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HOME AWAY FROM HOME: best practices in the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in European societies

Centre for Peace – Osijek is proud to participate in its 3rd Erasmus+ project and this time in the coordinator role! The project HOME AWAY FROM HOME: best practices in the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in European societies is going to be financed under KA2, Strategic partnerships in the field of youth.

Our strategic partnership project HOME AWAY FROM HOME addresses the challenges related to integration of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants into European communities and aims at identifying, analysing and promoting innovative and community based approaches to integration of new citizens of Europe.

Our project team is composed of 4 civil society organisations and one university: Centre for Peace – Osijek Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e.V. (Germany), The World of NGOS (Austria), Tumult vzw (Belgium) i The University of Westminster LBG (United Kingdom) , all of us having different yet complementary competences and experience to invest in the project.

The overall objective of the project HOME AWAY FROM HOME: best practices in the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in European societies is to contribute to the better integration of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Europe through promoting innovative youth actions and empowering young volunteers and professionals.

The specific project objectives are as follows: 1. to document and disseminate best practices of innovative community integration approaches initiated by youth or in which youth play a major role; 2. to raise the capacities of young volunteers and professionals for supporting the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

In the long run, Home Away From Home is envisaged to make contribution to sustainable inclusion of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in communities around Europe and support the youth in becoming active, responsible and open-minded members of society.

The duration of the project is 31 month, starting in February 2017 and finishing in August 2019.

THE REGIONAL FORUM “IMPROVING THE STATUS OF VULNERABLE GROUPS – GOOD PRACTICE OF DATA COLLECTION” HELD IN OSIJEK ON 05 DECEMBER 2016

The Regional Forum with the topic “Improvement of the Status of Vulnerable Groups – Good Practice of the Data Collection“ was held in Osijek on 05 December 2016 where the findings and recommendations stated in the Final Analysis titled Monitoring the Implementation of Measures of Anti-discrimination Law directed towards the Improvement of the Status of Vulnerable Groups at the Local Level: 8 studies were presented. The Regional Forum was organised by the Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights-Osijek, in partnership with the Informative Legal Centre from Slavonski Brod, the Serbian Democratic Forum, and the Dutch partner organisations – PAX and the Hague Academy for Local Governance”.

The Analysis comprised the reports made by 22 civil society organisations from the area of three counties: Osijek-Baranja, Brod-Posavina, and Požega-Slavonia counties which had been participating in the process of monitoring of measures of anti-discrimination law directed towards the improvement of the status of six (6) vulnerable groups (youth, women – domestic violence victims, disabled persons, national minorities, children with developmental impairment, and consumers).

One part of the measures which were the subject of the monitoring process referred to the area of employment of specific vulnerable groups: youth (“Guarantee for Youth” measures), disabled persons (employment measure of the City of Osijek intended for disabled persons), national minorities in general (implementation of Article 22 of the Constitutional Act on Rights of National Minorities in the Republic of Croatia) and specifically the Roma  national minority (programme of public works intended to include members of Roma national minority).

Other measures which had been monitored referred to the issues of providing housing care intended for domestic violence victims, providing personal assistant for children with developmental impairment, establishing a council for protection of public services’ consumers/users/ at the local level, and identifying the types and extent of stereotypes referring to disabled persons within the local community. 

Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights – Osijek starts a new project on countering hate speech

Centre for Peace – Osijek is a partner under a two-year project – Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech, funded by the European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, which started on 1 October 2016 and will end on 30 September 2018.

The project is being implemented by a consortium of 8 organizations from 7 countries: Sofia Development Association (Bulgaria) – lead partner, Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione IULM  – IUL (Italy), the Languages Company (United Kingdom), Center for Peace (Croatia), People in Need (Czech Republic), Asociația Divers (Romania), Associazione FORMA.Azione (Italy), and Municipality of Agii Anargiri-Kamatero (Greece).

This project tackles the issue of hate speech – online hate speech in particular, targeted against migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in these 7 EU countries. The action addresses the need for more effective civil society response to online hate speech through sharing and disseminating best practices. The project focuses on 1) building multi-stakeholder coalitions for developing counter-narratives to denounce hate speech and negative representations of migrants and refugees, and 2) disseminating the positive messages through media literacy and public awareness campaign.

The main objective of the project is to strengthen the response of civil society at the national and EU level to online hate speech through active engagement of local communities in creating and sharing powerful counter-narratives against xenophobic discourse. The project also aims:

  • to compile and share best practices for countering the spread of online hate speech against migrants, refugees and minorities through awareness-raising campaigns;
  • to provide new data on the nature, scope and impact of online hate speech targeting migrants and refugees, in order to aid national and EU authorities to develop more effective integration and anti-discrimination policies;
  • to foster shared understanding and communication between the communities most vulnerable to hate speech and mainstream society in Europe;
  • to educate and train the target groups about hate speech, media literacy, creation and dissemination of web content.

The main project activities include:

  • conducting country assessments and cross-country comparison of practices to counter online hate speech;
  • conducting media content analysis in each country and cross-country comparison to analyze the spread of online hate speech against migrants and refugees;
  • creation of national coalitions from state and non-state actors to counter online hate speech;
  • training events with target groups;
  • development of training modules and sharing of practices among partners;
  • national public campaigns for positive messages and awareness raising on hate speech in each country;
  • creation of website and interactive platform with resources on hate speech;
  • final international conference.

THE 8th MEETING OF NATIONAL PARTNERS ON THE IPA 2011 PROJECT “CIVIL SOCIETY FOR ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNANCE”, SLAVONSKI BROD, 10 NOVEMBER 2016

On 10 November 2016, the 8th meeting of national project partners on the IPA 2011 project “Civil Society for Accountable Governance“, financed by the European Union’s assistance funds within the programme IPA 2011 “Strengthening Support to Civil Society Organisations for Improvement of Transparency and Good Governance in Public Administration in Croatia“ was held at the office of the Informative-Legal Centre in Slavonski Brod.

The meeting was attended by the partners from the Serb Democratic Forum from Pakrac and the Informative Legal Centre, and the grant holder Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights-Osijek.

Key topics of the meeting included a plan for future activities on the project IPA 2011 “Civil Society for Accountable Governance” (report on a field visit by the Republic of Croatia Government’s Office for Associations officials, preparations for the Regional Forum, drafting of the joint statement, reporting process – the 8th Quarterly Report).

The 3rd MEETING OF THE LOCAL EXPERT TEAM – OSIJEK – OCTOBER 2016

Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights-Osijek organised on 28 October 2016 the third meeting of the Local Expert Team/Platform in Osijek for the purpose of strengthening the principles of good governance and anti-discrimination at the local level. The initial meeting of the Platform had been held in July 2015.

Along with participation of the Platform’s members, the meeting was also attended by representatives of the City of Osijek Ms Ana Rimac – Senior Expert Associate in the Administration Department for Social Welfare and Health Care System, and Ms Ružica Mrkšić-Kettler – Senior Expert Associate in the Administration Department for Social Affairs.

Topics of the meeting included the presentation of local monitoring reports,     analysing and identifying specific area(s) for preparation of proposal of the action plan, and the process of preparation of the proposal of the action plan.

The local monitoring reports drafted by organisations from Osijek area, which were made within the project IPA 2011 “Civil Society for Accountable Governance” financed by the funds provided by the EU and the Republic of Croatia Government’s Office for Associations, implemented by the Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights-Osijek in cooperation with two national partners and two international partners, were presented to the Platform members. Ms Mirjana Jozanović – representative of the Info-Centre for Youth/PRONI Centre for Social Education presented the Report on monitoring the level of awareness of the youth about the “Guarantee for Youth” measures. Ms Martina Cangajst – representative of the Organisation of Civil Initiatives – presented the Report on implementation and a level of effectiveness of the “Guarantee for Youth” measures in the area of Osijek-Baranja County. Also presented were the reports on monitoring of effectiveness of implementation of the measure 7 of the National Strategy for Protection against Domestic Violence 2011-2016 “Providing a permanent and temporary housing care for domestic violence victims” in Osijek-Baranja County, as well as the Report on monitoring of implementation of the measure 2.6.1. “Realisation of measures and activities in accordance with the Act on Professional Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons” from the Strategy for Equalisation of Opportunities for Disabled Persons in the area of the town of Osijek, as well as the Report on monitoring of implementation of Article 25 of the Consumers’ Protection Act in the area of Osijek-Baranja County, Brod-Posavina (Sava river region) County and Požega-Slavonija County.

At the stated meeting, the Platform members reached the decision on preparation of the Action Plan proposal for improvement of implementation of the measure 7 of the National Strategy for Protection against Domestic Violence for the time period from 2011 to 2016 – Providing permanent and temporary housing care for domestic violence victims in accordance with available housing units. It was agreed that the representatives of the City of Osijek would present the proposal to the Head of the Administration Department for Social Welfare and Health Care System.

Also presented at the meeting was a forthcoming event – the Regional Forum – which would be held in Osijek on 29 November 2016, at which, inter alia, would be presented a joint analysis titled Monitoring of implementation of measures of anti-discrimination law directed at improvement of the status of vulnerable groups at the local level.

MOTIVATIONAL MEETING WITH CSOs – OSIJEK, 23 SEPTEMBER 2016

On Friday, 23 September 2016, the Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights-Osijek held an individual motivational meeting with a representative of the Info-Centre for Youth/PRONI Centre for Social Education.

The agenda of the motivational meeting was as follows: preparation of the local monitoring report on access to information/awareness of the youth about the measures within the “Guarantee for Youth”, and the planned project activities in relation to facilitation of the local expert platform and the Regional Forum.

MOTIVATIONAL MEETING WITH CSOs – OSIJEK, 22 SEPTEMBER 2016

On Thursday, 22 September 2016, the Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights-Osijek held a motivational meeting with representatives of the Organisation for Civil Initiatives O.G.I. Osijek. The stated civil society organisation is a collaborator on the IPA 2011 project “Civil Society for Accountable Governance“.

The agenda of the motivational meeting was as follows: preparation of a local monitoring report on efficiency of the “Guarantee for Youth” measures, and the planned project activities in relation to facilitation of the local expert platform and the Regional Forum.

THE 7th MEETING OF THE IPA 2011 “CIVIL SOCIETY FOR ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNANCE“ NATIONAL PARTNERS, OSIJEK, 16 SEPTEMBER 2016

On 16 September 2016, at the Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights-Osijek office, Trg Augusta Šenoe 1, Osijek, the seventh meeting of the national partners on the IPA 2011 project “Civil Society for Accountable Governance“ was held. The project is being financed by the European Union’s assistance funds from the IPA 2011 programme “Strengthening Support to Civil Society Organisations for Increase of Transparency and Good Governance in Public Administration in Croatia“.

The meeting was attended by the partners from the Serbian Democratic Forum from Pakrac, and the Informative Legal Centre from Slavonski Brod, as well as the grant holder – Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights-Osijek.

The key issues discussed at the meeting were: the plan of future activities on the IPA 2011 project “Civil Society for Accountable Governance“ (local reports, final analysis, joint statement, Regional Forum), and the preparation of local monitoring reports.

MOTIVATIONAL MEETING WITH CSOs – OSIJEK, 13 September 2016

On Thuesday, 13 September 2016, the Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights-Osijek held a motivational meeting with representatives of the Info-Centre for Youth/PRONI Centre for Social Education and the Organisation for Civil Initiatives O.G.I. Osijek. The stated civil society organisations have been collaborating on the IPA 2011 project “Civil Society for Accountable Governance”.

The agenda/contents of the motivational meeting included a report on response to the participation in filling in the survey questionnaires on youth’s awareness/access to information regarding the measure “Guarantee for Youth”; response to filling in the survey questionnaires on effectiveness of measures “Guarantee for Youth”; response of employers to whom the survey questionnaires on effectiveness of the measures had been distributed to be filled in; as well as the planned project activities related to the independent monitoring and to the preparation of local reports.

The Project Coordinator informed the meeting attendees that from July – September 2016 we were commencing with a preparation of local reports regarding the areas that we had been independently monitoring. It was agreed that the Info-Centre for Youth/PRONI Centre for Social Education would analyse the collected data and draft the local report on youth’s awareness/access to information, whereas the Organisation for Civil Initiatives O.G.I. Osijek would draft the report on effectiveness of measures “Guarantee for Youth”. Earlier on, it had been agreed that the report on effectiveness of “Guarantee for Youth” measures in relation to the employers was to be drafted by the PGDI Beli Manastir.

MOTIVATIONAL MEETING WITH CSOs – OSIJEK, 06 September 2016

On Tuesday, 06 September 2016, the Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights-Osijek held an individual motivational meeting with a representative of the Info-Centre for Youth/PRONI Centre for Social Education.

The agenda of the motivational meeting included a discussion about a report on response to participation in filling in the survey questionnaires regarding youth’s awareness/access to information on the “Guarantee for Youth” measure, as well as a discussion regarding the planned project activities related to the independent monitoring and the drafting of local reports.

The Project Coordinator handed over the filled-in paper copies of the survey questionnaires to the Info-Centre for Youth/PRONI Centre for Social Education representative for further processing. These were the paper copies of the survey questionnaires collected by the organisation collaborating on the IPA 2011 project – the Project of Civil Democratic Initiative P.G.D.I. from Beli Manastir. Another issue discussed at the meeting was the method of processing of the collected data, based on the instructions provided by Ms Daniela Širinić, Trainer/Lecturer at the Follow-up Training titled “The Reporting – from Data Collection to Interpretation and Presentation of the Report” which was held in Osijek from 27 April to 29 April 2016.