What Divides Europe? Bridging Traditional Values and Fundamental Rights

Date: October 13, 2014 – October 18, 2014

Venue: near Borjomi, Georgia

You can find the report on our Facebook page under October 2014.

You can also have a look at the pdf.file of the report: View the report


View the programme   List of participating Organisations


Building Bridges Between Today’s Realities and Tomorrow’s Opportunities
During this UNITED conference concepts of fundamental rights and traditional values were at the center of the discussion.
In order to constructively create bridges between human rights and traditional values, we explored traditional values on various levels and perspectives. The discussions focused on opportunities for creating cross-community coalitions between NGOs based on a common framework of human rights and an understanding of society’s traditional values, as well as their impact on the daily life of minority communities. The path of human rights enabled participants to be UNITED and work hands in hands – developing together responses and advocacy actions towards shared challenges both at national and European levels.

Today more than ever before, discussing human rights and traditional values as well as the bridges between them became very relevant. From one side, universal human rights do not impose any cultural standard, but rather a legal standard of minimum protection necessary for human dignity. As a legal standard adopted through the United Nations, universal human rights represent the consensus of the international community, by stressing on the need concerning the promotion of human rights and human freedoms through a better understanding of traditional values of humankind. A better understanding of traditional values shared by all humanity and embodied in universal human rights instruments contributes to promoting and protecting human rights and human freedoms.

Nevertheless a misunderstanding and abuse of said traditional values has been the reason of averse treatment and multi-dimensional discrimination of many people, thus resulting in being in direct conflict with human rights and in many cases resulted in violations of said rights. Reluctantly in many national and regional realities the so-called protection of ‘traditional values’ became the pretext for hate, violent hate crimes, fear, and multi-dimensional discrimination on the base of ethnic, gender, religious, disability, towards migrants, and other grounds; moreover the institutionalisation of such discrimination and hate fosters more hate, violence, and fear, not only towards members of a minority community or migrants, but also towards their families, friends, and neighbours. Therefore there is a consistent amount of misunderstanding, and it is time to dig deeper into understanding human rights and traditional values, and how they relate to each other.

Why Georgia is important in 2014?
Georgia is one of the former USSR states that gained independence in 1991. Since the 27th of April 1999 Georgia has been a member of the Council of Europe, which encouraged the country to smoothly transpose human rights into national law, however not all human rights values were embraced by the majority of the Georgian society. In a country, in which people mainly identify as homogenous, and as Christian Orthodox, the perception of human rights is in transition. Ways to build bridges between human rights and traditional values are being explored amongst the civil society in Georgia. This conference builds on that exploration.

UNITED Conferences
This particular UNITED conference provides an excellent opportunity for collaboration, discussions, sharing ideas, and experiences that can be furthered at regional and European level discussions in order to building bridges between the realities of today and the opportunities of tomorrow. The conference will be taking place in Georgia, giving a great opportunity to participants coming from a variety of backgrounds -from grassroots activists to experts in minority rights- to discuss and influence regional and pan-European policies on non-discrimination and minorities protection.

Working methods
Debates, workshops, trainings, presentations, political cafés, icebreakers, information market, cultural activities, excursions, open forum, sharing good practices. We use formal and non-formal working methods.

Conference prepared by:
• ACICC – Centre for Interethnic Cooperation & Consultations (GE)
• Georgia School Students Unions Alliance (GE)
• World of Tolerance (GE)
• Union of Kurdish Youth of Georgia (GE)
• Center for Civil Liberties (UA)
• Youth Center Jajce (BH)
• Forum of European Muslim Youth & Student Organisations
• Minority Rights Group – Eastern Partnership Minorities Network
• UNITED for Intercultural Action

UNITED network conferences
Twice a year, at the UNITED network conferences, antiracist and human rights activists from all parts of Europe meet and discuss effective ways of combating racism and discrimination. At a recent UNITED conference held in October 2013 near Prague (CZ) 75 participants from 32 countries looked at specific issues related to hate and populism in Europe and developed strategies.

This event is made possible with the financial support of
• European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
• Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union
• Open Society Foundations
• Children and Youth Development Fund Georgia
• Minority Rights Group – Minorities Network Eastern Partnership

The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the position nor the opinion of our sponsors.
Sponsors are not to be held responsible for any use that may be made of it.

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