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“Your Vote Can UNITE” – Campaigning Against Populism and Racism

“Your Vote Can UNITE” – Campaigning Against Populism and Racism

7 Apr 2014 - 12 Apr 2014, near Athens, Greece

All over Europe, from Greece to Russia, from Georgia to Sweden, there is a rise of right-wing populist and extremist parties and movements.

They offer ‘easy solutions’ for the crises that many countries are facing. ‘Solutions’ like: terminating international agreements, leaving the EU, kicking out migrants, kicking out Roma and Sinti, kicking out… well, kicking out anyone who ‘looks’ or ‘acts’ differently.

And, according to these parties, there are many who look or act differently. Depending on the country, it can be Muslims, Jews, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, Caucasians, LGBT, people from Eastern Europe or any other minority group. Typically these groups are blamed for problems in society or simply excluded because of who or what they are. And typically hate speech is used against them, sometimes resulting in hate crimes but always poisoning the atmosphere in society, always poisoning the public debate, always dividing people – never uniting them.

In May 2014, a few months from now, the 28 EU countries will vote for a new European Parliament. Populist and extremist parties tell you they don’t like Europe, whilst at the same time doing everything to win more European influence. A shift towards a more extremist EU parliament is expected. This will have a major impact on the policies of the EU and its neighbouring countries. It will lead to more hate speech, to worse treatment of migrants and minorities, to more division across the continent.

The question is: what can we, human rights activists, NGO’s, concerned citizens, do against these developments. How can we turn the tide? What can we do to unite instead of divide?

That is what this conference is about.

We offer you the opportunity to get involved in our campaigns against extremist and populist parties and movements. We will tackle questions such as: What can you do against intolerance, racism, and xenophobia? How can you become active on a European level or in your own country? How can you get involved in our European campaign?

We offer practice and theory. A series of methods, trainings, lectures, (political) debates for people from all over Europe: the EU, Russia, Balkans and Caucasus.

Greece

There are many reasons why this conference is near Athens. There are many problems that can be found everywhere in Europe, all of which are especially present in Greece. Greece was hit very hard by the crisis. It has a neo-Nazi party in Parliament. Many of the failures of European and Greek policies concerning migrants, refugees and asylum seekers have had a devastating effect on society. On top of that, Greece is the chair of the EU in the first half year of 2014.

Working methods

Debates, workshops, trainings, presentations, political cafés, icebreakers, information market, cultural activities, excursions, open forum, sharing good practices.

We use formal and non-formal working methods.

Conference prepared by (*):

* Greek Council for Refugees (GR)

* Migrant Department of Athens Labour Unions Organization (GR)

* Associazione Trepuntozero (I)

* Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (TR)

* Nacionalinis Socialinės Integracijos Institutas (LT)

* Foundation of Subjective Values (H)

* ENAR

* UNITED for Intercultural Action

 

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Date and place

The conference will take place near Athens (GR) and will start on Monday 7 April 2014 at 18:00 with a transfer from Athens to the venue. Departure from Athens is foreseen for 12 April 2014 after 12:00.

Participants

The conference is planned for around 75 participants (living in the countries of the Council of Europe) who represent (inter)national human rights, antiracist, antifascist, refugee, and minority rights organizations. Active grass-roots groups from all over Europe are also invited. Participation is rotated from one conference to another.

Priority will be given to nominations from young delegates (under 30 years old) with a minority background. Preference is given to those organisations that are interested in actions against racism and populism around elections.

Participants should act as multipliers, spreading the information to as many people as possible. We will try to reach an equal balance of female/male participants and a good geographical distribution.

Language

The conference language is English. All participants are expected to have at least basic knowledge of English. But don’t worry; English is almost nobody’s mother tongue. If you have difficulties in expressing yourself, surely we can help each other.

UNITED network conferences

Twice a year, at the UNITED network conferences, antiracist and human rights activists from all parts of Europe meet and discuss effective ways of combating racism and discrimination. At a recent UNITED conference held in October 2013 near Prague (CZ) 75 participants from 32 countries looked at specific issues related to hate and populism in Europe and developed strategies.

This event is made possible with the financial support of

* European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe 

* Open Society Foundations

* Youth in Action Programme of the European Commission

(*) This conference is part of the project “Think Globally – Act Locally: Grassroot Networking and Campaigning Against Racism”, a partnership between UNITED and Greek Council for Refugees, Movimiento contra la Intolerancia and Foundation of Subjective Values, financed by Youth in Action Programme of the European Union, Action 4.6 – Youth support systems

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Δίκτυο Καταγραφής Περιστατικών Ρατσιστικής ΒίαςEuropean Council on Refugees and ExilesEuropean Network on StatelessnessSeperated Children in Europe ProgrammeEuro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network

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