‘The floor is yours‘ is an open space for Fundamental Rights Platform participants to share the ideas, projects or issues and discuss them with colleagues from across the European Union. It provides an opportunity to openly and critically discuss issues that you feel are key to current fundamental rights debates. It aims to facilitate structured networking and the exchange of promising practices as well as to open new opportunities for collaboration. [download guidelines (docx) ]
Any FRP participant can sign up to host a session. The afternoon really IS YOURS! FRP organisations are entirely responsible for the workshop’s content. The quality of the discussions depends on the engagement and responsibility of each participant. If you are interested in hosting a session, please complete the registration form below and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 March 2013.
Please note: registrations sent after the deadline will not be accepted. Before submitting your registration form, please consult the guidelines for ‘The floor is yours’. Information about the workshops will be published in due course.
Session I: 15:00 - 15:45
- Georgia Tsaklanganos, Policy Advisor, Greens – European Free Alliance (GREENS/EFA) Group, European Parliament
The EU is founded on the common values of respect for human dignity and rights, inclusion of people belonging to minorities, equality, non-discrimination (art. 2 TEU). The proposal for a Horizontal Directive (draft) (COM(2008)0426) is blocked in the Council since 2009. This workshop is an opportunity to plan an EU Equality Action Calendar for the next 12 months: participants will be presented with a calendar including scheduled institutional events and political opportunities (like the Council social affairs working party meetings, EPSCO Council, the conclusion of the EP impact assessment, plenary debate in EP, German elections, etc.). Participants will be expected to brainstorm in order to fill in the calendar with relevant actions and/or campaign tools to promote the adoption of the blocked Horizontal Directive within the next year. The objective is to conclude on a common 12 month action calendar and commit to its fulfilment and dissemination through the FRP.
More information about the organisation on: www.greens-efa.eu
- Wolfgang Benedek, Co-Director; and Barbara Schmiedl, Programme manager, ETC Graz - European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
Human rights have finally “arrived” at the local agenda. Still, there is a gap between human rights legislation and policies on the one hand and rights awareness, implementation measures and the use of redress mechanisms on the other. Human rights education that matters must therefore reach out for everyone - for you and me who are rights-holders - as well as for duty-bearers whose professional positions oblige them to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. On the example of the Human Rights City of Graz, the workshop will present the human rights city concept as a model for implementing and promoting human rights at the local level. Strategies, good practices and challenges of human rights education as a means to fight racism and discrimination will be presented and discussed in the workshop.
More information about the organisation on: www.etc-graz.at
- Luis Jimena Quesada, Chair of the European Committee of Social Rights, Council of Europe
Non-governmental organisations may lodge complaints alleging violations of the European Social Charter to the European Committee of Social Rights. The workshop will provide information on the procedure, its practical results and its impact at national level. It will also highlight the complementarity of this procedure with the right of individual petition before the European Court of Human Rights and its relation with EU legislation and, in particular, the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
More information about the organisation on: www.coe.int
- Irene Bertana, Policy Officer, European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD)
At this workshop, real-life experiences of care-users will set the context for a broader debate on the deinstitutionalisation of care in EU Member States. A brief introduction of the key findings of a recent study on deinstitutionalisation in the mental health sector is thought to further trigger the discussion on why it is so important to empower people with support needs and ensure that they will be involved in decisions that concern them. The EEG will also share with the audience how EU funds can support national, regional and local authorities in implementing structural reforms aimed at facilitating the development of quality family- and community-based alternatives to institutional care. This raises a number of questions on how to reach out to the Member States and how to raise awareness of the human rights violations that institutionalisation implies.
More information about the organisation on: www.easpd.eu
- Gudrun Kugler, Director, Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians
The workshop will mainly focus on the concerns of European Christians about equality and non-discrimination as well as hate crime documentation with regard to Christianity in Europe. In addition, the Report on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in 2012 will briefly be presented. The discussion will focus on solutions.
More information about the organisation on: www.intoleranceagainstchristians.eu
- Massimo Toschi, FRA and Maria Amor Estebanez Martin, FRA
This workshop will give a brief introduction to the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) and its main activities – annual consultations, cooperation with civil society on a project-by-project basis, knowledge exchange forums – and much more.
Session II: 15:55 - 16:40
- Julien Desmedt, Policy Officer, Directorate General for Justice, European Commission
During this session participants will have an opportunity to discuss the main achievements of the EU's fundamental rights policy. The workshop will retrace the process that led to the Charter entering into force, in December 2009, as a legally binding text for EU institutions and Members States when implementing EU law. Efforts to ensure the effective application of the Charter will be covered drawing on the assessments made by the Commission in the 2010 and 2011 Annual reports on the Application of the Charter.
The open discussion will focus on participants' testimonies on the use of the Charter at Member State level. By looking back at the first results achieved since the Charter gained force of law, participants will be invited to identify possible steps for further strengthening the EU's fundamental rights policy.
More information about the organisation on: www.ec.europa.eu/justice
- Gaëlle Bistiaux, Advisor - International Training, Association of European Police Colleges (AEPC)
The aim of this workshop is to present the Association of European Police Colleges, its aims, structure, partners and initiatives, with a focus on past and future initiatives linked to human rights and anti-discrimination. Following the short presentation, participants will be invited to discuss opportunities for new cooperation, synergies and initiatives in the field of anti-discrimination and fight against hate crimes between the AEPC and interested organisations.
More information about the organisation on: www.aepc.net
- Tamas Kadar, Senior Policy Officer, European Network of Equality Bodies (EQUINET)
This workshop will focus on the essential links between national equality bodies (NEBs) and civil society organisations as natural partners in promoting equality and fighting discrimination. The workshop will foster a better understanding of the role and specificities of national equality bodies as institutions that are part of the public administration, yet independent both from government and from civil society. Participants will be asked to share their experiences and novel ideas on effective and fruitful ways of cooperation with NEBs. The workshop will also discuss how NEBs can support and empower civil society organisations, and in what ways civil society could support NEBs, if and when their independence or effectiveness is at risk. The workshop will build on the publication: ‘Effective strategies to empower civil society’, available at the EQUINET website: http://www.equineteurope.org/Effective-Strategies-to-Empower.
More information about the organisation on: www.equineteurope.org
- Lydia Medland, Research and Campaigns Coordinator, Access Info Europe
In this workshop we will explore the right of access to information, or the right to ask and the right to know what public bodies do in our name. The workshop will focus on the use of access to information by human rights organisations in order to get information needed for their work on human rights issues. The workshop will be interactive with participatory exercises and games as well as space for discussion on participants’ own experiences of accessing information and obstacles that they have faced. There will be a very short presentation of some of Access Info’s own information requesting strategies for getting access to information about human rights issues.
More information about the organisation on: www.access-info.org
- Lozan Stoimenov, Pensioner, Movement for defence pensioners, jobless and socially weak citizens
International, EU and national legislation define rights for people, but without a reliable system for their protection. This is the reason for individuals to organise collective protests. When protestors are not members of legitimated organisation, gathering is based on announcement by some activists, without any legal authorisation to represent protestors. The claims of protestors can vary. Some are controversial and it is not clear how many people are behind particular speakers. Meetings between unauthorised representatives of protestors and authorities are fruitless and large scale riots with considerable damages and loses of lives can take place. In the EU for millions of people Article 2, p. 1 of the Charter for fundamental rights cannot be implemented, as their spending for physical survival is higher than their income. These millions may not stay peaceful. In this situation ways to establish fruitful negotiations between protestors and correspondent authorities should be found.
- Benoit Van Keirsbilck, Director, Défense des enfants - International Belgique
Children in the custody of the police or in criminal justice institutions are at a high risk of violence, as a result of the public perception of them as being antisocial or criminals. Much too often States use punitive approaches to respond to the situation of children in conflict with the law. A high number of children are deprived of their liberty and alternatives to detention are usually forgotten. Yet, there are many international standards applicable to juvenile justice that could help in diminishing the level of violence against these children. The workshop will give an overview of the current situation of children in the justice system and will briefly present the relevant international standards. Then, it will try to identify the possible solutions and what can be done to overcome this situation; it will see how we could use the Council of Europe “Guidelines on child friendly justice” and existing monitoring mechanisms.
More information about the organisation on: http://www.defenceforchildren.org/
Session III: 16:50 - 17:35
- Patrizia Brandellero, Civil Society Coordinator, EEA and Norway Grants, Dovilė Šakalienė, Interim Executive Director, Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI), Lithuania
Support to civil society is one of the key priorities of the EEA and Norway Grants. FRP members operating in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, and Slovakia are encouraged to apply for support for activities on fundamental rights within the Programmes. At Programme level, thematic meetings and initiatives will also be organised on specific topics with the participation of key human rights NGOs. This workshop will provide a general overview of the areas of support of the Grants, including the recently-launched campaign against online hate speech by the Council of Europe, in which the EEA Grants are a strategic partner. Moreover, the Human Rights Monitoring Institute, one of the Grants Operators, will present specific activities supported in the EEA Programme in Lithuania.
More information about the organisation on: www.eeagrants.org
- Rachel Buchanan, Policy Officer, AGE-The European Older People's Platform; and Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director, ILGA-Europe
AGE Platform Europe and ILGA-Europe will present their joint policy position on the various issues which confront older LGBTI people and will open a discussion on how the specific challenges confronting older LGBTI can be further and more effectively addressed. Issues which will be considered include: the lack of recognition of same-sex couples has an impact on their access to social protection and on their financial security (people get older and cannot ensure that their (dependent) partner will have access to their pensions and assets); older LGBTI people, and in particular, older trans and intersex persons, may have specific health needs and may face ongoing stigmatisation in the field of healthcare; some older LGBTI people experience social exclusion and invisibility and cannot rely on the same family support as other older people. This raises specific challenges related to whether long-term care is inclusive of older LGBTI people needs.
- Debbie Kohner, Director of Secretariat, European Group of NHRIs
National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are recognised by international and regional human rights mechanisms as key players in the promotion and protection of human rights. They hold a unique position between the state and civil society, and yet they must remain independent of both. However, non-governmental organisations are critical partners of all NHRIs, and of the European Group. They can participate in strategic planning and inform NHRIs of their own monitoring and advocating the respect of human rights in their jurisdiction. Civil society also has an important role in the accreditation process for NHRIs. Following the recent establishment of its Permanent Secretariat, the European Group will facilitate a discussion on the interaction between civil society and its future work and the accreditation of NHRIs.
- Vadim Poleshchuk, Legal Advisor-Analyst, Legal Information Centre for Human Rights (LICHR), Estonia; and Aleksandrs Kuzmins, Secretary-Executive, Latvian Human Rights Committee (LHRC)
The workshop will be dedicated to the issue of official linguistic requirements in the labour market in the context of fight against racial discrimination and to the relevant discussion. Particular attention will be paid, procedurally, to critical assessment of case-law in Estonia and Latvia, the issue of discriminatory effect of official linguistic requirements, promotion of the principles of proportionality of restrictive measures as well as to national and regional (EU) instruments and mechanisms providing remedies.
- Klaus Löcher, Human Rights Adviser, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
As the workforce is becoming increasingly diverse, there is an urgent need to ensure recognition and non-discrimination in the workplace of all workers, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic origins, religion or disability. Labour market institutions and policies will have to adapt in order to guarantee a fair share in employment of all workers, as well as attention to workers’ specific needs. Trade unions play an important role in fighting against discrimination through a variety of actions and tools: negotiating with employers to ensure that discrimination in the workplace is eliminated and that equal opportunities are promoted; supporting victims of discrimination; monitoring, documenting and denouncing discrimination at the workplace. At EU, national, sectorial or enterprise level they have been carrying out many initiatives to combat discrimination and/or promote diversity.
More information about the organisation on: www.etuc.org
- Rosa Logar, Co-ordinator, WAVE; and Kadri Soova, Advocacy Officer, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM)
An undocumented woman and a survivor of violence explained to PICUM her struggle for safety and support in Sweden: “How many organizations I call? I find them on the internet, they say they work for ‘women’s rights’ and I call them and they say ‘Sorry, we can’t help you because you have no paper’. Yes, I have no paper and that’s why I need help! I get very stressed when I see these organisations on the computer, I feel very, very bad because I’m very angry…they’re liars”.
Session IV: 17:45 - 18:30
- Natacha Kazatchkine, Senior Executive Officer; and Elena Crespi, Executive Officer ESCR, Amnesty International European Institutions Office
The workshop will present Amnesty International‘s new campaign “Human Rights here. Roma Rights now” launched on 8 April (International Roma Day). The campaign exposes the discrimination and other human rights violations that Roma people suffer in EU member states, from discrimination in housing and education, to racially-motivated violence and forced evictions. It highlights the failures of the EU and its Member States to effectively combat discrimination and racism across Europe, and calls on the EC to step in more strongly to end discrimination against Roma in the EU, particularly by effectively enforcing EU anti-discrimination law. The workshop will provide an opportunity to raise awareness and mobilise support for the campaign. It is also an opportunity to share with participants experiences and practices, and discuss together advocacy and campaign strategies.
More information about the organisation on: www.amnesty.eu
- Ralph du Long, trainer/consultant, UNITED for Intercultural Action
On 21 March, the international day against racism, UNITED for Intercultural Action and ENAR released a press statement. We called upon political parties to re-affirm the ‘Charter for political parties for a non-racist society’. Next year we will have elections for the European Parliament. In light of the economic crisis we are facing, populist remarks may seem insignificant. But racism and open hostility towards minorities (of any kind) are assured companions of social tensions. We are in a time of great social tensions. Already we are seeing the effects in some EU Member States, where there is open violence by some political parties against migrants. Only a few weeks ago, Mr Juncker, former chair of the Euro Group, warned against nationalistic tendencies, linking them to even greater dangers. He echoed the words of Mr Van Rompuy who issued the same message two years earlier. This workshop discusses our plans to launch a campaign against these tendencies.
More information about the organisation on: www.unitedagainstracism.org
- Caroline Henrion, Project Officer, European Organisation of Military Associations (EUROMIL)
The freedom of association, enshrined in Article 12 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as well as in other international human rights instruments, has been recognised as including the right to establish and join professional associations and trade unions. Some EU member states continue to place undue restrictions on the exercise of the freedom of association for military personnel. This session will present the current situation with regard to the freedom of association for armed forces personnel and the important role professional associations and unions can play in this sector. Participating organisations will be invited to share their experience with regard to the freedom of association in the subsequent discussion.
More information about the organisation on: www.euromil.org
- Vera Egenberger, Director, Bureau for the Implementation of Equal Treatment (BUG), Germany; and Volker Frey, Litigation Association of NGOs against Discrimination – Klagsverband, Austria
The session aims to bring together NGOs working on discrimination that are making use of legal means to tackle fundamental rights problems. Those might be NGOs focusing on one ground of discrimination or groups working across the board. We will exchange experience on how strategic litigation is used at national level and which obstacles NGOs currently face. Trends regarding litigating equal treatment at EU level will be discussed.
- Members of the Advisory Panel of the Fundamental Rights Platform
Please join members of the Advisory Panel of the Fundamental Rights Agency to discuss the role of the Advisory Panel, the appointment process of non-elected members of the Panel and about FRA in general. The hope of the presentation is to promote among FRP participants a deeper understanding and appreciation of what FRA does and how the Advisory Panel assists them in this process. As the presentation will be interactive, we invite guests to bring their questions in what we hope will be a positive and enlightening meeting.
More information about FRP Advisory Panel on: http://fra.europa.eu/en/cooperation/civil-society/advisory-panel
- Elizabeta Kitanović, Executive Secretary for Human Rights and Communication, Church and Society Commission of CEC
Upon request of churches in the Euro Mediterranean region, the Conference of European Churches together with the Federation of the Protestant Churches in Italy is in the process of organising a training workshop on social, economic and cultural rights. The training will target at responsible in churches around the Mediterranean who are already engaged in human rights work and it will use material published in the manual European Churches engaging in Human Rights. Present Challenges and Training Material (2012). On the basis of this material and experiences from previous trainings, this workshop will want to explore with FRP participants the value of a rights-based approach to social, economic and cultural issues, models of best practices in the NGO field in addressing these issues and looking ar elements for training sessions which could be of help in different contexts. Participants are invited to share their experiences and materials.
More information about the organisation on: www.ceceurope.org