Focus

Council of Europe Development Bank celebrates 60 years helping vulnerable people

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković 

The plight of asylum-seekers in limbo on the Greek island of Lesbos has been making media headlines. The lucky few rescued by Pope Francis have escaped over-crowded, makeshift camps, without clean water, necessary medicines or access to legal advice. Behind the scenes, to help the small island’s authorities cope with the influx of asylum seekers and migrants, two new accommodation centres are being built, with a 2 million euro loan from the Council of Europe Development Bank. The centres will provide 100 much-needed places, with 40 reserved for unaccompanied children. They are due to be finished by the autumn. This is just one of the projects supported by the Development Bank, which has spent the last 60 years investing in projects that foster social inclusion and help Europe’s most vulnerable people. It is Europe’s oldest multilateral development bank and the only one with an entirely social purpose.
Article published on NEWEUROPE website.


Education is the key to tackling disenchantment with democracy

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković 

People living in deprived areas in Europe often complain that our societies offer them nothing; no job, no future, no hope. Whether or not this is true, we ignore them at our peril. We must fill this empty space with real opportunities and a positive vision of a strong, fair and inclusive Europe, in which everyone can live together in peace.
Article published on NEWEUROPE website..

 


Children want social justice and an end to violence – we must listen to them

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković 

The Council of Europe is about to publish an overview of children’s opinions and priorities – based on more than 100 studies from across Europe – which reveals that children focus, first and foremost, on fundamental needs, not passing fads and desires. They want social justice and an end to violence, bullying and discrimination. Education is a priority, as well as families having enough money for food, housing and health care. Children want to be consulted, taken seriously and to influence their own care, budgetary decisions ...

Article published on NEWEUROPE website..


Sexist hate speech is a human rights violation and must be stopped

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković 

Misogynistic and sexist hate speech is rampant in Europe.
It happens both in the street and through daily interactions, as well as online, via emails, websites and social media – the aim being to humiliate and objectify women, destroy their reputations and make them vulnerable, ashamed and fearful. It is frequently glorified and can be extreme, even sadistic. ...

Article published on NEWEUROPE website..

Refugees and migrants can help build inclusive European societies

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković


In 2016, let us embrace the migrants fleeing war, torture and abject misery to seek sanctuary and refuge in Europe.
The distraught faces of families who have survived the treacherous sea passage to reach safety tell us what we need to know; no-one risks their life and the lives of their children unless they sense death at their heels. ...

Article published on NEWEUROPE website..


New international treaty to protect patients from counterfeit and falsified medicines

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković


Trafficking of counterfeit or falsified medicines and medical devices is a multi-billion euro business which puts vulnerable patients’ health and lives at risk the world over. . ...

Article published on NEWEUROPE website..


Building inclusive societies is our best defence against terrorism

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković


Just two weeks after the Paris terrorist atrocities, the world is still in mourning.
Many are concerned about further attacks, further stigmatisation of Muslims or refugees, or all three. Many are asking what can be done to stop the terrorists. ...

Article published on NEWEUROPE website.



Democracy is the “only way” to protect freedom and ensure security in Europe

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković


The doors of Europe’s courts close in women’s faces every day. Why?
Judging from the headlines, Europe appears to be lurching from one crisis to another: economic, geopolitical, technological, military. The gut reaction of many politicians is to build more walls around, and within, “fortress Europe” and give greater powers to the security services.
But that is not the whole answer. We must avoid knee-jerk reactions. Walls create division and conflict. And we have seen a few examples of what the secret services can do beneath the cloak of “national security”: from mass surveillance, to extraordinary renditions, extra judicial executions and torture of “suspects” imprisoned without charge. ...

Article published on NEWEUROPE website.



The justice jigsaw that cuts out women

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković


The doors of Europe’s courts close in women’s faces every day. Why?
There are a multitude of obstacles: taboos, prejudices, stereotypes, customs, ignorance and even the laws themselves.
Taken together, they are pieces in an enormous jigsaw which show just how difficult it can be for women to access justice...

Article published on NEWEUROPE website.



New ethical approach to combat widespread corruption in education

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković

Widespread corruption is not confined to politics and big business; it exists in education, even in Europe’s mature democracies, touching every level of education in every European state.

Article published on NEWEUROPE website.


Combating the new slave trade – 10th anniversary of Europe’s anti-trafficking convention

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković

 

In 2012 the number of victims of forced labour and sexual exploitation was estimated at 20.9 million, up from 12.3 million in 2005 (ILO)."

Article published on NEWEUROPE website.


50th anniversary of pioneering scheme behind Europe’s only biodiversity treaty

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković 
"In the run-up to the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, later this year, pressure is mounting on governments to take radical action to safeguard the environment."

Article published on NEWEUROPE website.


Pioneering work on democratic competences to transform the way we live and work

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković

“We all need democratic and intercultural competences; that is, the values, attitudes, skills, knowledge and critical understanding that enable us to participate effectively in today’s diverse democracies...”

Article published on NEWEUROPE website.


More information on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights website

See also the Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters website




Reclaim Feminism on International Women’s Day

Article by the Council of Europe’s Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković

One of the themes adopted for next International Women’s Day is ‘make it happen’. More than a century after the first Women’s Day took place, we might ask why it isn’t already happening, why that bedrock of gender inequality is still firmly in place. Thankfully, glass ceilings are – occasionally – broken, but deep-seated beliefs, attitudes and behaviour patterns are still undermining the legal and political advances in gender equality.

More

Article also published on NEWEUROPE website.




European governments urged to invest more in education to curb extremism

Responding to the recent terrorist attacks in France, Director General of Democracy Snežana Samardžić-Marković urges European governments to invest more in education to curb extremism in the following article.

For more information on the Council of Europe’s work on education please see the Education webpage

See also the No Hate Speech Movement webpage.




Report on the linguistic integration of adult migrants

A new Council of Europe report confirms that adult migrants are increasingly being required to pass language tests for residence, citizenship and sometimes even admission.

Press release

Report.







Shared histories is an interactive e-book gathering a set of exemplar teaching and learning materials, primarily intended for use in teacher training.
The e-book, which is the collective work of European history educators, explores ideas related to the concept of shared histories.
It lays the emphasis on shared experiences rather than different interpretations of the same event. It explores the idea that your history is also our history and likewise our history is also the history of the other, although this does not mean that it is not multifactorial – “shared” does not mean “the same as”.
This project explores shared ideas within the universe of differences and recognises that all experiences, including conflicts, are shared.

It is available free – on http://shared-histories.coe.int – in English, with certain elements in French.
Governments are invited to fund the translation of the e-book into their national languages.

Leaflet
E-Book
Press release


 Launch of ground-breaking inter-active e-book "Shared Histories for a Europe without dividing lines" (5 May 2014) E-book Shared Histories

Shared histories is an interactive e-book gathering a set of exemplar teaching and learning materials, primarily intended for use in teacher training.
The e-book, which is the collective work of European history educators, explores ideas related to the concept of shared histories.
It lays the emphasis on shared experiences rather than different interpretations of the same event. It explores the idea that your history is also our history and likewise our history is also the history of the other, although this does not mean that it is not multifactorial – “shared” does not mean “the same as”.
This project explores shared ideas within the universe of differences and recognises that all experiences, including conflicts, are shared.

It is available free – on http://shared-histories.coe.int – in English, with certain elements in French.
Governments are invited to fund the translation of the e-book into their national languages.

Leaflet
E-Book
Press release

Roma
RomaMaking Human Rights for Roma a reality

Several events and important developments will mark the following weeks within the activities of the Support Team of the Special Representative, and particularly within the Joint Programmes ROMED and ROMACT.
Launched in 2013, the second phase of the ROMED2 Programme and the ROMACT Programme are being implemented at an intensive pace.
On the 27th and 28th March 2014, the National Teams involved in the ROMED2 and ROMACT Programmes, from Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Ukraine, and “the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia”, gathered in Strasbourg at the European Youth Center to discuss progress made so far in their respective countries, as well steps to be taken forward.
The 1st of April 2014 marks the prolongation of the commitment of both Council of Europe and European Commission in the implementation of the ROMED2 Programme until the end of March 2015, another year where the participation of Roma citizen at local level continues to be encouraged through mediation. For more information on developments in ROMED2 programme, please visit http://coe-romed.org or our facebook page.
The Council of Europe also provided the opportunity to around 50 Roma representatives to attend the EU’s 3rd Roma Summit, taking place in Bruxelles on 4 April 2014, where EU Commissioners, Heads of States and other European important figures took stock of progress made on Roma inclusion in the European Union since the last Roma summit in 2010.

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Beat bullying!

Bullying in schoolsThe role of citizenship and human rights education

Bullying in schools is a worldwide problem that can have negative consequences for the general school climate and for the right of students to learn in a safe environment without fear. Bullying is the consequence of aggressive behaviour that has to be stopped and prevented.
Education for democratic citizenship and human rights plays a crucial role in raising awareness and promoting the respect of human dignity and social cohesion among learners and educators.
There is something that can be done about bullying.

To find more information:

- Watch the Council of Europe's film 'Beat Bullying'
- Website of the education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights


Campaign
No hate speech movementNo Hate Speech Movement

An overflow of xenophobia, intolerance and discrimination inundates cyberspace: Hate Speech online has recently turned into a major form of human rights abuse, with serious consequences both online and offline. Spreading, inciting, justifying or promoting expressions of hatred amongst young people on internet has become a pressing challenge for today’s societies. The Council of Europe’s answer to these compelling threats is the Youth project on combating Hate Speech Online, an initiative aiming at fighting racism and discrimination in the online articulation of hate speech

- More