Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wake up Europe - It´s time to act!

All across Europe political groups and subcultures that feed off racist ideologies are on the move, penetrating mainstream politics with devastating consequences for the minorities targeted.
The impact of racism and discrimination on our societies today is severe: it affects all of us in various ways – whether we are its subjects or objects – making social cohesion impossible and paving the way for conflict.
On the background of these examples and many others, UNITED is organising this upcoming international conference to be held on 12th till 17th November in Finland.
In Finland, migrants and ethnic minorities face prejudice, discrimination and racism that affect, for instance, equal access to work and equal treatment in schools. Racism in different forms– varying from exclusion and name-calling to violence is part of everyday life for many visible minorities, though racist incidents are rarely reported. Support for young victims of racism is insufficient and this need is not properly recognised. Finland has a relatively small migrant population; the biggest migrant groups today are Estonians, Russian and Somalis. There are four national ethnic and language minorities: Finnish Roma, Tatars, Finnish-Swedish and Sami, last one being the only indigenous people in EU.

Creative approaches to tackle discrimination
In this climate of hate, they are heartened by acts of courage and the strength of free-thinking individuals; people who are not afraid to speak up for equality, multiculturalism and solidarity; people who go against the status quo to fight for what they believe in.
The European antiracist movement is full of such people, and you are invited to join them in Finland to create one unified voice that shows the true value of diversity.
During the conference, they will share fresh strategies and best practices for the European antidiscrimination movement. In a time when far-right groups are more and more successful in addressing a large part of the population, our response needs to be visible and creative: It’s time to ACT!

The working groups below will discuss such issues from different angles. Programme
  • Just Roma -The right-less communities: This working group focuses on involving Roma communities in the fight against discrimination and marginalisation, also on the inclusion of Roma rights in the antidiscrimination movement. They will also deal with the problem of how Roma are represented in the media and what solutions can be found to break stereotypes.
  • The InVisables - Which rights for undocumented migrants? This working group focuses on the situation for undocumented migrants in European countries. They will take a look at how human rights, basic needs, employment and education are met/missing for sans papiers in different European countries, and how different the human rights movement addresses these issues both at grassroots and advocacy levels.
  • School for All - Antidiscrimination education in school: In this working group they will search for the most effective way to implement an atmosphere of antidiscrimination within formal education environments. They will also look at how NGOs and schools can cooperate and exchange good practices.
  • Power to the Youth! Volunteering in NGOs: In this working group they will look at volunteering as a form of non-formal education and the possibility to obtain new skills, knowledge and competences as well as new support for the antidiscrimination movement. They will also look at tools that help to evaluate and monitor learning processes in relation to key competences involved in volunteering.
  • Online (H)Activism - New media in our struggle: The Internet and social media era provides a variety of new tools, methods and approaches that activists can use in their everyday work. In this working group they will explore the opportunities that these tools, methods and approaches provide and create strategies to best apply them in our everyday work.
  • Artivism - Creative action against racism: In this working group they will discuss the possibilities of creative methods and art in activism and explore inspiring examples, for example in antiracist campaigns. This creative working group will offer an open environment to bring forth and test all forms of ideas and methods.
UNITED is the largest pan-European anti-racist network of more than 550 organisations. With its 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 May 2012 in Turkey (TR) delegates from 92 organisations from 35 countries look at specific issues, such as refugees rights, strategies to tackle Islamophobia, the creation of a Minority Rights Network, strategies for a critical approach to the media and many more.

Read the full information here.

If your organisation is interested to nominate a representative, send an Email as soon as possible (Deadline 19 September 2012), preferably by email to

Source: UNITED

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