Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Publication for Download: Human Rights and History.

The publication "Human Rights and History.A Challenge for Education" focuses on the debates surrounding the historical development of human rights after 1945. The authors examine a number of specific human rights, including the prohibition of discrimination, freedom of opinion, the right to asylum and the prohibition of slavery and forced labor, to consider how different historical experiences and legal traditions shaped their formulation. Through the examples of Latin America and the former Soviet Union, they explore the connections between human rights movements and human rights education. Finally, they address current challenges in human rights education to elucidate the role of historical experience in education.

This publication of the German Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future was published in March 2010, and is available for download in German and English.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Letter from the Chair

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Spring has come! It brought the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, which was just adopted by the Human Rights Council on 24 March and is expected to be adopted by the UN General Assembly in December. With the Declaration we, educators and activists, have another international instrument that emphasises the importance of education about and for democracy, active citizenship and human rights. It commits governments to making more resources available and support NGO's like DARE and it members in their work.

With Spring also come new DARE activities. Next week the second DARE Spring Academy will take place in Sonnenberg (Germany). Thirty multipliers in youth work from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom will participate in "Human Rights CREATIVE". From 22-28 May DARE and the Educational Centre Kurt Löwenstein organise a GRUNDTVIG In-Service Training on the issue of Education Strategies against Right-Wing Extremism and Group- Focused Enmity in Europe.

We will keep you informed via e-DARE and the DARE website about other upcoming events organised by DARE and DARE members. But please, already mark your calendar: DARE's General Assembly will take place in Warsaw on 19 November.

Warmest wishes,

Frank Elbers

Friday, 25 March 2011

OPINION: Changing society without revolution

In times of revolutions in North Africa we can truly understand why the United Nations and Council of Europe encourage states to strengthen education in human rights and democratic citizenship. The schools are social arenas where values are being formed. In the long run, education in human rights will lead to positive developments. Norwegian authorities should strengthen such education in Norway, but also be more active on the international arena.

During the last decades there has been a lot of focus on the potential of human rights education in order to promote respect for human dignity, human rights and democracy. The World Programme for human rights education and the corresponding Plan of Action have been developed by the United Nations. A Declaration of Human Rights Education will, most probably, be adopted during the next session of the General Assembly. Council of Europe launched Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education last year. The Charter urges European states to strengthen such education in the school systems, but also in the society as such.

To teach human rights to young people is the best guarantee for the development of peaceful and democratic societies. The core values of human rights, namely human dignity, equality and the non-discrimination principle, encourage people to reflect, participate, be tolerant and respect others. The international human rights system has been built up step by step after the World War II. This system is far from being perfect, but still it has made a huge progress since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948. Legally binding human rights conventions have been adopted and following-up mechanisms have been established. More and more states support the system. The system in Europe with the European Convention of human rights and fundamental freedoms as its framework, is the most advanced regional system. It protects 800 million people in 47 member-states of the Council of Europe. In case a state is found guilty in the European Court of Human Rights, it is obliged to change its judicial praxis and harmonise its own legislation according to the Court’s judgement. The system works slowly but surely, in order to develop a common legal standard without any revolutions. This concrete impact of the international human rights, explains its growing support in the world community.

So, what is the situation in Norwegian schools? Do youngsters learn about the human rights values, their historical heritage, and the capabilities of the national and international protection mechanisms? Do they discuss human rights’ challenges and how the system can be improved? Does the way the teaching is carried out encourage participation and democratic understanding?

In spite of the existence of the international and Norwegian guidelines about human rights as a fundamental element in the educational system, one cannot say that enough has been done to bring it into reality. Even if important steps have been taken, as for example, the initiation of the new subject “Politics and human rights” in high schools in 2007, there is still a gap between political declarations and the reality. Surveys show that human rights education is present in schools, but the teaching is too often fragmented and sporadic. Much still depends on the engagement and will of the single teacher. There is also a lack of possibilities for teachers to take relevant education, and many lack both theoretical and methodological competence. The Human Rights Academy’s experiences confirm this. During the autumn 2010, we conducted human rights courses in three big cities in Norway: Oslo; Tromsø and Trondheim. Participants were teachers in civics at high school level, including those teaching “Politics and human rights”.

We found that around 75 per cent of teachers neither had formal education nor had attended courses in human rights. 40 per cent said that it is difficult to teach human rights, while 20 per cent were unsure or did not answer. On the other hand, all of them communicated that it is important indeed that pupils learn about human rights because “such knowledge creates positive attitudes and tolerance, combats discrimination, leads to active citizenship and democratic understanding”.

It seems to be a paradox that Norwegian educational authorities urge schools to teach human rights without ensuring that the teachers have sufficient knowledge. Is it expected that a teacher automatically is able to teach human rights if he or she has a degree in social sciences? Keeping in mind the ethical, philosophical, historical, political and judicial aspects of human rights, such an expectation would be a mistake. It is therefore due time for the authorities to make a more solid attempt to strengthen such learning in Norway. National actors, like The National Institution of Human Rights, should also join in. Creation of more courses in human rights, integration of the subject into teacher education and quality assurance of the school textbooks should be first priorities. The experiences of the non-governmental organisations working with human rights education should also be included as a resource. These organisations have often developed good teaching methods by working in the field, whether it has been in conflict areas, suppressive regimes or modern multicultural cities.

Norway should also give more attention to the cooperation on human rights education on an international level. The recent events in North Africa illustrate the necessity of good educational programmes, which provide people with awareness of democracy and human rights. Our experiences show that human rights education can be a good tool for cooperation with more undemocratic states. Human rights education’s preventive character and long-term perspective makes it uncontroversial.

Revolutions are sometimes difficult to avoid. Still, we have to do everything we can to change societies in a more gentle way. We support Confucius’s 2500 years old saying that education is a preferable way for spiritual refinement of people and for political reforms.


Evgenyia Khoroltseva and Lillian Hjorth
Menneskerettighetsakademiet/Human Rights Academy (Oslo)

Evgenia Khoroltseva
Project manager
Menneskerettighetsakademiet/
Human Rights Academy

Blindernveien 5, 0361 Oslo
Norway
tel: (+47) 22 59 40 56
fax: (+47) 22 59 40 51
mob: (+47) 9761705

PUBLICATION: Youth-related Risks and Dangers

The manual was produced in the framework of the third phase of Child Trafficking Response Programme (CTRP) in South East Europe, which is managed by Save the Children in Albania.

The main objective of “Youth-related Risks and Dangers” is to provide training guidelines incorporating the peer education method and suggest a variety of exercises covering nine issue-based themes for peer leaders to organise and conduct peer-to-peer sessions. It should also be seen as a tool to complement youth activities within a programme for prevention of some of the risks experienced by adolescents. The peer education method is presented as an effective and age-adapted way to provide information and guidance on issues that concern adolescents’ lives (ex. sexuality, substance use, violence, safe migration, etc) within an informal education setting, whose main driving force is the open dialogue between equals.

“Youth-related Risks and Dangers” was elaborated with the active participation and contribution of the young people who have been volunteers in the programme for more than three years. Thus, the authors ensured that the content of the manual is not only relevant, but also interesting and useful to the young people who will use it to organise and conduct peer-to-peer or information sessions. The manual could also be used by teachers and other school professionals who want to involve young people’s participation in academic and extracurricular activities. “Youth-related Risks and Dangers” is available in English and Bulgarian.

In the last phase of the CTRP, Partners Bulgaria Foundation focused its activities not only on direct work with children at risk and peer leaders, but also on building the capacity of professionals with child protection mandate. This component led to the elaboration of a 3-module training programme, including valuable training materials: “Child Rights, Trafficking and Safe Migration”, “Methodology for Identification of Children Potential Victims of Human Trafficking” and “Positive Approaches towards Primary Prevention of Child Abuse”.


Lora Lalova
Partners Bulgaria Foundation

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: 8th International Human Rights Forum Lucerne (IHRF) 'Human Rights and Migration' (Lucerne, 24-25 May 2011)

8th International Human Rights Forum Lucerne (IHRF) “Human Rights and Migration”

Registration: www.ihrf.ch

What are the global status and the chances and challenges of migration from a human rights perspective? Which direction would a future global migration policy pursue? What is the understanding of the terms “migrant”, “refugee” or “illegal immigrants” and what are the consequences of these concepts? Does the European migration policy enhance the implementation of human rights? How can educational systems and schools benefit from migration? How can they meet the needs of persons with a migration background?

The 8th International Human Rights Forum Lucerne (IHRF) “Human Rights and Migration” of the Centre of Human Rights Education (ZMRB), University of Teacher Education Central Switzerland Lucerne (PHZ Lucerne) will take place on May 24/25 2011 in the Swiss Museum for Transport, Lucerne.

Confirmed speakers (among others):

*Hans Ambuehl *Secretary General of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK)

*His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands* Chairman of the Board of The Hague Process on Refugees* *and Migration

*K. P. Fritzsche *Otto von Guericke-University Magdeburg

*Muhammad Ibrahim *University of Dhaka

*Aydan Iyigüngoer *Human Rights Education Coordinator, European Union Agency
for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

*Walter Kaelin *University of Berne

*Sabine Krueger **Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” (EVZ)*
**

*Ivan Levy *CEO of The Body Shop Switzerland

*Anja Mihr *University of Utrecht

*Tanya Norton *Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT)

*Annedore Prengel *University of Potsdam

*Jeffrey Sachs *Director of The Earth Institute, Columbia University,
Special Advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

*Adriano Silvestri *European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

*Connie de la Vega *University of San Francisco

*Natasha Walter *Founder of “Women for Refugee Women”

*Lene Wendland *Office of the UN-High Commissioner for Human Rights

*Jean Zermatten *Children’s Rights Institute Sion; Vice-President of UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

*Simone Zurbuchen *University of Fribourg

During the 8th IHRF 2011, French star pianist Hélène Grimaud and the Human Rights Orchestra will give a benefit concert for on May 24th 2011 in the Culture and Convention Center Lucerne (KKL). The aims of the IHRF Concert Classic are to enhance public awareness of human rights and support concrete human rights projects. The proceeds of the symphonic benefit concert will be donated to *Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). *

CHF 190.- (incl. Coffee Break) (Students: CHF 50.-); CHF 310.- (incl. Coffee Break and Official Dinner) (Students: CHF 170.-)


Registration: www.ihrf.ch

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Training Session on the UPR (Geneva, 30 September-6 October 2011)

CIFEDHOP will be holding, in Geneva, from September 30th to October 6th 2011, its 6th international training Session on the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for educational and civil society organisations. This meeting will gather social activists, teachers' trainers and researchers around the world.
Presentation, Program and Enrolment Form on line: http://www.cifedhop.org/En/Training/International/UPR/6th/6th.htm

CIFEDHOP

MATERIALS: Promoting Rights in Schools: providing quality public education resource pack

The Right to Education Project and ActionAid has launched the Promoting Rights in Schools: providing quality public education (PRS) resource pack. Aimed at actively engaging parents, children, teachers, unions, communities and local civil society organisations in collectively monitoring and improving the quality of public education, PRS offers a set of practical tools that can be used as a basis for mobilisation, advocacy and campaigning.

It is a charter of 10 rights and a participatory methodology for using this charter; it is a series of education- and rights-based indicators organised in a survey format to enable users to capture information in a systematic manner; finally it is a compilation of the key international human rights references.

Soft copies (PDF), in both English and French, are available at:

www.actionaid.org and www.right-to-education.org/node/1374

Regards,

Peter Hyll-Larsen
Right to Education Project Coordinator / www.right-to-education.org / ActionAid International
- "everyone has the right to education" (UDHR 1948)

PUBLICATION: 'Human Rights Education, Reflections on Theory and Practice'

Friends,

Human Rights Education, Reflections on Theory and Practice, Fionnuala Waldron and Brian Ruane (Editors)

This new book on human rights education has just been published by Liffey Press, Dublin. Edited by Fionnuala Waldron and Brian Ruane, of the Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education, St. Patrick's College, Dublin, the book includes contributions from prominent theorists in human rights and citizenship education, teacher educators, subject specialists and primary school teachers. The book is divided into three broad thematic sections. The first theme addresses the role of human rights teaching in citizenship education and in education for sustainable development. The second theme focuses on the rights of children in education and the concept of voice. The third theme locates human rights education in curriculum design and practice.

Contents

Fionnuala Waldron - Introduction
Hugh Starkey - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Education for Cosmopolitan Citizenship
James A Banks - Human Rights, Diversity and Citizenship Education
Peter Kirschlaeger - Human Rights Education for a Sustainable Future
Anita Prunty - Implementing Children's Rights: Considering the views of children in the Individual Education Plan (IEP)
Paula Murphy - Between celebration and crisis: The role of drama in human rights education
Susan Pike - Children's rights and local communities
Brian Ruane et al - Irish teachers' understandings of and dispositions towards human rights and human rights education
Colum Kenny - Human Rights and Journalism Education
Fintan McCutcheon - Initiatives as actions: A practice perspective on human rights and citizenship education

The book is available on www.amazon.com or enquiries can be made to Brian Ruane.

Best wishes,

Brian Ruane
Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education
St. Patrick's College
Drumcondra
Dublin
Brian.ruane@spd.dcu.ie

MATERIALS: Human Rights factsheets - Rights and freedoms in practice: teaching resources

These worksheets are a dynamic resource to help teachers foster an awareness of human rights among their pupils. The “theory” section describes, in simplified terms, the Convention and the way the European Court of Human Rights operates. It also explains what the Council of Europe does.

Nine activity sheets, each one focusing on a particular article of the Convention, are designed to get pupils thinking about the rights that must be guaranteed in a democratic society.

The “practical” section suggests various human-rights-related analysis, research and discussion exercises and activities. The various simplified “case studies” are designed to enable pupils to become familiar with legal issues and to understand how the Court operates. The teaching resources contained in this pack will enable young people, helped by their teachers, to be in a better position to acquire practical knowledge of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe.

Format : A4, 32 pages

Feel free to download the factsheets in English (PDF), in French or in German.
To request permission to reproduce the factsheets free of charge in a newsletter, blog, website or any other media, please send an email to publishing@coe.int

European Convention on Human Rights News on Facebook

Council of Europe Publishing
Palais de l'Europe, 67075 Strasbourg Cedex, France
E-mail : publishing@coe.int
Visit our site : http://book.coe.int

Thursday, 24 March 2011

MATERIALS: European pack for visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum - Guidelines for teachers and educators

Taking groups of students to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is a heavy responsibility, but it is a major contribution to citizenship if it fosters understanding of what Auschwitz stands for, particularly when the last survivors are at the end of their lives. It comes with certain risks, however. This pack is designed for teachers wishing to organise student visits to authentic places of remembrance, and for the guides, academics and others who work every day with young people at Auschwitz. There is nothing magical about visiting an authentic place of remembrance, and it calls for a carefully thought-out approach. To avoid the risk of inappropriate reactions or the failure to benefit from a large investment in travel and accommodation, considerable preparation and discussion is necessary before the visit and serious reflection afterwards. Teachers must prepare students for a form of learning they may never have met before. This pack offers insights into the complexities of human behaviour so that students can have a better understanding of what it means to be a citizen. How are they concerned by what happened at Auschwitz? Is the unprecedented process of exclusion that was practised in the Holocaust still going on in Europe today? In what sense is it different from present-day racism and anti-Semitism? The young people who visit Auschwitz in the next few years will be witnesses of the last witnesses, links in the chain of memory. Their generation will be the last to hear the survivors speaking on the spot. The Council of Europe, the Polish Ministry of Education and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum are jointly sponsoring this project aimed at preventing crimes against humanity through Holocaust remembrance teaching.

Author(s) : A.Bialecka, K.Oleksy, F.Regard and P.Trojanski (editors)
ISBN : 978-92-871-6794-1
Format : 16 x 24
No. of pages : 281
Price : 25 €/ 50 $
+ 10% postage

To place an order directly http://book.coe.int/sysmodules/RBS_page/admin/redirect.php?id=36&lang=EN&produit_aliasid=2582

Council of Europe Publishing
Palais de l'Europe, 67075 Strasbourg Cedex, France
E-mail : publishing@coe.int
Visit our site : http://book.coe.int
Tel. : +33 (0)3 88 41 25 81
Fax : +33 (0)3 88 41 39 10

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

EU FRA: First Comprehensive Guide to European Non-discrimination Law Launched


The first comprehensive guide to European non-discrimination law was launched by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg today, 21 March, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The Handbook on European Non-Discrimination Law, published jointly by the Fundamental Rights Agency and the European Court of Human Rights, is the first comprehensive guide to European non-discrimination law. It is based on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice. It covers: the context and background to European non-discrimination law (including the UN human rights treaties), discrimination categories and defences, the scope of the law (including who is protected) and the grounds protected, such as sex, disability, age, race and nationality.

The handbook is aimed at legal practitioners at national and European level, including judges, prosecutors, lawyers, law-enforcement officials, and others involved in giving legal advice, such as national human rights institutions, equality bodies and legal advice centres, to whom it will be distributed.

It can also be consulted on-line or downloaded (see http://www.fra.europa.eu/) and there is an accompanying CD-Rom dealing with the relevant legislation, specialist literature, case studies and case-law summaries.

It is already available in English, French and German. Versions in Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Romanian, Spanish, Greek and Polish will follow shortly and the material will eventually be available in almost all EU languages as well as Croatian.

DARE Training: Education Strategies against Right-Wing Extremism and Group- Focused Enmity in Europe, 22-28.05.2011, Werftpfuhl/Berlin


From 22-28 May 2011 DARE and the Educational Centre Kurt Löwenstein organise a GRUNDTVIG In-Service Training on the issue of Education Strategies against Right-Wing Extremism and Group- Focused Enmity in Europe.

This training course aims first at gathering information on the issue of Right Wing Extremism and Group-Focused Enmity in Europe, with a special regard to the political situation in each country. It further introduces current research findings in order to develop a common European perspective on the theme. Third the training aims at developing and exchanging educational strategies from the NGO level of the participants to combat Group Focussed Enmity and Right Wing Extremist Attitudes.

The methodology of the Training is based on diverse approaches: plenary sessions with expert inputs, working groups focussed on a sub-thematic level, site-specific visits to introduce good practice, method trainings and group reflection processes as well as informal educational activities to foster intercultural learning and individual matchmaking processes.

Target Audience/Participants: Educational staff, trainers, educational guides, staff in adult education

When? 22 - 28.05.2011
Where? Educational Center Kurt Löwenstein, Werftpfuhl/Berlin (Germany)

DEADLINE for registration: 15/4/2011


Contact person:

Tim Scholz

Educational officer
Education Centre Kurt Loewenstein (a member of AdB)
Freienwalder Alle 8-10
16356 Werftpfuhl
Tel: +49-(0)33398-899918
Fax:+49-(0)33398-899913
t.scholz@kurt-loewenstein.de
http://www.kurt-loewenstein.de/

EU: Results of the Action plan on adult learning discussed in Budapest


Experts from the world of adult education discussed the results of the recently completed EU Adult Learning Action Plan at a conference in Budapest, 7-9 March. The DARE network was invited by the European Comission to give an input on Active Citizenship and social cohesion for a future EU program in adult learning. Georg Pirker quoted the recent results from ICCS and CRELL studies and argued for advanced reseach and reporting instruments in regard to Citizenship Education in any future European program on adult learning. Further he underlined the importance of an overaching strategy and commitment for citizenship education in adult learning as a core filed of lifelong learning in Europe, which is not subordinated to solely economic goals. Citizenship education should be at the core of education and trainig strategies therefore the European Commission should link up with the existing frames set out by the Council of Europe in its European Charter for Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education as well as on the UN Draft Declaration for Human Rights Edcuation and Training. In regard to the EU 2020 strategy citizenship education should be more emphasized as a key for creating the fundament for inclusive growth.

"Generally the conference underlined the need for adult learning, more than ever before, to contribute to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe, as part of its economic recovery, and in response to its ageing, multicultural and constantly changing societies. Participants agreed that future priorities should concentrate on enabling adults cope with change and transitions in their lives and jobs. One of the main issues highlighted was how to achieve efficient expansion of the sector at a time of economic austerity.

"This is a conference which is the result of three years of very hard work on a topic that is striking for its importance," the European Commission's Deputy Director-General for Education and Culture, Xavier Prats Monné told the more than 250 participants from over 35 countries, who attended the conference along with partners from the United Nations, the Council of Europe, OECD and EU Institutions.

The purpose of the conference - accompanied by the publication of a Commission paper summarising the outcomes of the EU's action plan on adult learning - was to take stock of results achieved over the past three years of European co-operation in the field of adult learning and to use lessons and experiences learned to formulate better and more effective strategies for the future.

Despite progress, reforms, innovations in many countries and regions, the hard fact remains that the population of adult non-learners is 50 million more than it was 10 years ago. Achieving key competences, including adequate literacy, numeracy and digital skills, is still a problem among a third of the workforce.

Adult learning experts and civil society organisations joined with social partners and representatives from public authorities across Europe in underlining the central importance of adult learning in tackling the Union's skills deficits and building a cohesive and pluralist society. As keynote speaker Ms Maria João Rodrigues, Special Advisor to the EU Presidencies and to the European Commission, put it, "Adult learning is a central task for the 21st century - vital to enabling people to make the most of their lives and jobs and therefore an essential element in the Union's EU2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth."
Participants at the conference acknowledged the success of the Adult learning Action Plan (2008-2010) in promoting the adult learning agenda in all EU countries. They gave evidence of the value of having a common reference with agreed milestones and intensive debate as an instrument for supporting policy-making and a European forum for promoting exchange of innovative ideas in the field.

The conference has given a strong impetus to the Commission's work in the field of adult learning. The orientations developed at the conference will help shape a new Adult Learning Action Plan to be launched later this year in the framework of the Education and Training 2020 strategy to support the development of a strong and responsive adult learning sector in Europe."

(qouted text used partially from EU conference press release).

Click here for more information abouth the conference.

A Europe of Active Citizens - Active Citizenship Foundation and DARE launch conference report

We are happy to announce that the Europe of Active Citizens conference summary report is ready. The report can be reached through the following link:

http://dare-network.eu/downloads/budapest_documentation/A_Europe_of_Active_Citizens_conference_Summary_Report.pdf


We hope that the report will be useful in your future work and lobbying activities.

Furthermore, we would like to remind you, that the informal meeting of EU ministers of education will take place on the next week, on 28 and 29th March, with the theme of education for active citizenship. (See: http://www.eu2011.hu/event/informal-meeting-ministers-responsible-education). We will disseminate the conference report in this meeting. If there will be any public information available about the meeting outcomes, we will let you know. This event anyway will provide a good cause to all of us to follow-up with the decision-makers regarding this issue at the national as well as the EU level, so we would encourage ourselves to do so.

Hammarberg: Effective national agencies are needed to prevent discrimination

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg Strasbourg, 21/03/11 – “Discrimination is a major problem in Europe today. Eradicating it would make our continent a much better place to live. National structures for promoting equality are key actors in this endeavour. They should be supported by political leaders,” said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, in releasing an Opinion on such institutions.

“These structures contribute to effectively protecting people against discrimination both in the job market and in the public sphere. They also promote a culture of rights within society and concretely address issues of discrimination and inequality.”

The Commissioner’s Opinion builds on a broad range of international instruments that establish rights in relation to non-discrimination, require member states to set up national structures for promoting equality and set standards for these bodies.

Through an analysis of the legislative framework and practice in member states, as well as specific recommendations, this Opinion aims to assist member states in enacting equal treatment legislation, establishing independent and effective equality bodies and enabling these structures to discharge their functions in an independent and effective way.

“Political leaders must support these bodies and promote their establishment were they do not exist. This is all the more necessary in times of economic crisis: State responses to the crisis should in no way slacken efforts to eradicate discrimination.”


Saturday, 19 March 2011

21 March - International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination


21 March 2011 -- On this day in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people peacefully demonstrating against apartheid "pass laws" in the township of Sharpeville, South Africa. The notorious passbooks were a repressive tool to control the movements of black South Africans. The United Nations General Assembly subsequently declared 21 March to be the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and called on the international community not only to commemorate that tragedy, but also to work together to combat racism and discrimination wherever they exist.

Racial and ethnic discrimination occur on a daily basis, hindering progress for millions of people around the world. Racism and intolerance can take various forms − from denying individuals the basic principles of equality to fuelling ethnic hatred that may lead to genocide − all of which can destroy lives and fracture communities.

Further information and learning materials >>

Thursday, 17 March 2011

COE: Inter-institutional Meeting Launches a Contact Group on Citizenship and Human Rights Education


On 14 March 2011, the Council of Europe invited representatives of international institutions and civil society organisations to discuss strategies to assist member States with the national implementation of regional and international texts on citizenship and human rights education. This fifth inter-institutional meeting launched an Inter-institutional Contact Group on Citizenship and Human Rights Education. The main objective of the contact group is to ensure systematic and sustainable coordination of inter-governmental initiatives in this field.


The contact group – which currently includes the OHCHR, UNESCO, OSCE/ODIHR, European Commission, EU FRA and the Council of Europe - agreed on a number of concrete initiatives, including 1) the mapping of relevant programmes, 2) development of a joint calendar of international events, and 3) a joint publication on key international texts. International civil society organisations – such as Human Rights Education Associates, DARE- Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe, European Union of Students, and International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement - will provide feedback and advice to the institutions through regular meetings and on-line platform.

Working documents:

List of participants
* Agenda





Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Call for European Web 2.0 Projects: Deadline March 20

The NECE - Networking European Citizenship Education - initiative promoted by the German Federal Agency for Civic Education is starting a European-wide call for good practice projects in the field of Web 2.0 to be presented at the NECE Workshop in Brno (Czech Republic). Detailed information concerning the background, aims and entry conditions you may find at the NECE Website www.nece.eu

Submission deadline is 20 March 2011.
Participation is on invitation only.

The workshop takes place from 7-9 April 2011 in Brno (Czech Republic) and is organised by the Federal Agency for Civic Education and the Czech Center of Civic Education at the University Brno, supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the ERSTE Foundation.

Contact (on behalf of the German Federal Agency for Civic Education)
Anita Baschant
lab concepts - Laboratory for Conception and Realisation for Politics, Education and Culture GmbH
E-Mail: baschant@lab-concepts.de
Web: www.lab-concepts.de

Monday, 7 March 2011

8 March 2011 – International Women's Day

Council of Europe: A decade to end inequality

Strasbourg, 07.03.2011 - “We must use the second decade of the 21st century to make equality between men and women a reality,” said Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland of the Council of Europe. “Equality in professional and political life is essential to equality and respect in the private sphere.” Highlighting three key areas of concern, the Secretary General stressed the need for equal pay for work of equal value; for increased political participation of women; and for ending once and for all violence against women.

“Every effort must be made to ensure equal remuneration. Difference in pay between men and women for work of equal value cannot be justified. The basic fabric of our societies is supported by professional activity. Inequality is unjust and something we can no longer accept,” Jagland said.

A Council of Europe study shows that between 2005 and 2008 the percentage of elected women in single or lower houses in Europe rose from 21.8 % to only 23.7 %. “Given the importance of political life in defining the priorities and direction of our societies, we need to hear the voices and opinions of women. Women must have an equal presence in politics,” the Secretary General insisted.

Jagland also called governments to give their full backing to the Council of Europe's future Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. This will be the first legally binding text which establishes the principle that violence against women and domestic violence constitutes a violation of human rights and that it should not be regarded as a private matter. The Convention, which should soon be opened for signature, provides governments with the tools to combat violence through a combination of prevention, protection, prosecution and integrated policies.

Council of Europe Directorate of Communication
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11


Learn more about the
100th anniversary of International Women's Day, 8 March 2011

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Integrating immigrants: New Study ranks countries in Europe, including on citizenship and political participation, anti-discrimination

28 February 2011 -- A new study published today by the British Council and the Migration Policy Group shows that great disparities exist in how Europe is integrating its 20 million immigrants legally residing in the region.

The Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX: www.mipex.eu) contrasts and compares integration policies across 31 countries in Europe and North America. Results show that while change is happening at a very slow pace, there are still many obstacles to how immigrants live, work and participate in our societies.

The study benchmarks whether governments grant equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities for all residents – international standards that have been agreed upon by EU Member States.2 These high standards are critical as successful integration helps create more competitive and cohesive societies.3 The major findings in this study include:

Political Participation / Citizenship

* Generally, migrants are still discouraged from becoming politically active or gaining full citizenship, although the trend in reforming countries is to open voting rights, dual nationality and birthright citizenship (e.g. Portugal, Greece, Luxembourg).

Education

* Policies are generally failing to address the needs of a new generation of diverse students with few schools required to help teachers, migrant students, and parents address migrants’ specific needs. However there are several countries that are leading in this area (e.g. the Nordic countries, USA and Canada).

Labour Mobility

* Most countries guarantee equal and secure rights to work for reunited families and long-term residents. However they are asked to fulfil more requirements that many nationals could not (income, age limits, tests without support to pass).
* Nearly all countries guarantee legal migrants equal working conditions and access to unions once they begin working. But nearly half exclude migrant workers, who pay full taxes, from parts of the social security system.

Anti-discrimination

* Anti-discrimination laws are being strengthened in many countries (e.g. Sweden and the UK) although very few have strong policies and bodies to promote equality in society.

Overall, countries tend to score around 50 on the MIPEX 100-point scale and since the second edition of MIPEX have only increased 1 point on average. Most countries are creating as many opportunities as obstacles for immigrants to become equal members of society.

“With the third phase of MIPEX research we aim to provide reliable information to governments, civic institutions and the wider public to compare migrant integration policies across countries and over time. This will encourage more informed discussion on best practice and enable better future policies “
Rosemary Hilhorst OBE, Regional Director EU Europe, British Council

“Over the years the MIPEX continues to be a valuable tool for mapping and assessing existing integration policies in the European Union. I am pleased to support this initiative […] it is worthwhile to note that many Member States generally perform better in terms of migrant integration policies in those areas where Union law exists.”
Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs

For further information on the study or to interview Rosemary Hilhorst, Regional Director EU Europe, British Council please contact David Sorrentino on +32 (0) 2 554 0465. For more about MIPEX and to use the online tool: www.mipex.eu