REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS Edmund Rice International, May the 4th, Room XXVI

The side event organized by “Edmund Rice International” outlined the situation of the UK policies in the same day in which the UK underwent the UPR (Universal Periodic Review) at the UN.

EPI’s representatives focused on the conditions of refugees in the UK, starting from the consideration of the programs the government has put in action.

The panelists shown that, with regard to the other European countries, the UK receives only the 5% of the total flow of immigrants, number that will easily allow the improvements needed. Nonetheless, wealthy UK finds itself behind poorer countries in the ranking of European States providing quality support to the refugees. In addition, in 2016, 70% of the requests for asylum were refused, either for the absence of a document recognized or the condition of statelessness.

The accepted refugees, according to the regulations, are granted 28 days of accommodation by the government, after which they are left with no house, no employment aid and no support.

From this analysis, ERI recognized a number of charitable safety nets present in England that help refugees through these hard times. Even so, they found that the majority of asylum seekers are marginalized, constantly on the move, living in a limbo with no security or hope for the future.

In April 2017, the British Red Cross published “Can’t stay, Can’t go”, a Report on the condition of asylum seekers in the UK, highlighting how this condition of uncertainty, lack of legal representation and knowledge of the language, is the cause of enormous distress.

The other Report issued by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), “Refugees Welcome?”, focused on the absence of real projects and solutions to address the emergency of refugees. In the document, APPG suggests integrative strategies, English language teaching and to prolong to 50 days the governmental accommodation.

These Reports are in line with the intervention made by the EPI and other member States during the UK session at the UPR. They found though that the answers of the Ministry of Justice to the questions do not mirror the actual situation in the UK.

During the UPR pressure was made to ameliorate the conditions of asylum seekers and their transitions into society; at the same time, the panelists stressed, no attention was given to other very serious issues linked: food poverty and homelessness.

The representative of the “Trussel Trust”, for the elimination of food poverty in the UK, reminded that no data nor attention has been given by the government to address the issue of food poverty. Generally caused by benefit changes and delays, this condition could be easily avoided by governmental interventions and programs.

Homelessness in Northern Ireland is another issue very sensitive and not addressed in the UPR nor by the government. “Welcome” organization’s data show grave marginalization of the problem of a small region with a troubled historical background where the condition of homelessness touches 18,628 persons, 52% of which are single male adults.

In conclusion, the welfare reforms and safety net claimed by the Ministry of Justice at the UPR session, according to the representative of Welcome, cannot be found on the ground. Furthermore, the panelists find necessary for the government to recognize organizations as more than safety net and to implement its project in order to reach the standards set in the international documents that the UK signed.

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Beatrice Bilotti

Visita de los alumnos de Bell-lloc del Pla

Ayer por segundo año consecutivo organizamos una visita a un grupo de alumnos del Bachillerato Internacional del colegio Bell-lloc del Pla (Girona) al Palacio de Naciones Unidas y a la Ginebra de los Derechos Humanos. Los alumnos realizaron una visita a las diferentes estancias del Palacio de Naciones Unidas y pudieron seguir la reunión del Comité Consultivo del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas. Tras esta reunión los alumnos tuvieron la ocasión de participar en una sesión de preguntas y respuestas con Ignasi Grau (representante de OIDEL en Naciones Unidas y exalumno de Bell-lloc).

Por la tarde Alfred Fernández (Director General de OIDEL) realizó una sesión de trabajo sobre las condiciones y la importancia del diálogo. La sesión se basó en unos textos de Max Scheler y en los problemas actuales de Naciones Unidas. Tras la sesión los alumnos, aprovechando el buen tiempo, dieron una vuelta por los alrededores de Ginebra pasando por edificios emblemáticos como el Palais Wilson o la OMC. En palabras de los estudiantes, esta salida cultural sirvió para que los alumnos pudieran darse cuenta del impacto de las Naciones Unidas en el día a día de muchos ciudadanos.

 

L’éducation c’est aussi du droit à la vie

La notion d’ empowerment right traduit parfaitement le caractère fondateur du droit à l’éducation et ce n’est pas sans raison que certains auteurs le définissent fort judicieusement comme étant ’instrument des droits de l’homme. L’éducation est la base sur laquelle peut être édifié un développement humain durable. A chaque nouvelle génération toute société humaine doit en effet refaire le chemin de son humanité, et l’éducation par sa nature même est une tâche qui demeure toujours à accomplir.

L’éducation c’est l’initiation à l’humanité et de toutes les métaphores qui désignent le processus éducatif, l’initiation, ou chemin qu’il faut parcourir soi-même, est sans doute celle qui convient le mieux. L’éducation c’est le passage obligé par lequel le “ petit de l’homme ” pénètre dans le monde humain (O. Reboul), ou, on peut aussi l’exprimer ainsi, dans le monde culturel où droit et devoirs puisent leur signification.

Malheureusement, nombreux sont ceux qui n’ont pas une conscience suffisamment claire de l’importance de l’éducation qui, du point de vue culturel, équivaut au droit à la vie, entendons par là droit à la vie culturelle, et donc droit à une vie proprement humaine. L’éducation n’est pas donc seulement affaire de communication ou d’intégration, ce n’est pas seulement une affaire d’alphabétisation, une histoire de lecture ou de calcul, voire de promotion de la démocratie ; c’est, pour les peuples comme pour l’individu, une affaire de vie ou de mort.

Alfred Fernandez

Du rôle de la société civile en education

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La rentrée des classes 2016 est marquée au niveau mondial par le programme Education 2030, le nouveau cadre d’action pour l’éducation. Ce cadre accorde à la société civile un rôle essentiel : »Les organisations de la société civile … doivent être engagées et impliquées à tous les stades, depuis la planification jusqu’au suivi et à l’évaluation, et leur participation doit être institutionnalisée et garantie »

Nous sommes en face d’un changement complet d’attitude des pouvoirs publics vis-à-vis de la société civile et cela concerne également les pays européens. Or curieusement rien de cela ne figure dans l’agenda de nos ministres de l’éducation.

Selon Education 2030, la première fonction de la société civile est la mobilisation et la sensibilisation des citoyens pour encourager leur participation. La prestation de service figure ensuite parmi les tâches dévolues à la société civile notamment en ce qui concerne des approches innovantes et complémentaires. Enfin, la fonction de surveillance qui comprend: passer au crible les dépenses, veiller à la transparence des politiques et réaliser des évaluations. Toutes ces actions nécessitent une concertation structurée entre les pouvoirs publics et la société civile.

Mais pour que la société civile puisse  jouer ce rôle – exigeant et demandant de solides compétences – certaines conditions sont nécessaires. En premier lieu il faut des mécanismes de renforcement des capacités de la société civile souvent pas assez formée pour remplir la fonction qu’on lui confie.

En deuxième lieu, il faut un cadre juridique clair protégeant la liberté d’association et la liberté d’expression, indispensables pour exercer la fonction critique de passer au crible les dépenses et de veiller à ce que la gouvernance et la budgétisation dans le domaine de l’éducation soient transparentes.

Une condition préalable à ces deux premières est l’établissement d’une relation de confiance entre les pouvoirs publics et les citoyens. Cette confiance manque de façon générale en Europe, car le système éducatif a été conçu souvent pour construire l’Etat-nation, indépendamment des citoyens. Le PNUD l’a montré clairement dans son rapport sur les libertés culturelles de 2004. Cette confiance requiert une vraie subsidiarité des pouvoirs publics. Avant d’entreprendre une initiative politique, le Livre blanc sur la gouvernance européenne demandait de vérifier systématiquement: a) qu’une intervention des pouvoirs publics est réellement nécessaire; b) que l’action des pouvoirs publics est la plus adéquate

En Europe le débat sur l’école tel qu’on le perçoit dans l’opinion publique se focalise sur la radicalisation et la laïcité avec des accents plutôt répressifs, ce qui est exactement le contraire de la confiance, de la concertation et de la transparence.

(article paru dans la Tribune de Genève, le 31 août 2016)

Alfred Fernandez

Side event HRC: The differences of De-radicalisation

DAESH has had an increasing impact in Europe over these last few years, but they are not the only terrorist group in the world. Their actions vastly differ compared to previous terrorist groups in Europe which makes it difficult to stop them as they are completely unpredictable. DAESH´s movement are completely different as their targeted victims are random, which creates a greater impact in society as it especially affects ordinary people.

Furthermore, the use of social media contributes to the fast expansion of their ideology, which brings forward the global argument that countries should create a coordinated media security as soon as possible.  This would mean considering where the limits of freedom of education are, and of non-discrimination in order to protect civilians’ security.

In order to fight against this extremism, different nations are using different techniques in order to control it. Belgium has decided to prevent those who left the country to join ISIS from coming back home by increasing the penalties in law. On the other hand, Denmark, after achieving de-radicalism of neo-Nazis, considered giving them a second chance. Other countries find themselves contemplating between these two different positions. Dr. Farhad Khosrokhavar brought out the idea of avoiding a generalized treatment in this de-radicalization process, which takes three different notions in consideration.

  • Differences among nations: Each country has its own history and culture. So countries must take into consideration that every nation has its own procedure which can be influenced at some point by others, but will not necessarily be the same.
  • Different people: Radicalized people can be very different, woman groups are on the rise, which makes up to more than 10% of all groups, and have many peculiarities compared to men. Another new group is the middle class, which has also increased in the last years. The third group is of young radicalized, teenagers who follow more intensively than just ideological motivations. And finally the converts, which can be between 8% and 25% depending on the country.
  • Different people that return. People that come back can have different reasons or circumstances for choosing to do that. One group is the repentant, people rejecting the radicalized jihadism with which they have been living for the past months. Another group is the ambivalent, people in instable situations, which are confused and that can become really dangerous. Third group is the intransigent, people convinced their point of view is the only correct one, and who see the west society as enemies: this group can be very dangerous as their faith cannot be disputed. Finally, the last group are the traumatized, people who have seen violence and horrors which are potentially dangerous, not for ideological reasons but for pathological reasons.

After taking these different groups into consideration, we can clearly see that it is not only a matter about religion. As Dr. Hervé Gonsolin claimed, “religion is just the instrument which extremists and governments have used throughout history for justifying political affairs and to convince people to join them”. This is where states must become involved in the process of de-radicalization, listening and caring about the potential extremist communities. Mr. Reda Benkirane argued that giving them “alternatives against this extremist ideology” may convince and avoid these communities from becoming violent, and help them distinguish between religion and politics.

Pere Grau

 

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The creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society, based on good practices – Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Human Rights Council beseeched the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a compendium of feasible recommendations for the creation and preservation of an enabling and safe environment for the civil society, based on good practices and lessons learned.

A variety of rights were brought up, such as freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of association, as well as freedom of peaceful assembly.

Among the high points of this reports we can highlight

The mention of the general comment 43 (2011) of the Human Rights Committee that states that “a free, uncensored and unhindered press or other media is essential in any society to ensure freedom of opinion and expression and the enjoyment of other rights contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; it constitutes one of the cornerstones of a democratic society.”

Also, concerning freedom of association the report mentions that “minimal legal and administrative provisions, favouring simple notification to a neutral body and available to all at little or no cost, with no compulsory registration requirement for basic operations, best encourage a diverse and independent civil society”.

Regarding freedom of peaceful assembly the report makes a presumption that assembly will be peaceful, explicitly established by law, as in Armenia and Romania, is recognized good practice, as are laws that specify that everyone has the right to organize and participate in meetings and demonstrations without a permit and that no prior authorization is required.

The report mention as well the right to freedom of opinion and expression and to peacefully assembly and association and the right to participate in public affairs, together with the principle of non-discrimination serve as vehicles for civic activity. It is through the safe and free exercise of these human rights that people are able to contribute to political, social, cultural, and economic, development.

According to the report, the participation of the civil society for the realisation of HR requires supportive legal framework and effective access to justice, conductive public and political environment, access to information, participation in policy development with planning and decision-making,consultation processes and public funding.

OIDEL was happy to see the mentioning to Human Rights Education. The report expresses that the human rights education organizations ask for the equipment of children and young people with skills and information to help contribute to the civil society. When teachers receive ongoing training in civic or human rights, it benefits the educators, which encourages tolerance and values diversity. Empowering women and girls through programmes to consolidate skills, and furnish a safe and a favorable environment where women can receive advice on human rights and training in business and technical support.

Remarkably, the report lacks the mention of the role of civil society in the provision of the right to education. OIDEL is going to participate in the General Debate next Monday during the 32th Human Rights Council to express our point of view.

If you would like to know about this report, you can access to this link:http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/32/20

 

Tino D’Arpa

Reunión de EMIE en Amberes

La semana pasada fue la reunión anual de EMIE en Amberes. EMIE es el acrónimo de Agrupación Europea de Educación Independiente y reúne más de 25 asociaciones defensoras de la libertad de educación de todo el mundo. Entre ellas podemos destacar la Organización Internacional de la Enseñanza Católica, la Asociación Waldorf-Steiner, ECNAIS o el Montessori. La reunión sirve para hacer balance de la situación de la libertad de enseñanza en Europa.

La reunión sirvió para evaluar las tendencias a nivel educativo del Parlamento Europeo y en las distintas organizaciones internacionales. En este sentido fue interesante ver la labor de ECSWE en el Grupo de Trabajo Escuela ET2020.

OIDEL aprovechó el encuentro de este año para presentar el Índice de Libertad de Enseñanza. El informe tuvo muy buena acogida. Varios asistentes comentaron que les sorprendió el crecimiento a nivel global del apoyo gubernamental a las escuelas no gubernamentales en los últimos años. Asimismo, varios señalaron que a pesar que el informe muestra una situación esperanzadora hay que estar vigilantes a futuras amenazas a la libertad como la reciente revocación de la anterior ley educativa en Portugal.

Para saber más: http://www.ecnais.org/european-meeting-of-independent-education/

Ignasi Grau