Friday, 28 June 2013

Conference Report: Right-wing Extremism and Hate Crime: Minorities under Pressure in Europe and Beyond

The Oslo Conference on Right-wing Extremism and Hate Crime: Minorities under Pressure in Europe and Beyond was held on May 14-15 2013 under the auspices of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Against a background of rising concern about xenophobic trends, exclusivist ideologies, and crimes committed against minorities, the Conference brought together experts and stakeholders of various backgrounds in order to discuss and formulate recommendations on counter-strategies.

Download Conference Report


Source European Wergeland Centre

Pilot Project Scheme on “Human Rights and Democracy in Action”

In November 2012, a Conference on “Human Rights and Democracy in Action” was organised in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the European Commission and the European Wergeland Centre. 

A report on the implementation of the Council of Europe’s Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education, adopted by the 47 member states in 2010, was presented and discussed during this conference. Consequently, both institutions have agreed to set up a Pilot Project Scheme on “Human Rights and Democracy in Action”.

This programme which intends to contribute to the development of sustainable mechanisms of promotion of citizenship and human rights education is based on pilot projects involving at least two and up to five states party to the European Cultural Convention, including at least one member state to the European Union. 

The goal of the pilot projects is to document all existing forms of promotion of citizenship and human rights education in the participating countries. EWC's Executive Director is a member of the project's Advisory Board.

More information in the concept paper on the Pilot Project Scheme on “Human Rights and Democracy in Action” 
Source: European Wergeland Centre

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Creating Citizenship Communities - project report and free teaching materials

The final report and free learning resources are now available on the website of the project Creating Citizenship Communities (University of York). You can download these resources here ...

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

New Handbook on ECHR and EU Law on Asylum, Borders, and Immigration

As the ECHR BLOG posted today, a cooperative project between the European Court of Human Rights and the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union has resulted in a Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration. Extracts from the Court's press release read:
Today’s handbook is the first comprehensive guide to European law in the areas of asylum, borders and immigration, taking into account both the case-law of the ECtHR and that of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). It also contains the relevant EU Regulations and Directives, as well as references to the European Social Charter (ESC) and other Council of Europe instruments.

The handbook focuses on law covering the situation of third-country nationals in Europe and covers a broad range of topics, including access to asylum procedures, procedural safeguards and legal support in asylum and return cases, detention and restrictions to freedom of movement, forced returns, and economic and social rights. The guide is aimed at lawyers, judges, prosecutors, border guards, immigration officials and others working with national authorities, as well as non-governmental organisations and other bodies that may be confronted with legal questions in the areas covered by the handbook.

“European Union legislation relating to asylum, borders and immigration is developing fast and becoming increasingly complex,” said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum at a seminar held today at the ECtHR in Strasbourg on the occasion of the launch. “This handbook offers, in a user friendly manner, information and assistance to practitioners in the field, improving the rights situation of migrants and asylum seekers in the EU.”
The book can be downloaded from the Court's website in English, French, German and Italian (Spanish, Greek, Bulgarian, Romanian, Croatian, Hungarian and Polish versions will follow later in 2013).


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Innovative Approaches to Overcome Discrimination of Vulnerable Groups - new issue of DARE BLUE LINES out

A new issue of the DARE BLUE LINES has been released. Titled "Innovative Approaches to Overcome Discrimination of Vulnerable Groups”, the brochure  documents presentations, inputs and discussions from the 2013 DARE Spring Academy.

The BLUE Lines combine current case studies and educational practice examples on the above topic. As the Spring Academy took place in Slovenja there is a focus on cases and country specific examples from Slovenia being presented but also several studies on the topic from other European countries / groups.
Katarina Vučko introduces the case of the erazed citizens of Slovenia and describes in detail the situation of the inhabitants of other former Yugoslavian states  in Slovenja that have lost their citizenship.
Mitja Blažič reports on Homophobic Violence in Slovenia and gives concrete recommendations to further activities related on the issue.
Elena Begant reports on her experiences from the Human Rights Movie Club as tool for educative purposes.
Urška Breznik gives a detailed analyses od alternative youth scenes in Maribor and describes the alternative youth information and counselling centre Pekarna.
Florian Druckenthaler shares his experience of running a 5 days European Grundtvig Workshop on the issue of Group focussed Enmity in a European learning Partnership.

Raquel Santos and Sergio Guijarro from Spanish UNIÓN ROMANÍ describe the project “Women and Participation” which contains the integral empowerment and training of Roma Women living in the most deprived urban areas in Andalusia. Other projects described deal with empowerment of marginalized groups and deliver further short practice examples.

The BLUE LINES are free for download and can be used for further educational purposes.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Grundtvig Project Meeting in Sofia – Exploring best practices to counteract anti-Roma racism in Bulgaria



Participants from six European NGOs, including two members of DARE Network, met in Sofia from May 21-23 to explore best practices to counteract anti-Roma racism in Bulgaria. The meeting was hosted by the Minority Studies Society Studii Romani. 

The participants met with Roma leaders from NGOs as well as the public sector. Interesting topic were opened in a discussion with Mr. Orhan Tahir (Civil Society in Action) as he criticized the EU practice of treating all Roma as a vulnerable group as discriminating in itself. Instead of working towards equal political participation of Roma citizens, measures are exclusively taken in the social sector. The Roma question is therefore presented as a social question – while the political question of participation remains unanswered. As a political strategy towards equal political participation he opted for ethnic mobilisation of the Roma minority and political participation according to European minority rights standards.

Another burning issue was segregation and de-segregation of Roma students in the Bulgarian school system. Mr. Rumyan Russinow (Roma Public Policy Advocacy Center) explained the developments since 1990 and the movement to de-segregate schools together with today’s situation which could be perceived as a step back.



An interesting example of best practice was delivered by Mr. Lalo Kamenov, member of the Bulgarian Commission for Protection against Discrimination, an active body that is empowered on state level not only to take and judge over cases of discrimination, but also to execute sanctions. The work of this state body has more than doubled; from about 850 judged cases of discrimination in 2005 to over 2000 received complaints only in the first six months of 2013. The worrying fact is also that majority of taken cases are dealing with multiple discrimination, especially in cases connected to Roma population in Bolgaria.



Human Rights Education as well as Education for Democratic Citizenship were again presented as best tools for combating prejudices and from them deriving group-focused hostility in EU.