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.


Workshop on monitoring immigration detention

As part of our on-going efforts to increase our capacity, on 26 and 27 March Claire (Legal Officer) was in Brussels to attend a two-day workshop on monitoring immigration detention organised by the Flemish Refugee Action and the International Detention Coalition (aditus foundation is one of IDC’s Malta members).

The aim of the workshop was to strengthen civil society monitoring of immigration by sharing experiences, challenges and positive practices. The agenda was structured around the publication of ‘Monitoring Immigration Detention: A Practical Manual published last year by Association for the Prevention of Torture, UNHCR and IDC.



The workshop was open exclusively to NGOs who have access to and regularly visit places of immigration detention to conduct monitoring. Around 30 participants. Among the NGOs attending : Estonian Human Rights Centre, France Terre d’Asile, Caritas International, JRS, Hungarian Helsinki Committee…


The workshop focused on three elements:

  • How to develop a monitoring strategy
  • How to conduct a monitoring visit
  • How to do the follow-up of a monitoring visit
Developing a monitoring strategy

A former member of the Swiss National Commission for the Prevention of Torture introduced the practical manual and shared the experiences of the Swiss NPM’s monitoring of immigration detention.

Conducting a monitoring visit

The coordinator for IDC introduced the different methodologies to prepare and conduct a visit. Participants also worked in groups focusing on three challenges when conducting a visit: how to balance monitoring with individual case work, how to effectively monitor with volunteers and how to respect confidentiality).

Four NGOs (Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Defence for Children, Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Belgian Visitors Group) also presented their own monitoring programmes and tools, in order to share and exchange very practical experiences.

Following-up on a monitoring visit

The IDC coordinator introduced the theoretical overview of an internal follow-up (debriefings in team, internal reports, analysis of data, etc.). Participants then divided into groups to work on different subjects, including how to make effective recommendations, how to coordinate with other monitoring bodies and how to analyse data collected during monitoring. Four NGOs (France Terre d’Asile, JRS Romania, Menedek, ASGI) also presented their own advocacy strategies and tools.

This workshop was a very instructive and participatory event and a great opportunity to share experiences with other NGOs. Workshop outcomes will be presented in an online briefing paper with tips and advice for NGOs conducting monitoring of immigration detention.

ERASMUS+ supports aditus’ capacity building

In 2015, the European Legal Network on Asylum (ELENA) celebrated its 30th anniversary by organising an advanced training in Bologna on “Legal avenues for strengthening international protection in Europe”. Thanks to ERASMUS+ funds, we had the opportunity to attend this high level course in Bologna. Claire (Legal Office) participated, together with Neil (Director).

ELENA is a forum of legal practitioners aiming to promote the highest human rights standards for the treatment of refugees, asylum seekers and other persons in need of international protection in their daily individual counselling and advocacy work. The network now counts over 500 lawyers and legal counsellors from all over Europe. Aditus has been an active member of this platform for years.

The aim of this course was to provide tools for lawyers and NGOs for advancing the rights of refugees. Firstly, the training focused on effective remedies for asylum cases: how to bring efficiently asylum cases to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) but also to lesser used avenues such as United Nations and Council of Europe mechanisms.

Secondly, the course covered the implementation of asylum decisions: ECtHR and CJEU judgments, EU infringements procedures initiated by the European Commission and the monitoring of national asylum systems.

Finally, the course examined legal remedies in Dublin Regulation cases, family reunification and detention cases.

Trainers for this course included professionals from the CJEU or ECtHR, directors of human rights centres, UNHCR representatives but also reputable asylum lawyers such as Nuala Mole.

This course presented a unique opportunity to reinforce aditus in its strategic litigation capacity but also to continue building strong relations and network with legal practitioners specialised in asylum law.

Building on this course, aditus organised in February 2016 a workshop with all Maltese NGOs active within the asylum field. The aim of the workshop was to introduce the new reception system for asylum seekers in Malta and to discuss together common strategic goals and Action Plan for the coming months.

aditus has been monitoring the transposition of the EU Reception Directive during the full legislative process and delivered a comprehensive presentation on the new system. While we welcome the end of systematic and automatic detention for every migrant entering Malta irregularly, some serious concerns remain (e.g. availability of legal challenges, lack of alternatives to detention, etc.).