aditus at a training on conflict resolution from a gender perspective

14731115_10211166100098291_8041586162302006293_nFrom 23th to 27th October 2016, the Toledo International Centre for Peace (CITpax) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with the support of the Spanish Ministry of Defence and Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, organised the Training workshop Mediation and conflict resolution from a gender perceptive, addressed to women from civil society with a capacity to reach out to decision-makers.

Antonella, our Programmes Officer, flew to Spain, to Toledo, a city that has been known as a city of tolerance or the City of Three Cultures, with the coexistence of Jews, Muslims and Christians.

The seminar promoted women’s capacities in mediation and conflict resolution, it brought together and involved the participation of 12 women from the following countries: Spain, Tunisia, France, Greece, Egypt, Italy, Jordan, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, and Bosnia Herzegovina.

Besides the overall objective of familiarising women with the techniques and main tools in the field of mediation, the course aimed at sensitising the trainees to the need of active participation in conflict management, both open and latent; strengthen the processes of social dialogues and the civil participation of women.

In our discussions, we shared experiences and good practices, we raised critical points and we explored how the cultural diversity and expansion of mediation practice and the identifying cultural sensitivity of gender stereotype, are focusing the mediation process on the gender power.

The theoretical sessions, the group exercises and the games held during the seminar, demonstrated there is a sense in which human actions are gendered, especially in mediation practice. The trainers suggested ways and means gender difference can be deconstructed in the social space and bring strength to men and women in times of weakness.

The four-day workshop was facilitated by Fadhila Mammar, Adviser of CITpax and Cynthia Petrigh, international expert in humanitarian negotiation and dissemination of humanitarian norms, with more than 20 years’ experience of intervention in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Many issues are still on the table: Where, why and to what extent does feminism interact with security state, how feminist theories can excavate the deep connections between the indigenous dispossession and heteropatriarchy, and the patriarchal structure of all  religious authority. The follow up of the training will be the creation of a network of women across borders.

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Blood, art, racism, science: what are we up to?

On 30 September we’ll be participating in Science in the City 2016 with an installation that challenges stereotypes and invites reflection on diversity.

The ‘Science in the City—European Researchers’ Night’ festival, is organised by the University of Malta, the Research Trust of the University of Malta and the Malta Chamber of Scientists together with a large number of partners. Funded by the European Commission’s Research and Innovation Framework Programme H2020 (2014-2020) by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, it is recognized as a ‘festival’ by Europe for Festivals and Festivals for Europe (EFFE).

It is supported by Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth & Sport, General Soft Drinks and a number of corporate sponsors.

Entitled ‘Colourism|Haemophobia’, our installation playfully uses blood in order to immerse viewers in questions about identity, prejudice, social cohesion and community.

Essentially, our installation promotes the value of equal human dignity as a fundamental principle and guiding social norm.

The ‘blind’ solidarity expressed when donating blood is a perfect context to underline the need for us to be ‘blind’ to skin colour, and to embrace the common humanity we all share.


Want to know more? Follow the Science in the City programme (regularly updated) for details on our installation’s location…

 

…and we’ll see you there!

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Social innovation for the integration and inclusion of refugees

ecre refugee incusion

The European Council of Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), in partnership with the Council of Europe and its network of Intercultural Cities, the US Mission to the EU, the Mission of Canada to the EU and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), organized a seminar on social innovation for the integration and inclusion of refugees. Neil (Director) and Antonella (Programmes Officer) participated in the seminar.

The seminar, held in Brussels on 12 and 13 September 2016, aimed to look at  innovative methods to foster the participation of asylum-seekers and refugees in societies from arrival to the granting of citizenship or other long-term solution, with a special focus on participatory mechanisms, strategies and tools in order to prepare communities and cities for more inclusiveness.

The two-day seminar hosted speakers ranged from refugee groups to civil society organisations, cities, tech companies, start-ups, and private sector representatives from around Europe. We shared experiences, inspiring tools and successful policies for social integration of refugees. In our discussions, we explored how the challenge lies not only in responding to the most pressing reception needs, such as registration and accommodation, but also in finding new solutions for the effective and sustainable inclusion of refugees in a complex political, social and economic.

Interestingly, the use of technology emerged as one of the most innovative approaches to social change – housing, access to higher education, friendship and inclusion, language barriers, anti-discrimination tool, info provider – with the added value of putting solutions in the hands of refugees and practitioners.

Refugees’ access to higher education and the recognition of their qualifications was a major of discussion, together with strategies that align transformative change efforts made by policymakers and social actors such as NGOs, health services, researchers, foundations, diaspora communities, etc.

“Innovation culture, social innovators, tech approach, fast mobilisation, innovative and entrepreneurial strategies…quite an intense brainstorming! The field of humanitarian innovation presents several transformational challenges relating to refugee inclusion in Europe.

I am looking forward to talking more about this innovation in a number of fields: health & care, education, work integration, sports, microcredit & insurance, housing and digital inclusion.” (Antonella Sgobbo, Programmes Officer)

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Transnational Conference “Education, Participation, Integration – Erasmus+ and Refugees”

From 19 till 20 April 2016 I took part in the Transnational Conference “Education, Participation, Integration-Erasmus+ and Refugees”, hosted by the German Erasmus + National Agency NA-BIBB “Nationale Agentur Bildung für Europa beim Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildungin”, in Essen, Germany.

The Conference hosted 280 people coming from 25 different European countries, including representatives of educational institutions (higher education, vocational and adult education and schools), the youth sector, local authorities, employment agencies, chambers, enterprises and stakeholders involved in the employment and education integration of refugees into.

The Conference offered an innovative networking opportunity to support institutions and organizations with facilitating the integration of refugees, focusing on the validation of new appropriate methods (like non-formal and informal learning methods), unconventional training activities for refugees and to integrate them in the Europe’s education systems, and innovative approaches for vocational and educational staff.

The conference included two sessions with practical actions in small thematic groups, conversations with artists and keynote contributors, and presentation of good practises emphasizing cross-cultural experiences.

Also, there was a market-place for projects and a cultural dinner for social networking. The final panel discussion gave an overview of the Erasmus+ programme and the challenges of Member States to remove multiple barriers faced by refugees in terms of access to education and employment.

 


Fair Trial Rights in Criminal Proceedings – Practitioner Training, March 16

Carla Camilleri, Assistant Director, aditus

Fair Trials, in conjunction with the Centre for European Constitutional Law, invited aditus to participate in a practitioner training event that centered around fair trial rights in criminal proceedings and in particular on the body of EU legislation regulating such. Although criminal law remains largely within the remit of Member State competence, increased criminal justice cooperation at an EU level and cross-border activity require harmonised measures in order to strengthen procedural guarantees and the protection of fair trial rights. The Council Roadmap for strengthening procedural rights of suspected or accused persons in criminal proceedings outlined a number of proposals for the laying down of minimum standards on procedural rights across the EU which bind national authorities in all cases, including those that do not have a cross-border element. Three Directives have been adopted since:

The right to Interpretation and Translation in criminal proceedings regulates the suspected and accused persons’ right to interpretation during police interrogations, court hearings and in meetings with their lawyer and also the right to the translation of essential documents. The underlying rationale of this Directive is that non-national suspects have the right to be able to understand and to be understood during criminal proceedings when they not speak or understand the language of the proceedings. This Directive was implemented into Maltese Law by Articles 534AC and Article 534AD of the Criminal Code.

The Right to Information in Criminal Proceedings requires that all suspects and accused persons receive information relating to their procedural rights (and Letter of Rights) and to the accusation. In addition it grants the right of access to the case file where a person is arrested and detained at any stage of the proceedings. This Directive was implemented into Maltese Law by Articles 534AB and Article 534AF of the Criminal Code.

The Right to a Lawyer Directive reflects the key principles laid down in the landmark Salduz judgment where the ECtHR stated that “Access to a lawyer should be provided as from the first interrogation by police (…) The rights of the defence will in principle be irretrievably prejudiced when incriminating statements made during police interrogation without access to a lawyer are used for a conviction.

This Directive applies to suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings from the time when they are made aware that they are suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence, and irrespective of whether they are detained. Importantly, Member States need to ensure that suspects or accused persons have the right to meet in private with their lawyer, including prior to questioning  by the authorities and have the right for their lawyer to be present and participate effectively when questioned.

In implementing the Directive, Member States have to ensure (i) that suspects or accused have an effective remedy under national law in the event of a breach of rights and (ii) that during criminal proceedings, in the assessment of statements or of evidence obtained in breach of the Directive, the rights of the defence and the fairness of the proceedings are respected.

The Directive has not yet been implemented into Maltese law and to date no draft bill has been made public. In particular it would be interesting to see what national rules would be introduced in the event of breach of rights, such as rules on the invalidity or exclusion of evidence taken without access to a lawyer, the redoing of certain steps by discarding those steps carried out in breach of the law or the retrial or dismissal for fundamental breaches.

The lawyers present for the training were provided with updated information on the implementation and application of the Directives and landmark case-law both from the ECtHR and the CJEU. A module on the use of EU law at national level centered around the use of Directives directly in national courts and their relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. A national expert provided the local focus module during which the Maltese lawyers present discussed local legislation implementing the Directives and the practical difficulties faced when applying them at the stage of interrogation, pending and during trial.

Throughout the sessions it was stressed that in order for the Directives (and national implementing legislation) to be effective their provisions must and should be invoked by lawyers in individual cases at a national level. It remains to be seen which national remedies are available and how effective they will be in the event of breaches of the above rights. Information on applying EU law regulating defence rights in national courts can be found on the Fair Trials website. Additionally, information on enforcing individual rights under EU Law in Malta can be found in Enforcing One’s Rights Under EU Law, 2011 (ed. Prof. E. Buttigieg), a University of Malta publication.

For more information please contact Carla on [email protected]

 

Further reading:

aditus statement: “Right of access to lawyer need to be strengthened“, Monday, October, 2011

Case-law:

Borg v Malta, (Application no. 37537/13) 12th January, 2016 (in particular the Concurring and Dissenting Opinion of  Judge Pinto de Albuquerque)

Malcolm Said v Attorney General and Police Commissioner (No.  74/2014 JPG), 14th January, 2016

Dimech v. Malta, no. 34373/13, 2 April 2015.