Non-Governmental Organisations

Round table on “Civil society: a key player for living together”, Strasbourg, 10 October 2012, organised by the Conference of INGOs in the framework of the World Forum for Democracy

The arrival of new citizens by way of migration movements is constantly enriching our societies. Yet some see this influx as a direct threat to social cohesion and economic stability. This anxiety, which makes them react defensively by stigmatising groups branded “alien”, fosters rising intolerance and discrimination.

Defining a single cultural identity exclusive of others may seem a reassuring response to this phenomenon, but it proves above all discriminatory towards an entire part of the citizens who cannot altogether identify with it. For enhanced communal living, it therefore appears more and more necessary to think about original blueprints for societies that would accommodate each person’s specificities while being built on absolute respect for fundamental rights and rule of law, as advocated by the Group of Eminent Persons of the Council of Europe.

The causes of the failure of policies targeting ethnic and cultural minorities should also be carefully analysed. Further considering that they may be partly linked with the absence of an equal and effective partnership between the different players, intercultural dialogue becomes a crucial concept for this debate, not as an end in itself but as a means to mutual enrichment and better social cohesion.

Partiicpants in the round table, were invited to identify the role which the different players performed in addressing these issues and the initiatives which could be mounted. In that perspective, the Conference of INGOs aided reflection by presenting its recently published Dialogue Toolkit.

Dialogue Toolkit