Analytics and Interview

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Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority It is time to sit back and reflect.

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Youth Human Rights Movement

European Union сarries on a dialogue with the representatives of the civil society on the future of democracy and Human Rights financial support programs

Дата публикации: 

With an intention to develop co-operation between the civil society and the European Union in their common goal of enforcing their support to human rights and democracy in the world, the European Commission has held the Regional Seminar on the implementation of human rights and democracy instruments for the countries of Eastern (Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia) and Southern (Mediterranean Region, Near East) neighborhood regions in Amman (Jordan) on June 29 –July 1, 2010. The Seminar was organized by the External Cooperation Programs Agency (EuropeAid) and the Directorate-General for the External Relations (DG RELEX) of the European Commission within the bounds of the Democracy and Human Rights Support Initiative of the Structured Dialogue on the Involvement of the Civil Society and Local Authorities in the EU external cooperation (so-called “Palermo II Process”).

The European Neighborhood was selected as location of the seminar due to the fact that the most part of the democracy and human rights projects financed by the EU is realized in our region.

The seminar gave the opportunity to exchange experience and views for more than 140 representatives of non-governmental (first of all human rights) organizations from the 20 EU Neighborhood countries, the largest European NGO networks and platforms, representatives of the European Commission and the EU delegations of neighborhood countries, as well as the representatives of the EU Member States and the European Parliament. The goal of the seminar was to define the role and the importance of involvement of the civil organizations of the different categories in the democracy promotion and the human rights defense; to consider the ways of increasing complementarity of the EU democracy and human rights programs; to define the role of stakeholders in creating an enabling environment for the civil society; to exchange experience and to collect the best democracy and human rights practices within the bounds of the EU international cooperation.

The work of the seminar was mainly focused on the three following aspects:
1) current state of democratic structures' support, freedom of associations and human rights activists’ protection; 2) realisation problems of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR); 3) development of the civil organizations’ potential and cooperation with the Media. The participants have also discussed gender equality, involvement of the Youth and trade unions in the democracy and human rights activity. After each discussion there were formulated the main problems/challenges of the sphere under discussion, the best practices of cooperation between stakeholders and key recommendations for the EU Institutions and civil organisations on the improvement of their joint work in this field.

“It’s worthy of note that, the representatives of the civil organisations from such different countries as Palestine, Belarus, Lebanon, Georgia, Russia, Morocco have discussed mainly the same problems and challenges: insufficient (if to compare to projects financing) political actions from the EU side to provide the support to human rights and democracy in the neighborhood countries; priorities and approaches of the European structures to promote democracy and human rights do not always correspond to the local situation; bureaucracy in funding and managing the projects. NGOs urged the EU to flexibility of the procedures and financial risks management, especially in human rights defenders support working in difficult environment. The NGOs representatives, in their turn, were advised to use more “opportunities for the maneuver” in existing programs and increase the stability of their work. The equal participation in the seminar of human rights activists, representatives of the European Commission and the EU delegations, frank critique and lively discussions give us a hope that problems and challenges will be solved jointly. A number of NGO representatives from different countries showed their interest in the monitoring organisation that will show the use of recommendations, and we’ll make our best to make sure, that this recommendations are not in vain,” commented Konstantin Baranov, YHRM member, employee of the YHRM International Service, YHRM Network representative on the seminar.

After the conference the Best EU Practices With The Civil Society Guide will be published, as well as research on complementarity of all EU instruments in human rights and democracy in neighborhood countries.

Moreover, the seminar is just a part of a long and versatile discussion process within the bounds of the Structured Dialogue, which was preceded by a preparatory meeting in Brussels on May 27, 2010 with the representatives of the European NGOs Networks, the EU Member States and the Europarliament deputies, and it will be concluded by the final conference in May 2011 in Budapest. The recommendations, formulated on the seminar, will contribute to the design of the EU financial support beyond 2013 as well as the definition of the future EU policy on human rights and democratization.

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