A high level expert meeting was convened on 31 May and 1 June 2017 in Vienna by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in response to the urgent need to more effectively communicate, at every level, the fact that rights and freedoms belong to all. There is now widespread understanding that misdirected public opinion has the potential to undermine even the most firmly established institutions and instruments, and that therefore many human rights organisations are paying the price for leaving public attitudes largely unattended.
In order to communicate well with the public, institutions need to communicate unlike institutions. They must acquire qualities of speed, agility, flexibility, imagination and novelty, and experiment boldly with new approaches, especially in the rapidly evolving sphere of social media. To this end, the meeting sought to bring together an unusually wide range of disciplines and professions: journalists from both traditional and new media, including data journalists, satirists, human rights educators, NGO communications experts, visual and infographic designers, marketers and advertisers, anthropologists, epistemologists, socio-linguists and neuroscientists, as well as experts in political communication, intercultural education, data analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis.
The following report is a distillation of conclusions (not formally adopted) and views, based on two days of presentations and lively debate, and combined with written and recorded contributions subsequently submitted by several experts unable to attend in person.
The meeting was conducted under Chatham House rules, meaning that remarks are cited here without attribution, and none of the many sources or examples of implemented strategies suggested in footnotes or textboxes are officially endorsed by FRA; they are intended merely as signposts towards key developments in relevant academic and professional disciplines. These signposts are, however, some of the most useful and practical products of the meeting.
While the meeting report we are sending you now is as such final, we nevertheless invite you to share your eventual feedback or comments on it or anything else you would like to share with us on the wider issue of effectively communicating human rights. This will allow us to incorporate your views into any future follow up of the meeting, including in any possible future related FRA publications.
The report is also available on the FRA website via this link. http://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/fra_uploads/fra-2017-communicating-rights-expert-meeting-report_en.pdf
The Building Bridges Toolkit is a web platform, designed to share the know-how on voluntary projects involving asylum seekers and refugees as well as raising awareness on forced migration in general. We want to inspire you with our case studies of successful projects on the topic. We also want to support you in starting similar initiatives by providing you with a list of practical guidelines on how to organize such projects and specific methods you can use inside them.
The creation of this online toolkit has been driven by the ever bigger need of the international SCI network to exchange best practices on projects with refugees and asylum seekers. The project is coordinated by SCI Switzerland with the support of Utilapu Hungary. Its existence wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Mercator Foundation Switzerland and the active contribution of Building Bridges working group and a number of SCI branches.
The Building Bridges Toolkit is an ongoing project. We welcome you to send us your best practices in the field and inspire others to continue the work towards peace and intercultural understanding.
Civil Service International founded by Pierre Cérésole, a Swiss engineer who established a peace and humanitarian movement in the aftermath of World War I and laid down the foundations of SCI in 1920. Cornerstone in their work are international work camps for volunteers. More info: http://www.sci.ngo.
The toolkit was developed by the Youth Forum’s Expert Group on Youth Policy, made up of representatives from the Youth Forum’s member organisations, with the aim of developing a practical tool for youth organisations to assess the quality of youth policy in their own context (whether national, local, regional or European) and to support advocacy work calling for policies that fulfill young people’s rights.
The Expert Group has identified 8 quality standards that represent good quality youth policy. For each standard there is a set of indicators that help members to comprehensively analyse the situation in their context.
The toolkit is designed for members of the Youth Forum and youth organisations to use themselves and to examine and reflect on youth policies. Based on their assessment, organisations are encouraged to develop their advocacy plans in the light of what they found, in order to promote the rights of young people and, ultimately, make young people’s lives better.
The European Youth Forum encourages youth organisations to continue to call for better youth policies, which support young people in the areas that affect them most. It calls for youth policies which are mainstreamed across the various sectors, such as employment, education and healthcare. The Youth Forum would also like to see policies which see young people as a solution and not a problem, and calls for young people to be involved in the policy making process, so that they are integrally involved in formulating solutions to the problems which affect them.