'The floor is yours'
'The floor is yours' is an open space for participants to present ideas, projects or issues that are important to them, and discuss these with colleagues from all over the EU.
It provides an opportunity to openly and critically discuss issues that you feel are key to current fundamental rights debates.
There will be 30 interactive sessions hosted by civil society organisations, NHRIs, equality bodies and other participants.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that all information published on this page has been received from third parties and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of FRA.
Session I: 14:30–14:55
- Why a National Human Rights Institution?
- Equality between Equality Groups: Cooperative Working for Maximum Impact
- Beyond security: Addressing the protection and assistance challenges of people arriving at the Southern border of Europe in the context of mixed migration flows
- Human Rights Watch’s work on 'hate crimes' in Europe
- Accessing Information for Evidence-based Human Rights Advocacy
- Violation of children's rights in isolated faith communities
Session I: 14:30–14:55
Why a National Human Rights Institution?
- Bruce Adamson, Legal Officer at the Scottish Human Rights Commission, and representative of the European Group of National Human Rights Institution
Of the 27 member states, only 10 have National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) that are fully in compliance with the Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions (The Paris Principles). Governments are under increasing pressure from regional and international bodies to create NHRIs, but do they actually make a difference? This workshop will focus on the role of NHRIs and allow participants to debate how NHRIs and civil society organisations should work together. It will look at the work that NHRIs do to promote and protect fundamental rights across the European Union. It will also consider those countries that don’t currently have a NHRI and consider what role civil society organisations should play in the creation of NHRIs.
[Download workshop report]
More information about the organisation on: www.scottishhumanrights.com
Equality between Equality Groups: Cooperative Working for Maximum Impact
- Debbie Kohner, Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ)
The workshop will provide a description of the Equality Coalition as an example of cooperative working and ask participants to consider the advantages and challenges of such an approach in their own jurisdictions.
The Equality Coalition is a forum of non-statutory organisations which helped to introduce a ground-breaking public sector equality duty in Northern Ireland in 1998. It now brings together over 80 organisations to provide mutual support and a unified voice for equality issues, while allowing for the diversity of each member's views. Through its information sharing, capacity building, lobbying and advocacy, it has provided a strong voice for members’ projects and general equality principles, and highlighted the multiple identity implications of non-discrimination and equality work. This cooperative working has maximised impacts in a resource efficient manner, which is critical in the current economic climate. It has also avoided undue competition and any perception of hierarchy between equality groups.
More information about the organisation on: www.caj.org.uk
Beyond security: Addressing the protection and assistance challenges of people arriving at the Southern border of Europe in the context of mixed migration flows
- Petra Hueck, Head of Office, International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) Europe
There is currently no comprehensive EU policy specifically addressing mixed migration arrivals at the EU sea and land borders. ‘Mixed’ arrivals include refugees, asylum seekers and children, and victims of trafficking, torture, violence or trauma. Building upon the expertise and knowledge gathered by ICMC and its partners during the DRIVE project, the workshop will summarise the results and recommendations presented in the Mayday! Strengthening responses of assistance and protection to boat people and other migrants arriving in Southern Europe report. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the way in which civil society can promote further coherence in the EU legal, policy and financial framework so as to address the realities of mixed migration, including protection and assistance needs.
More information about the organisation on: www.icmc.net
Human Rights Watch’s work on 'hate crimes' in Europe
- Hugh Williamson, Director of the Europe and Central Asia division, Human Rights Watch
The session will explore Human Rights Watch’s research and advocacy on hate crimes in Europe, including work on violence against migrants and Roma in Italy, the criminal justice system response to hate crimes in Germany and our forthcoming report on violence against migrants in Greece. We hope that the workshop will be an opportunity to learn about the work of other human rights groups on hate crimes in the EU region, to identify common challenges and best practices and areas for possible future collaboration.
More information about the organisation on: www.hrw.org
Accessing Information for Evidence-based Human Rights Advocacy
- Pam Bartlett Quintanilla, Researcher and Campaigner, Access Info Europe
Now recognized by the EU Treaties and by the European Court of Human Rights as a fundamental human right, the right of access to EU and government documents is an essential tool for civil society organisations in the defence of other human rights and fundamental freedoms.
- Session participants will identify the information they need in order to complete their functions as public watchdogs
- The session will outline mechanisms for accessing EU and national government information
- We will provide an update on the ongoing debate between the European Commission, European Parliament and Council on the future of the rules on access to EU documents
- An advance copy of Access Info Europe’s new Access for Rights Toolkit on tactics for obtaining information from public bodies will be provided to workshop participants
More information about the organisation on: www.access-info.org
Violation of children's rights in isolated faith communities
- Friedrich Griess, Board member, European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Sectarianism (FECRIS)
More than 10 years ago, young adults who had escaped from isolated faith communities, had asked the Norwegian association "Redd barna" ("Save the children") for help because they had no money, no home and no school education. Redd barna started a help project, also with financial support from the government, in which after all about hundred such young adults were involved.
More information about the organisation on: www.fecris.org
Session II: 15:05–15:30
Promoting older people’s fundamental rights during European Year 2012
- Rachel Buchanan, Policy officer, AGE Platform Europe
While the EU legal and policy framework includes instruments targeting older people’s rights, there is still a wide gap between the rights conferred by EU Treaties and the perception and experience of older citizens across the EU. Although older citizens witnessed the development of the EU over the years, few are familiar with the rights attached to EU citizenship and understand how to get involved in EU participatory processes.
The workshop will not look at policy priorities and EU processes that promote older people’s rights but will consider what the EU is doing for older people i.e. how it is helping them to be more aware of their rights and also what older people can do to influence relevant EU policies that will enable them to better realise their rights. It will make reference to the EY2012 and the links with the upcoming EY2013. It will also consider those countries that don’t currently have a NHRI and consider what role civil society organisations should play in the creation of NHRIs.
[Download workshop presentation]
More information about the organisation on: www.age-platform.eu
Mutual cooperation to maximise impact – Cooperation between equality bodies and civil society
- Jozef De Witte, Chair of the Board of EQUINET and Executive Director of the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, Belgium
In this workshop Equinet will seek to set out a possible framework of structured cooperation between national equality bodies and civil society organisations taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of both types of organisations. Acknowledging the differences in nature between equality bodies and civil society organisations as well as the common challenges, the workshop will seek to identify areas of cooperation and mutual support. The workshop will strongly build on already existing ties between equality bodies and civil society and it will employ a participative approach to collect and share existing good practices and innovative ideas.
More information about the organisation on: www.equineteurope.org
The right to education and housing: realities facing undocumented children in Europe
- Lilana Keith, Project officer, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM)
First official screening of PICUM’s short film (about seven minutes) about access to education and housing for undocumented children in Europe, part of PICUM’s ground-breaking web-documentary ‘UNDOCUMENTARY’. The screening will be followed by a debate among participants about issues facing undocumented children when accessing their fundamental rights to education and housing, and innovative practices from organisations supporting them across Europe.
The workshop will not look at policy priorities and EU processes that promote older people’s rights but will consider what the EU is doing for older people i.e. how it is helping them to be more aware of their rights and also what older people can do to influence relevant EU policies that will enable them to better realise their rights. It will make reference to the EY2012 and the links with the upcoming EY2013.
[Download workshop report]
More information about the organisation on: www.picum.org
Human Rights – equitable not equal!
- Paramjit Kaur Matharu, Director of European and International Affairs, Sikh Council United Kingdom
A 15-minute presentation on the theme of certain EU laws which are meant to be consistent with equalities and human rights conventions as well as treaties but, in practice, result in inequitable consequences for sections of the community. This phenomenon is understood very clearly in the field of medicine where the concept of fitting remedies to suit the patient is part of the fundamental training. When it comes to acknowledging faith or culture in the context of broad community provisions, however the model of one size fits all is creating substantive issues for the well-being of minority communities such as Sikhs.
Open discussion with attendees based on the following statements:
- The medical analogy of tailored remedies versus blanket inoculation needs to be incorporated when creating laws that affect a diverse population (Agree/Disagree);
- Secular prohibitions against faith-related circumstances affect multiple generations of minorities (Agree/Disagree).
[Download workshop presentation]
More information about the organisation on: sikhcounciluk.org
Human Rights Education for European Churches
- Elisabeta Kitanovic, Executive secretary for human rights, Church and Society Commission, Conference of European Churches (CEC)
Democracy, Human Rights, and Rule of Law, are fundamental European values. As it is stated in Charta Oecumenica, European Churches stand for those values and they have expressed the wish and need to do something more about them. Therefore, during the past few years the Church and Society Commission has been working to produce a Human Rights Manual for European Churches. CSC offers materials for discussion to the CEC member churches for practical use on how to organise training sessions on human rights and invite CEC member Churches to engage in the human rights debate. Notice, however, that the personal opinions of the writers found in the Human Rights Manual do not represent the official CEC policy on human rights. This material has to be seen as food for thought where the different theological, legal and political context should be taken into consideration when using the material.
More information about the organisation on: www.cec-kek.org
The importance of data in advocating for your cause
- Sheila Donovan, Head International Affairs, Fundación ANAR
- Thomas Muller, Program Manager Europe, Child Helpline International
Child helplines around the world get contacted by over 15 million children annually through various channels of communication. Over five million of these contacts come from children within Europe. Child Helpline International every year collects and evaluates children’s voices to flag issues of concern to decision makers and thereby enables them to improve national child protection systems.
Throughout this session you will get a brief overview on how Child Helpline International and its member organisations collect and use their data. Starting from there we would like to ask the audience to:
- share their ways of using data when influencing policy;
- identify key challenges in the collection of quantitative and qualitative data and;
- understand the reasons behind successful advocacy based on data collection.
Session III: 15:40–16:05
Donor support to fundamental rights: making it a success
- Patrizia Brandellero, Civil Society Coordinator, European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
The workshop will aim to briefly describe the focus and aim of the EEA and Norway grants on fundamental rights through support to non-governmental organisations and engage in dialogue with participants on how to:
- ensure effective promotion of the work of organisations supporting fundamental rights;
- target the focus to specific and pressing needs;
- target support to sustainable efforts to promote fundamental rights.
More information about the organisation on: www.eeagrants.org
CSOs and NHRIs: the Evolution of Accountability – a Case Study
- Stephen O’Hare, Policy and research officer, Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)
This workshop will explore a model of best practice for involvement of civil society organisations (CSOs) in supporting and critically assessing the impact of the work of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). Participants will be presented with a case study highlighting the experience of Irish CSOs engagement with the Irish Human Rights Commission (NHRI) on recent international human rights treaty monitoring reports. Participants will be invited to assess the potential for the development and application of an independent European-wide mechanism using a set of standardised indicators to enable CSOs to contribute to the process of accreditation of NHRIs. Drawing on criteria developed within the Asia Pacific Forum and by the Asian NGO Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI) participants will be presented with a model evaluation mechanism based on a number of specified criteria.
More information about the organisation on: www.iccl.ie
Campaigning to prevent human trafficking: Raising awareness and lobbying for an effective approach in Ireland and in Europe through the establishment of partnerships and solidarity
- Nusha Yonkova, Anti-trafficking coordinator, Immigrant Council of Ireland
The workshop will present the building up of a national campaign on human trafficking prevention in Ireland, and will seek to exchange information on similar initiatives from other countries. Today 48 partner organisations, including unions, represent a total of over a million supporters in Ireland campaigning together to establish a new norm in society that makes the sexual exploitation of people from poorer backgrounds unacceptable. The workshop will offer a short history of the campaign and facts on human trafficking in Ireland, which will involve a short video screening and power point slides with pictures. The participants will be asked to comment and to challenge, but also to offer relevant experience with a view to establish cross-border partnerships and solidarity.
[Download workshop report]
More information about the organisation on: www.immigrantcouncil.ie
Fighting against bullying at school
- Jordan Long, Programmes & Policy Officer, ILGA-Europe, IGLYO
- Sophie Aujean, Policy & Programmes Officer, ILGA-Europe
The topics of this Fundamental Rights Platform meeting being victims’ rights and multiple discrimination, we would like to focus our workshop on bullying at school, tackling vulnerable groups. Research shows that many young LGBTI people still suffer stigmatisation and harassment at school that sometimes even takes the form of physical assault. Young people with disabilities or coming from minority ethnic backgrounds suffer bullying as well. The Council of Europe and UNESCO are proactive on the issue of minority bullying in school. There is also potential for action within the framework of the EU.
This workshop will present facts and figures on bullying targeting young LGBTI people and will invite organisations working on other grounds (disability, ethnic minorities, migrants etc.) to share their knowledge and experiences on bullying at school.
Then we would like to discuss possible advocacy strategies, with public officials and civil society organisations involved in this type of work.
Freedom Programme – Working with women & girls survivors of domestic violence
- Shahida Choudhry, Coordinator, Women’s Networking Hub – UK
The workshop will be an introduction to the first session of 'Freedom Programme Training' for social work practitioners and survivors of domestic violence.
The programme is based on the renowned Duluth theoretical model, which focuses on domestic violence and the abusers pursuit of power and control through his behaviours and actions. The programme sets out to demonstrate how the perpetrator’s violence is driven by his attitudes and beliefs which are the driving force behind his need to hold power and control over the victim.
The training teaches trainees how to run the Freedom Programme. The programme can be delivered as part of a group work programme with women and young girls, or incorporated within the social work practices on a one-to-one basis. The ‘Train The Trainer Freedom Programme’ enables social work practitioners to support more effectively those they work with who are subject to domestic violence. The programme raises awareness and increases knowledge for victims/survivors about abuser/perpetrator behaviours, tactics and beliefs. It provides a window of opportunity to explore issues in a safe, confidential and non-judgmental forum.
More information about the organisation on: www.womensnetworkinghub.com/
Mapping exclusion – is an analysis of mental health institutions in Europe possible?
- Gabor Petri, Human rights officer, Mental Health Europe (MHE)
People with mental health problems are by far the most vulnerable group of people with disabilities. Estimates say that approximately 300,000 people with mental health problems are still living in large institutions and mental health hospitals in Europe. Despite the rights provided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Fundamental Rights Charter of the EU, deinstitutionalization programmes in the mental health field in Europe remain sporadic. Furthermore, no governments or NGOs have reliable and up-to-date data on how many people with mental health problems live in institutions and hospitals in European countries. This lack of information results in a lack of action from both sides, with very few national NGOs focusing on, or lobbying for D-I (deinstitutionalisation). In the workshop MHE will give an insight into the problem by presenting preliminary findings of its project ‘Mapping exclusion’ which aims to collect data on mental health institutions and community-based services in Europe.
[Download workshop presentation]
[Download workshop report]
More information about the organisation on: www.mhe-sme.org/
Session IV: 16:15–16:40
Bridging the Implementation Gap: Action Towards Full Implementation of European Court of Human Rights Judgments
- Harry Hummel, Executive director, Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Civil society can play a role in improving national follow-up of Court judgments, by drawing up and promoting proposals that aim at fully taking up the consequences of the judgments, including the structural reform of policies and practices that is often required. The workshop will present and share experiences of work done by civil society organisations at the national level in several countries on this matter.
Civil society’s crucial role in monitoring government’s commitments to human rights
- Marieke van Doorninck, Advisor Public Affairs, La Strada International
Although NGOs especially those working on providing services to vulnerable groups, often do not see themselves as advocates or experts in monitoring, they often possess valuable information on how governments commitment to human rights obligations is implemented and what the impact is on the human rights of affected groups. Grass roots knowledge is of utmost importance for monitoring the implementation of international legislation on the national level. This workshop is about NGOs engagement in rights impact assessments and monitoring by NGOs. It will present different instruments developed in recent years and the experiences of the NGOs that have used these tools.
More information about the organisation on: www.lastradainternational.org
Fundamental social rights in the times of crisis
- Klaus Lörcher, Human Rights Adviser, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
The session will deal with the European Union’s obligation to respect and to promote fundamental rights with a specific interest in social rights. This is all the more important in times of crisis. EU institutions require that Governments of Member States (for example Greece) reduce the social acquis at different levels to an-until-recently-unknown extent by legislative measures inter alia by: interfering in collective bargaining; reducing (minimum) wages; limiting protection against unfair dismissals; restricting pension rights. The respective measures conflict with fundamental social rights dealing with the right to collective bargaining and collective action; the right to be protected against unfair dismissal; the right to access to social security.
The workshop will comprise the following issues:
- What are the major problems?
- How are fundamental social rights to be protected and promoted?
- What is the ETUC’s response?
- What does ETUC consider the FRA and FRP to deliver?
More information about the organisation on: www.etuc.org
What if ... Speculating on EU citizenship and its future
- Alexander Schuster, European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law (ECSOL)
What if one day European Union citizenship were to live up to its expectations? What if European citizenship were to become a status that would entail the guarantee of a core of fundamental rights that the Union must ensure? And what if the Charter were not the real turning point of this change, but only a guideline to interpret fundamental rights that stem from elsewhere?
This workshop will invite you to speculate, not telling you whether what we will be envisaging is already or will ever become true.
More information about the organisation on: www.sexualorientationlaw.eu
How to tackle multiple forms of discrimination? Sharing of experience and good practice
- Vera Egenberger, Director, Bureau for the Implementation of Equal Treatment (BUG)
The session aims to assess multiple forms of discrimination with representatives of NGOs working on equal treatment. Subject of debate will be which legal/structural/political measures/strategies have worked to appropriately analyse multiple discrimination and ensure proper counter measures.
[Download workshop report]
More information about the organisation on: www.bug-ev.org
'Hate' Speech Laws in the European Union: Implications for Freedom of Speech and Expression
- Roger Kiska, Senior counsel, Alliance Defense Fund
Recent years have seen a proliferation of ‘hate’ speech laws within the European Union. The laws themselves are designed to prevent discrimination, offense and intimidation. Has the liberal language of some of these laws however led to a chilling effect on speech and expression? Are ‘hate’ speech laws violative of the European Convention of Human Rights? This presentation will deal with these issues while examining real-life legal situations in Europe.
More information about the organisation on: www.telladf.org
Session V: 16:50–17:15
Citoyenneté et accès aux droits fondamentaux pour tous, à la veille de l’Année 2013, année européenne des citoyens
- Marie-Cécile Renoux, Déléguée auprès de l'Union européenne, ATD Fourth World
La Commission européenne a proposé de désigner l'Année 2013 "Année européenne des citoyens", dont l'objectif sera de faire davantage participer les citoyens à l'élaboration des politiques européennes. Il importe donc que les personnes les plus pauvres elles-mêmes puissent apporter leur contribution.
Le respect de l'égale dignité de toute personne, l'accès aux droits fondamentaux conditionnent notre droit d'exister et de vivre dignement et aussi notre citoyenneté.
L’atelier aura donc pour but d’échanger sur la question de la citoyenneté et de l’accès aux droits fondamentaux, à partir d’exemples liés à la citoyenneté et à la pauvreté en Europe, et à partir de thèmes débattus lors d’Universités populaires Quart Monde et de forums citoyens dans les différents pays.
More information about the organisation on: www.atd-quartmonde.org
A 'shadow' national human rights institution: the Italian experience
- Barbara Terenzi, Coordinator, Comitato per la promozione e protezione dei diritti umani, Laura Guercio, President, L.A.W. and Debora Sanguinato, Programme Officer, VIS - Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo
Italy is still lacking a NHRI after more than 10 years of struggle. Civil society has been particularly sensitive on this matter and has continued advocating such a mechanism recognised by the United Nations and the Council of Europe. In these years the Comitato has been acting, through its members, as an NHRI implementing activities, raising awareness, monitoring the promotion and protection of human rights in Italy, advocating in Italy and abroad against human-rights violations and issues in Italy and for such an institution.
When non-discrimination legislation discriminates
- Robert Guttman, Communication coordinator, European Network of Communities (ENC)
The session will examine cases where the application of non-discrimination legislation can lead to new forms of discrimination.
[Download workshop report]
More information about the organisation on: www.e-n-c.org/
Presentation of the Report on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe 2011
- Gudrun Kugler, Director, Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe
The Observatory released its report on intolerance and discrimination against Christians in 2011 in March 2012. A brief overview of key findings, main categories, statistics and the reactions of international institutions will be presented and proposed for discussion.
[Download workshop presentation]
More information about the organisation on: www.intoleranceagainstchristians.eu/
Equal pay for equal work: indirect discrimination based on gender, age and race
- Ada Garriga, Advocacy officer, Forum Européen des Femmes
The gender pay gap – the gap between male and female hourly earnings – captures enduring gendered inequalities that exist on the labour market and, in spite of more than thirty years of equal pay legislation, remains remarkably resilient across all Member States. Recent European advances in the methodology for measuring the gender pay gap only serve to underline the persistence of the disparity between women and men’s pay, with women in Europe, on average, earning approximately 18% less per hour than men. Valuing diversity is a core principle of Europe and one of the pillars of the European Union. Building a more inclusive EU is considered an essential element in human rights. These panels describe the discrimination of workers regarding salary on the basis of gender, age, race inside the workplace. The focus is on the identification of policies and concrete experiences aimed at: Increasing social integration and, in particular, improving access to good quality employment, by promoting non-discrimination and human rights of workers.
More information about the organisation on: www.forum-europeen-des-femmes.eu/
Economic aspects of language discrimination
- Lapo Orlandi, Treasurer, ERA ONLUS - Association for Language Democracy
Studies related to the economic aspects of language discrimination in schools, media, industry are quite recent. Two of the most prominent of them focused on the European Union have been published by ERA ONLUS in Italy recently: The teaching of foreign languages as a public policy, by François Grin and the Economic aspects of languages inequality, by Áron Lukács. The latter publication will also soon be translated into Romanian by ERA Romania, an affiliate of ERA ONLUS. The workshop will illustrate, especially economically, the question of language-discrimination in Europe, with regard both to minority languages and national ones. The contributions to the field will be more than welcome in order to reflect together upon what shall be done, and in particular proposals to and from the FRA will be welcome in order to tackle such issues.
Download 'The floor is yours' schedule: