WFCE in ArmaVIR Region of Armenia
And now WFCE Staff and volunteers from HRD group are in another region of Armenia to conduct a training on human rights and diversity for the members of "Hope od Metsamor" NGO in Metsamor city of Armenia. Activists from local organizations also have been invited to WFCE training. This is a successful implementation of WFCE long term goal on promoting of diversity in Armenia and thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of the local human rights activists we are proving our work for real social changes and our being of leader in promotion of diversity in Armenia.
WFCE in GEGHARKUNIK Region of Armenia
NEW DESTINATION!!! WFCE Staff and volunteers from HRD 2 group are in another region of Armenia to conduct a training on human rights and diversity for the members of "Dignity Generationr" NGO in GAVAR city of Armenia. Activists from local organizations also have been invited to WFCE training. This is a successful implementation of WFCE long term goal on promoting of diversity in Armenia and thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of the local human rights activists we are proving our work for real social changes and our being of leader in promotion of diversity in Armenia
WFCE in Tavush Region of Armenia
WFCE Staff and volunteers form HRD 1 group organized a training on human rights and diversity for the members of "Youth Tavush" NGO in Idjevan city of Armenia. Youth activists from local organizations also have been invited to WFCE training. This is a successful implementation of WFCE long term goal on promoting of diversity in Armenia and thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of the young human rights activists we are proving our work for real social changes and our being of leader in promotion of diversity in Armenia.
WFCE in Nairi Region of Armenia
WFCE staff and volunteers visited "Eghvard" -Environmental Youth NGO which is working in Nairi Region of Armenia. WFCE representatives conducted a training on "Human Rights and HR European / National Mechanisms" for "Eghvard. There was a live talk on current social and human rights situation in Armenia and specifically in regions, as well as the participation of the youth and activist living and working in regions. The participants get considerable knowledge and skill on involvement in the decision making process in their local level procedures.
wfce In Kotayk region of Armenia
WFCE staff and volunteers visited the “Aurhus Center of Hrazdan” which is working in admisntartive Marz of Armenia (one of 11 administrative regions) and situated in Municipality of Hrazdan city. WFCE representatives conducted a training on "Human Rights and HR European / National Mechanisms" for staff and members of “Aurhus Center of Hrazdan”. The meeting was very productive and WFCE will continue its partnership with youth living in Armenia’s Regions for the constructive participation in ongoing and upcaming social and legal changes in Armenia.
WFCE in DIALOGUE WITH MEDIA IN OCCASION OF 2015 WORLD REFUGEE DAY
WFCE Policy Officer participated in “Dialogue with the media” meeting organized by UNHCR. The plight of refugees and other displaced population deserves utmost attention and empathy. Representatives from Armenian Red Cross Society and participants from different non-governmental organizations participated in presentation of short movies and presentation.
Nearly 60 million people are presently forcibly displaced and new crises have emerged in 2014 and 2015. Armenia, having already received several hundred thousand refugees and over one thousand persons from Iraq, is presently in particular facing displacement from Syria and Ukraine. About 14,000 persons fleeing the conflict in Syria, primarily of ethnic Armenian background, have sought and found protection in Armenia and new arrivals, often in most destitute situation are observed every week.
Almost 200 persons displaced due to the conflict in Ukraine have filed their asylum application with the State Migration Service, but more stay in the country. Moreover, Armenia also hosts smaller number of refugees from a variety of countries. This constitutes a significant challenge for a small country such as Armenia, which is still suffering from the unresolved conflicts, closed borders, isolation and a difficult economic situation.
UNHCR Officer-in-Charge in Armenia, Ms. Kate Pochapsky explains that it is primarily for the State to provide protection to refugees and it is UNHCR’s mandate to supervise the State’s adherence to its related international obligations and to offer support with a view to capacitate and assist the authorities in securing the rights and meeting the needs of refugees and other displaced persons.
WFCE SIGNED A mEMORANDUM WITH REGIONAL PARTNERS
WFCE and its regional partners from Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia represneted by the organizations “The International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine” ICF “Tanadgoma” Informational Medical and Psychological Center, Georgian Harm Reduction Network, “AntiAids BelNetwork” Belarus association of HIV- service organizations, Union of organizations that work in the field of HIV prevention and harm reductionnin Moldova, “Esvero” - a non-profit partnership to support social- preventive programs in public health Organization in Russia according to the result of the project “Large-scale implementation of effective HIV prevention strategies among vulnerable groups in Eastern Europe”, based on the common interest to develop effective strategies in HIV prevention as the most important part of the regional response to HIV / AIDS in Eastern Europe, consider it necessary to develop cooperation in the following areas: · The organization and support of stakeholder meetings at the country level in order to create a common understanding that meets the needs of vulnerable groups, funding and quality of an integrated package of services.
· Development of detailed plans of mapping by the stakeholders.
· Participation in regional activities for the exchange of knowledge related to the development of HIV prevention and care services for vulnerable groups.
· Conduct regional educational seminars, regional schools in accordance with specified need for technical support.
· Distribution of service guidelines, standards and protocols for vulnerable groups.
· The development of the national working plans for improving actions against HIV infection among vulnerable groups.
Alliance and the Organization will make efforts in significantly developing the capacity of the Organizations that are involved in the development, promotion, provision and expansion of interventions in HIV within several successive stages corresponding to the specific objectives of the Project:
· Increase understanding of local non-government service providers and the adoption of science-based interventions aimed at preventing HIV and other diseases.
· Help in achieving a thorough consensus among civil society organizations and stakeholders in the country on the necessary interventions at the local level adapted to the specific factors, national legislation and the key needs of vulnerable groups.
· Systematically provide technical support on various issues.
The Alliance and the Organizations are sure that joint efforts on the basis of the declaration on cooperation will contribute the development of the civil society and the regional cooperation in Eastern Europe.
wfce IN positive steps beyond norm criticism
WFCE participated in “Positive Steps Beyond (Norm) Criticism” conference organized by Stockholm. During 4 day conference were introduced the historical context of Norm Criticism as well as the Swedish perspective and experiences, which established thought ground for participants representing organizations and whether they employ norm critical methods in their organizational strategies and activities. Discussion took place on labels, their individual impact and societal connotations – positive or negative, how we identify and label ourselves, as well as societal binary norms. Then participants discussed privilege and power structures and wrapped up the day by identifying the definition of an “Ally” and how they can advocate for the social groups they want to support but are not apart of.
The representative from local organizations, analysed in depth the relation between HIV prevention campaigns and norm-critical messages behind them. In the second meeting, speakers presented the best tools to raise awareness on HR issues and break the relative norms in the school system. In the afternoon, things moved to activities aimed at better dealing with the practice of norm breaking. Case scenarios were given to participants in order to simulate how their organizations would have faced specific issues by adopting a norm-critical approach.
WFCE IN GLOBAL HIV DIALOGUE
WFCE participated in The Global Forum on HIV strategic planning. The MSMGF assembled a think tank of over 50 global actors for a forecast scenario consultation, marking the start of its Strategic Planning process. The goal was to envision the future and inspire creativity, adapting to a rapidly changing environment so as to serve vulnerable groups most effectively and efficiently. The global HIV landscape is changing at an accelerated pace. Advances in HIV treatment and prevention are promising but challenges persist due to lack of access, civil rights inequities and other issues facing people around the world. The 3-day consultation included the leadership of regional networks, the MSMGF Board and Steering Committee and leadership from Reference Groups. There was impassioned participation and interaction by activists, researchers, founders and policy makers alike. Some of the many highlights were presentations on changes at PEPFAR by Cornelius Baker, Civil Society Leadership, Office of Global AIDS Coordination and Health Diplomacy, U.S. State Department, and an overview on the Global Fund to End AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’ Strategic Framework given by Kate Thompson, the Head of the Critical Enablers and Civil Society Hub.
WFCE AND WOMEN ACCESS TO JUSTICE
WFCE NGO with all its staff met with Raluca Popa, the Project Advisor of the Equality Division project of the Council of Europe. The main topic of the meeting was the discussion of the implemented project, which is women access to the justice. The goal and strategic objectives of the project are: • combating stereotypes and sexism • preventing and combating violence against women • guaranteeing equal access of women to justice • achieving women mainstreaming in all policies and measures, which will also integrate the issue of multiple discrimination while taking into account the specific rights and needs of women and men throughout the life cycle. According to Raluca, the accent will be on the women’s equal access to justice, and the Council of Europe will continue its work in this field in the framework of the Equality Strategy, by addressing the persistent inequalities between women and men, gender basis, stereotypes and other barriers that result in unequal access of women to justice. The Council of Europe’s work will continue to build on its standards, mechanisms and strategic partnerships with civil society, regional and international organizations and other relevant stakeholders. Other partners in the implementation of the Equality Project includes: parliaments, national governments, local authorities and their associations, equality bodies, human rights institutions, professional networks, media and private sector. The overall goal of the project is to achieve the advancement and empowering of women and hence the effective realization of equality in the countries where the project will be fulfilled by supporting the implementation of existing standards.
WFCE and INCLUSIVE SOCIALISATION
WFCE participated in “Women discourse in the modern Armenia society” Conference organized by USAID, HED – (Higher Education for Development), ASU – (Arizona State University) and YSU - (Yerevan State University). One of the main focus areas of the conference was the women political participation in the RA and supporting them to face the challenges and use the opportunistic atmosphere in everyday life, as well as to take part in reinforcing social and family status of women in Armenia. The participants received essential information about of women related issues, including socialization and education. As a key result, the conference has raised awareness on inclusive medical services for woman with disabilities, sex-selective abortion and sexual harassment in workplace as a hindering factor for women in their career promotion.
WFCE PEER EDUCATORS GENERAL ASSAMBLY
The 3 days meeting for youth leaders from different regions of Armenia examined the theory and practice of human rights advocacy. During the first day of the training session, qualified trainer delivered a comprehensive course on what is advocacy, the notion of human rights advocacy; participants learnt and discussed effective advocacy process the main components of advocacy, levels and methods. During the training session, participants discussed what is advocacy and how advocacy can help to protect people’s life. At the end of the meeting participants, choose different topics about human rights for writing advocacy plan. The second day of the training were discussed the main tools of advocacy, how they can use them in their everyday life. During role games participants tried to use the skills that they get from the first day of training for advocating. According to the role game, there were four groups: citizens, government, journalists and representatives from NGO. Each of groups tried to reach their goals and during the game, they should use all necessary skills for advocating. The participants discussed such methods as legal and policy analysis, internal influence through personal meetings, development of informational and policy messages and statements, lobbying methods, as well as preparation and presentation of the reports. At the second part of training were described how to campaign through mass media. The last part of the training attached to the specific advocacy strategies and methods. Various creative and interactive teaching methods used in the meeting, such as teamwork exercises and games and etc. The last part of the meeting each participant presented advocacy plans that they wrote for different human rights issues. On the third day, participants presented the action plans of their advocacy plans. They presented detailed steps of their plan, how they will work with stockholders, target group, media and organizations that can help them.
WFCE IN WORKING GROUP MEETING ON SGBV PREVENTION AND RESPONSE
The Armenian Red Cross Society organized working group meeting for presenting general overview of support to survivors of Sexual and Gender Based Violence activities in 2014 and 2015. Representatives from Armenian Red Cross Society and participants from different non-governmental organizations discussed the activities and the plane of activities in the sphere of SGBV prevention. During discussions in working groups, participants presented their views of actions that would help to prevent of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Armenia among refuges. During 2014, there were seven cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence among refuges and all seven survivors did not want to call police. However, as Armenian Red Cross Society staff, members mentioned there are lot of cases but people do not want to speak about it. According to the final discussion, working group members decided to have meetings in every quarter and share information and cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence among refuges.
WFCE IN “TOWARDS THE ADOPTION OF ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LEGISLATION IN ARMENIA”
WFCE participated in Presentation of an expert survey focusing on the perception of discrimination organized by Eurasia Partnership Foundation, Yerevan, Armenia. The expert survey utilized the methodology of in-depth interviews to expose the stakeholders’ perception of anti-discrimination. The pool of survey respondents included representatives of government agencies, non-governmental organizations, public and religious organizations, advocates, business leaders, judges, prosecutors, media community and other stakeholders.
The expert survey was part of the project “Towards the Adoption of Anti-discrimination Legislation in Armenia” supported by the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The purpose of the project is to increase the understanding of the issues of discrimination and of the need to adapt an anti-discrimination legislation in Armenia through a series of discussions and surveys with Armenian state and non-state stakeholders. During the presentation of an expert survey focusing on the perception of discrimination, they have presented the understanding of discrimination from the point of view of the experts that have participated in the survey.
WFCE AND MEDIA AWARD CEREMONY
WFCE participated in the Media Award Ceremony organized by EPF. The purpose of the Media Award was to encourage journalists to cover the issues of religious and ethnic minorities in Armenia in a more balanced and sensitive way, which will foster a more tolerant environment in Armenia. To identify qualified candidates for the Media Award, the specifically arranged team of experts observed media publications on the issue that were produced from November 2013 through December 2014. Overall, experts considered nine journalists for the Award. The participants of the event were the Ambassador of the United Kingdom and the Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as a number of senior representatives from international and local organizations focusing on the issue of tolerance.
We for Civil Equality” NGO is trying to be actively involved in the events on the issue of tolerance. The strategic goal of WFCE NGO in protecting human rights of risky and vulnerable people. As we know in Armenia the rights of minorities is not protected and in every step, they can meet discrimination. Religious and ethnic minorities have lot of problems in Armenia and such kind of ceremonies are very important for fostering more tolerant environment in Armenia.
Mass Medias have a great impact on society and if we want to make changes, first we should start working with them. Even one article, which includes components of hate speech, can be a cause of discrimination and non-tolerance. Journalists should understand their power and how they can influence on the society. Such kid of Award Ceremony can be motivators for them for being more tolerance for fostering a more tolerant environment in Armenia
WFCE in UNHCR strategic planning “From Emergency Response to Durable Solutions”
The meeting was put under the motto: “From Emergency Response to Durable Solutions” and it offered an opportunity to present and collect feedback from strategic Government, UN, academic and civil society partners working on displacement issues on UNHCR Armenia’s strategic directions, priorities and approaches outlined in further detail in the draft Strategy 2015-2017. The meeting allowed participants to listen to the voices of the displaced we are all caring for, to the observations from Persons of Concern to the UNHCR. Moreover, the meeting also highlighted the key aspects and steps of UNHCR’s 2016 planning processes. Building on progress and achievements made in 2014 and considering activities foreseen in 2015 it provided a platform for discussion, including in-group work, which served to find common understanding on the population groups, their priority needs and priority objectives to be addressed in 2016-17. The meeting achieved through separate discussions along the following overarching themes: “Enhancing capacity building”, “Promoting integration” and “Providing for basic needs”.
The Representation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) established its presence in the Republic of Armenia in December 1992 in response to a request from the Government of Armenia to assist with the mass influx of 360,000 ethnic Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan who fled to Armenia due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Since 2004, Armenia has also received hundreds of ethnic Armenian refugees from Iraq and small numbers of asylum-seekers and refugees from other countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. “We for Civil Equality” NGO is protecting Human Rights of risky and vulnerable people by promoting equality and dignity through structured dialogue with government and mainstream society. One of our target group is refuges and such kind of meeting are very important for our organization. For achieving our goals, we closely cooperates with UNHCR and are actively involved in their activities.
WFCE PRACTICING NEW MODEL ON HUMAN RIGHT DIALOGUE
WFCE participated in the HuRiCamp – an experimental unconference on human rights organized by UN in Armenia on the occasion of the Human Rights Day. Human rights activists and defenders, and simply enthusiasts from a wide range of backgrounds came together to speak on various human rights issues in Armenia. In a friendly, cooperative environment designed to educate, share learning and inspire collaboration, speakers shared their ideas, solutions, challenges and achievements in tackling human rights issues in Armenia. WFCE interests in HuRiCamp were a wide range of interesting and provocative topics, such as women’s rights, human rights and national customs, poverty in the context of human rights, impact of social media in the protection of human rights, challenges of the displaced, consumers’ rights, use of art in the protection of human rights.
The greatest achievement for WFCE will be transmission of knowledge and skills to human rights activists who can effectively advocate human rights protection and transmit general awareness to the Armenian society. Lack of information and proficiency in this field is the crucial point for WFCE. We must not have a society, where people are not informed about what they can do and what they can’t, what rights they have and what rights –don’t. And it’s possible, because WFCE is such an organization, which can achieve its purpose as the team is professional and aware. The BarCamp method, which was used during the meeting is very interesting and new and can be used in WFCE’s future activities aimed to encourage and facilitate the promotion of respect for and awareness of human rights through education and training. As a result of future trainings the awareness on newest advocacy methods will be raised, advocacy skills will be developed, the network of the human rights activists will be widened. It’s an alternative to change approach to human rights and human rights protection.
WFCE and CONFERENCE ON ECONOMIC RIGHTS
WFCE was invited to participate in the conference on Economic Rights organized by the Office of Ombudsman RA in December 10. The conference was presided by the Ombudsman of Armenia Karen Andreasyan, gathered under one roof representatives of the executive, legislative, state regulatory, educational and business spheres, as well as representatives of human rights, consumer protection and other non-governmental organizations. The conference was attended by the RA Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, the Ambassadors of US, UK and representatives of international organizations in Armenia. According to Ombudsman Karen Andreasyan, the investment climate has improved, regardless of the fact that there are fewer investments being made. Nobody has appealed to Armenia’s Office of the Human Rights Defender with the complaint about his or her businesses being stolen or people trying to become shareholders of their businesses.
The conference helped to understand the main issues in economic rights and what should do government, NGOs, civil society representatives to improve the situation in Armenia.
During the presentation “Ensuring non-discriminatory conditions for business, and prevention of monopolies and dominant position in the market” the presenter touched upon the issue of healthy competition from the perspective of utilizing the internal potential of market players for implementing the principles of Human Rights and ensuring daily operation in line with what is set by Human Rights.
WFCE stresses on anti-discrimination legislation adoption in Armenia.
December 10 is observed as Human Rights Day. The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.
This year’s slogan, Human Rights 365, encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.
“We For Civil Equality” NGO is the guest of the youth program LyunSe in Armenian Public Radio (interview http://lyunse.com/en/?p=14317). NGO states that human rights condition in our country can’t be assessed as satisfactory. Indeed, compared with 2000, there are some positive improvements, but our country has still numerous problems in this area. WFCE stresses, especially, the great omission of legislation about anti-discrimination and hate speech punishment. The NGO chief is glad that in the recent period a number of civil initiatives have achieved success, and youth played a special role in that affair. However, our society goes on keeping silence and doesn’t raise the issue of own rights protection.
WFCE ''YOUTH DIALOGUE'' TRAINING, 3RD GROUP
During 4 training days representatives from different non-governmental organizations, social groups, with different educational and social backgrounds, including members of various minorities’ communities took participation in training sessions organized by “We for Civil Equality” NGO in framework of the EED funded “ Youth Dialogue of Diversity” project.
The participants were carefully selected from applications from different regions of Armenia. As a result of the training, the awareness on human rights and human rights advocacy methods has been raised Through four working days, participants developed skills in the key areas: human rights, human rights protection, fundamental freedoms, and human rights advocacy methods and tools, how to use these methods, tools, and media work. They get information about the problems of national minorities who live in Armenia, the legal issues of the religion organizations, they defined what tolerance is, and what human rights is in general.
During evaluation participants mentioned that before training session they had some stereotypes and often without understanding they might use some discriminating phrases or words, without understanding that it could be hate speech or discrimination. They mentioned that received information and knowledge about the difference of law and right, what are the fundamental freedoms and rights. Participants mentioned that after training, they understand what human rights is and now they know how to protect their and their families’ rights.
WFCE in JOINT PROJECT OF COUNCIL OF EUROPE AND EUROPEAN UNION
WFCE participated in the workshop on “Developments on the prohibition of discrimination in the international and domestic law” in CoE office in Yerevan. It was a joint project of Council of Europe and European Union in cooperation with The UN Refugee Agency. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss discrimination and suggest mechanisms to prevent it. Representatives of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) presented their specific position about this issue. The lawyers presented their points of view about main problems of discrimination in Armenia and what can be done against it. Almost all the participants were representatives of jurisprudence, there were also representatives from some NGOs and civil society. The most affective development in the discrimination is the Istanbul Convention, which is against domestic violence and violence against women. For WFCE one of the main goals is protect vulnerable groups and this workshop and, in particular, this point gave our organization a lot of experience for future activities.
Adoption of anti-discrimination legislation in Armenia will be the key achievement for WFCE and for the Armenian society. In assistance with governmental and international organizations, we will be able to focus on priorities and do our best to give right information and knowledge to our society and vulnerable groups.
After participation in the workshop, another workshop was organized in WFCE office for the staff and volunteers. After that, one of the volunteers of WFCE, Naira, did a great job to share gained information about discrimination, which she received during the discussions in WFCE office. It was excited, because she organized mini training within her friends and acquaintances. We appreciate such a job, as it helps us publicly spread right concepts with the people who have incomplete knowledge and information in this field.
WFCE in HIV and HUMAN RIGHTS Regional Meeting
WFCE participated in the Regional Workshop on Integrating Human Rights into National Strategic Plans for HIV took place in Yerevan, Armenia. The meeting is organized by UNAIDS RST with participation of representatives from Armenia, Moldova, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Belarus and Tajikistan. The main proposes of the meetings are 1. Overview of the HIV epidemic and human rights in the region. 2. What is human rights based and gender equality approach to HIV. 3. Rights based investment and location based approaches.4. Gender responsive and gender transformative HIV response. 5. Design a country plan that integrates human rights programming: setting targets and identifying programmes and activities, costing and budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The meeting is officially launched by UNAIDS RST Director Vinay P. Saldanha, Armenian National AIDS Center Director S. Grigoryan, UNDP RSC Legal Specialist B. Konstantinov, representatives from GFTMA and ECUO. In the meeting second working day in Regional Workshop on Integrating human rights into national strategic plans for HIV, small groups work presentation on Designing a country plan that integrates human rights programming: setting targets and identifying programmes and activities, the result of group discussion of colleagues from Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine.
WFCE in EU organized consultation on antidiscrimination issues in Armenia
WFCE participated in Consultation on antidiscrimination issues in Armenia organized by the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the issues of discrimination in Armenia, to suggest effective mechanisms of prevention of all forms of discrimination and to sum up the CSOs suggestions for supporting the future EU assistance to the area of human rights protection in Armenia. During discussion representatives from different CSOs presented their views about the main problems of adoption of anti-discrimination legislation and the ways how EU can support NGOs and Government in advocating nondiscrimination and tolerance.
The strategic goal of WFCE NGO in protecting human rights of risky and vulnerable people. Such kind of discussions and meetings are very important for our organization, as during such kind of meetings, discussions you understand deeply what kind of activities should be priority. Representatives from the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia presented the main priority with discrimination issues and the ways how CSOs with cooperation of Government and EU can improve situation in Armenia. Such kind of meetings are very important especially discussion about antidiscrimination platform which will figure out all discriminatory issues in Armenia. Representatives of CSOs suggested to make the platform with corporation of Government and that the representatives from NGOs and Government should have equal positions in that platform.
All participants were presenting different non-governmental organizations, they all have different educational and social backgrounds, including members of various minorities’ communities and the suggestions that they give will help all us in our future activities. The active network of civic activists was broadened.
WFCE and State Youth Policy
EED funded “Youth Dialogue for Diversity” project Policy Officer, Ms. Soghomonyan participated in The state youth policy discussion with youth organizations organized by Youth Studies Institute in Yerevan, Armenia. During the meeting representatives from different youth organizations presented their opinions about draft version of new state youth policy. As WFCE mentioned it is very important for youth the support of government and this policy will help to improve youth’s life in Armenia. After summing up all suggestions and comments organizations mentioned that it was very important for them to discuss all points with youth organizations and it will help them to make comments and suggestions for government for improving that document.
WFCE in "Looking FORWARD - 2014"
WFCE participated in the exhibition of youth organizations “Looking Forward”. The two-day exhibition was organized by the Youth Foundation of Armenia in the framework of the events dedicated to the youth days and WFCE participation was fully funded by the RA Government. About 70 youth, public and student organizations presented their activities during the 2 working days.
WFCE stuff members presented the main areas of organization activates, presented and free distributed informational and educational materials. RA MoH National Ceneter for AIDS Prevention provided brochures to be distributed during the expo.
The RA Prime Minister Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan, Minister of Education and Science Mr. Armen Ashotyan and Member of Armenian Parliament Mr. Karen Avagyan visited WFCE pavilions and get introduced to our activities and programs.
Students, participants, youth worker receive information about different youth organizations, share their experience and plans of future activities. All participants were presenting different non-governmental organizations, student forums, universities, regions of Armenia they all have different educational and social backgrounds, including members of various communities and the exhibition gave them a chance to share their information about their activities and programs. The active network of civic activists was broadened.
WFCE in antidiscrimination conference
WFCE participated in “Conference on Issues of Anti-discrimination” in Congress Hotel, Yerevan, Armenia and organized by Eurasia Partnership Foundation with financial support of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The purpose of the Conference was to discuss the issues of discrimination and intolerance both from legal and societal points of view as well as to suggest effective mechanisms of prevention of all forms of discrimination. Invited experts from Moldova and Georgia, countries that recently adopted anti-discrimination bills, introduced the laws and experience of non-discrimination, while representatives of Armenian civil society focused on discrimination cases based on various grounds such as disability, gender and religion in Armenia.
All participants were presenting different non-governmental organizations, they all have different educational and social backgrounds, including members of various minorities’ communities and the knowledge that they received during the conference session they will share in their organizations and in their communities. The active network of civic activists was broadened.
WFCE and conflict avoidance and belligerence
WFCE participated in the training on conflict avoidance and belligerence organized by Civil Society Institute NGO, in Aghveran. During three days training session we studied Glasl's escalation model. Glasl's escalation model is a very useful diagnostic tool for the conflict facilitator, but also valuable as a means for sensitizing people to the mechanisms of conflict escalation. Such sensitizing may lead to a greater awareness of the steps one should take care to avoid if one wants to prevent a conflict from escalating out of control. In a more academic perspective, the model also provides a theory of conflict escalation that emphasizes the situational pressures acting upon people involved in a conflict. According Glasl's escalation model there is 9 stages of conflict.
Conflict is an open clash between two opposing groups or individuals and it has different reasons to emerge. For my personal and professional skills it is very important of understanding conflicts stages and how conflicts could be managed. The main ideology was that the conflict is not as bad as usually people think, sometimes during conflict you can have a good ideas and even more good relationship, but never let conflict to rule you, always try to manage conflict.
During final evaluation all participants mentioned that the training session was very useful and important because in everyday life we meet conflicts, but even do not understand that it is conflict situation and how we can manage it. The personal dimension for WFCE was understanding that conflict are not as bad as we thought and sometimes they even can help, of course if we know how to manage it.
WFCE and Human Rights in the context of peaceful demonstrations
WFCE participated in “Human rights in the context of peaceful demonstrations” training organized by Civil Society Institute (CSI). The training participants discussed a variety of topics related to human rights, demonstrations and freedom. The meeting was attended by representatives of various non-governmental organizations, journalists and students.
As the participants emphasized the concept of “hate speech” during the training and passed through it rather thoroughly, due to many examples and real stories, the participants understood when the specific situation is or is not the “hate speech”. The participants learned how to behave during demonstrations, what to do when the police takes a person to a police station.
WFCE in UN and RA Police joint rouND TABLE
The Round table discussion was organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Armenia jointly with the Police of the Republic of Armenia.
The discussion with the participation of state officials brought together different governmental agencies and authorities, representatives of international organizations, NGOs and other Civil Society organizations and representatives from Government and NGOs in Georgia and Moldova. The main challenges arising while adopting statelessness determination procedures were discussed during the event. The topic is especially important for Armenia due to the ongoing process of development of draft legislation in Armenia designed to address the protection and identification of stateless persons. It is anticipated that towards the end of 2014, the draft law on statelessness will reach the National Assembly and that, once it is passed, the authorities would begin work on developing detailed guidance to regulate in more detail the stateless determination procedures.
WFCE recommends OSCE to improve interventions to promote tolerance and equality
Tbilisi, – The fourth and final regional workshop with representatives of civil society took place in Tbilisi, Georgia, within the framework of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship. Under the banner of "implementing human rights commitments to improve peoples’ lives", around 40 participants from the South Caucasus took part in discussions on the topics of preventing torture, the independence of the judiciary, and discrimination and hate crime. The Swiss ambassador to Georgia, Günther Bächler, opens the workshop together with representatives of partner NGOs.
WFCE formulated recommendations for the OSCE participating States and institutions during the fourth regional workshop. These recommendations addressed to the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr Didier Burkhalter, at the end of the civil society conference, which will precede the Ministerial Council meeting at the beginning of December in Basel.
WFCE prioritize enhanced and systematic involvement in different intergovernmental organizations and grateful to OSCE for the invitation.
The religious hatred and violence we are seeing in Iraq, against Christians, Yazidis and other religious groups is deeply shocking. The plight of the Yazidi community in Iraq is of a special concern, the besieged Yazidi minority could be wiped out. Hundreds of people from the Yazidi religious minority have been taken captive, slavery and rape are being used as weapons of war by so-called Islamic State (Isis) against Yazidi and Christian women and tens of thousands residents of the Yazidi community have been forced to flee their homes in northern Iraq.
We are gravely concerned by the continued reports of the acts of violence from Iraq, including violence against people belonging to Iraqi minorities. This is another critical situation where people are killed and persecuted simply because of the beliefs they profess.
The dramatic situation of the the Yazidis, and other minority religious and ethnic communities in Iraq demands that human rights activists and all people of good will now take a proactive and clear stance. We all must be unanimous in our unambiguous condemnation of the crimes against the Yazidis and other groups in Iraq and denounce the invoking of religion or any other ground to justify them.
Everyone, including the members of every armed group in Iraq, needs to respect the provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and the perpetrators of potential crimes against humanity need to be held accountable for their actions.
Everyone must speak out against the killing of religious minorities, we must also mobilise resources for humanitarian aid, and support for refugees from Iraq. Finally, we should mobilise transnational human rights movements to use all international instruments to name and shame perpetrators.
The WFCE calls upon all parties to the conflict in Iraq and upon the international community to take immediate action to protect civilians who are facing imminent death in Iraq today. We call upon political, religious and community leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. We believe, that this kind of action can make a difference.
WFCE FORMER PROGRAMS OFFICER IS APPOINTED DEPUTY hUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER
WFCE welcomes the appointment of Ms. Tatevik Khachatryan, former Policy Officer of WFCE, as the Deputy Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia on Economic and Social Rights. Ms. Khachatryan’s experience in the human rights field and especially vulnerable and risky groups issues make her a very good representative for dealing with an increasingly complex reality in Armenia.
WFCE wishes her every success in carrying out the important missions entrusted to her. We are convinced that Ms. Khachatryan will promote the role of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia and will speak out for the most vulnerable and risky groups. We look forward to continue working closely with Ms. Khachatryan, in pushing for Armenia to enact adequate anti-discrimination laws and policies to support human rights, and in pushing for the Ombudsman’s office and civil society activists themselves to be open and accessible to everyone in need.
WFCE signed melbourne declaration
We, the signatories and endorsers of this Declaration, affirm that non-discrimination is fundamental to an evidence-based, rights-based and gender transformative response to HIV and effective public health programmes.
To defeat HIV and achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support – nobody should be criminalized or discriminated against because of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, disability, religious or spiritual beliefs, country of origin, national status, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a sex worker, prisoner or detainee, because they use or have used illicit drugs or because they are living with HIV.
In conclusion we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to fairness, to universal access to health care and treatment services, and to support the inherent dignity and rights of all human beings. All people are entitled to the rights and protections afforded by international human rights frameworks.
An end to AIDS is only possible if we overcome the barriers of criminalization, stigma and discrimination that remain key drivers of the epidemic.
Mainstreaming Protection in Emergency Responses
WFCE was invited to take part in 2 days workshop on mainstreaming protection organized jointly by UNHCR, UNICEF and OCHA on 31 July-01 August.
The workshop was designed to create greater awareness and ethical responsibility of humanitarian actions to incorporate protection principles in emergency response programs and to ensure that safety, dignity and rights of affected individuals are addressed along with their material needs.
The workshop facilitated sharing of knowledge and experience between key protection and emergency response actors in Armenia and provide with knowledge and practical tools on how to mainstream protection in the emergency responses plan.
WFCE and consultation on the area of anti-discrimination
Consultation on the area of gender and anti-discrimination was organized by the EU Delegation to Armenia with the aim to support the analysis of future EU assistance to the area of human rights protection in Armenia. The consultation is a precursor to a broader online consultation of civil society in Armenia, to be done through the online consultation tool. It was emphasized that only a few most visible and important NGOs working in the respective area were invited and broader consultations will follow through the online consultation. The following problems were discussed:
1) Problems in the area of gender and anti-discrimination;
2) Civic activists’ ideas on ways of addressing these problems through the efforts of different stakeholders (including government, civil society and others).
The EU delegation expressed its wish to obtain a joint analysis on reform measures that are needed to improve the situation in the next three years.
We consider such negotiation as one of the most effective tools to promote anti-discrimination legislation adoption, human rights values, civil equality and tolerance in Armenia. The voice of EU Delegation will sound there where our voice cannot reach. Therefore, it is very important to equip EU officers with information on the most burning issues we face today in our work.
WFCE TRAINING ON
This training is another benchmark of WFCE activity aimed at encouraging and facilitating the promotion of respect for and awareness of human rights ad antidiscrimination through education and training. The training offered deep insight into variety of skills relevant to the work of human rights advocates. It provided up-to-date information on the latest developments in civic engagement with human rights to civil society actors from different parts/regions of Armenia. WFCE always ensures balanced participation list, which includes various representatives of different social groups, including minority groups and media representatives. The training was held by experienced and well-known human rights educators who shared their experience and knowledge with the participants carefully selected sent in response to the open call, made by WFCE. As a result of the training the awareness on newest advocacy methods has been raised, advocacy skills has been developed, the network of the human rights activists has been widened, which is an important factor of future consolidated for anti-discrimination legislation advocacy efforts in Armenia.
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