. Accommodation and food costs are covered by the
organization as well as the 70% of travel cost for each participant (while
30% of travel cost should be covered by participants by themselves).

PLEASE send us your FILLED, STAMPED and SIGNED partnership agreement (Part
III (Partnership Letter) and Part VI (For definite and calculate transport
expenses of partners) not later than 20th January 2009 of by fax and also
by post to fallowing address:

Please contact to:

PROJECT COODINATORS:

G. Melek Girginoglu and Fakhrinur Huseynli

E-mail:
niobe65_2@yahoo. com
The fax number for PART 3: +90236 2382223
Address: MANISA Il Milli Egitim Mudurlugu AB Birimi oficial
Manisa/Turkey

Monday, 1 December 2008

New DARE members

Six new organizations joined the DARE Network during the past eleven months of 2008. They were confirmed at the DARE General Assembly meeting, which took place on November 14 in Vienna.

The Active Citizenship Foundation – Hungary.
The overall goal of the Active Citizenship Foundation is to contribute to the development of the participative democracy in Hungary by promoting education for active citizenship and human rights, supporting children and young people in having a meaningful say in the world around them and enabling them to be more conscious, active and responsible citizens in Hungary and globally.


Children Today Centre- Albania
The Center "Children Today" is an Albanian non-for profit organisation which aims to bring lasting improvements in the lives of the Albanian children. Under this vision, the center is completely engaged to cooperate with local, regional and international child focused actors. The Centre is actively contributing for the realization of children’s rights, their education, health, physical and psychological well-being as well as their normal development:
http://www.femijetsot.org

European Social Forum of Cyprus- Cyprus ESFC is a NGO (Non Government 0rganisation) acting in a Pancyprian level of local NGOs.
It covers four thematic levels as YOUTH CIVILIZATION & EDUCATION, ENVIRONMENT AND AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT ,and Persons with Disabilities &Health problems(PWD)
Our main targets are the CO-ORDINATION of CYPRUS REPUBLIC) with the European Status , the European Citizenship through the promoting International and EU programs and networking: http://www.esfc.org

European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy- Austria

ETC Graz is engaged both in a theoretical and practical manner in questions of the enforcement of human rights and democracy, with emphasis on human rights and human rights education, the rule of law, good governance, South-Eastern Europe and Human Security.The work of the ETC is based on (research) projects, measures concerning education and publications. The interdisciplinary approach which is used by the ETC links all aspects of democracy and human rights on the levels of research and transfer of knowledge, skills and attitudes:
http://www.etc-gratz.at

Terra 1530 Moldova is a non-government oganisaiton which mission is to create and consolidate the capacities Sustainable Development of rural communities: http://terra1530.md

Cyprus Neuroscience and Technology Institute
The Cyprus Neuroscience & Technology Institute is a non-profit, non-Governmental, non-partisan independent Organization active in programs with future orientation in areas related to human brain-modern technology-social transformation and the repercussions of relevant research for humanity. It has the following operating units:
· The New Media in Learning Laboratory
· The Civil Society and Future Affairs Unit
· The Technology For Peace Unit
· The Youth Promoting Peace Unit
· The Alternative Media Initiative
· The Brain, Neuroscience & Special Education Unit
CNTI is currently in a phase of evolution and restructuring. Its various peripheral operations in other projects plus informal activities in both research and social intervention of some of its associates and friends are in a process of being merged into the larger operation. The enlarged organization is registered under the name FUTURE WORLDS CENTER. Its web address has been secured at: http://www.futureworldscenter.org/.

DARE to engage! What a Klimt exhibition and an intercultural conference have in common

Conference Feedback from Alexandra Jastrzebska,
Servei Civil International de Catalunya, Barcelona/Spain


A century ago, Vienna hosted Klimt’s work group exhibition, the Kunstschau. Along with the 2008 secessionist exhibition in the Viennese Belvedere, a conference organized by the DARE Network entitled “Intercultural Dialogue: Challenges for Education for Democratic Citizenship-EDC and Human Rights Education-HRE” took place from November 14-17 at the Hilton Danube. Formal (teachers, universitarians…) and non formal (youth workers, NGOs representatives and activists…) education practitioners gathered with European policy makers to reflect on the current possible improvements that are to bring to the field, exchange about good practices and create networking.

I found the call for this conference on the database of the Salto youth resource centre, and since the selection process began, I’ve received regular information about the preparation so that I felt aware and implied in the conference. During the conference, in the discussion groups and later on by meeting informally practitioners who have been involved in the field for a long time, I got the chance to confront my visions with experienced people. Some of them were representing higher institutions of Europe, giving to the expert instances, a human face. Council of Europe become more accessible to me, reinforcing my will to actively take part in building, diffusing and promoting European citizenship and the values most of us are sharing in our work.

Beside practical information on how to pursue the action, the final session was a speech of Bashy Quraishy about intercultural reality in the prospect of the education of minorities. Talking about his experience, observations and researches, the speaker shared a personal view; he quoted his father, a teacher, who used to say that education is a tonic which sustain the spirit, building our minds with knowledge to live the daily life according to the system of values we live for. This is why long learning is so important. I remember my father telling me that he would not lock me in my room to make me study: I have the tools, he is trying to pass me the values in which he believes and it’s up to me to concretise them- a way in sum, to empower me. I always thought therefore that I had the keys to choose and strive in order not to disappoint him. This process of responsabilisation made me trust that it is up to me. I’m still acting consequently.

In 1908, The Klimt’s group imposed an interdisciplinary approach in art, with a revolutionary combination of all means created for our expression and in a wide range of fields, as toys for children or theatre settings. He is now famous for the way of thinking he has set up, somehow contributing to think globally, with the belief that inclusion of small actions in subsystems can achieve a better general way of being. He may felt actualized at the moment he achieved that. He became famous for a way of thinking, almost a philosophy of living.
As the Klimt’s group originally innovated for the Gesamtkunstwerk- the total work of art, DARE reinforces the idea of GesamtSozialAktionWerk for practitioners in Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education, performing and implementing visions as well. Of course, we are also exposed to doubts, but this kind of conference helps us coping with reality, strengthening our hopes and gaining new inspirations to later deal with the various projects we are involved in.

This is how I would justify this event. Grateful thanks to the prep-team for having allowed me taking part in the great conference and I would like to share a thousand smiles with the participants, for the positive mood we shared and the great memories I keep of the weekend.