We hope for a more effective Council of Europe campaign

21 November 2012

Last October two events took place in European Youth Center in Strasbourg: 5-8 October the Youth Assembly of Council of Europe with two representatives from the Centre for Interethnic Cooperation (CIC) taking part – Polina Myakinchenko and Christina Botkina; and 9-12 October a preparatory seminar for a “Youth Against Hate Speech Online” campaign attended by CIC's International Programs Director – Maria Kopelyan. 

The main aim of the Youth Assembly was to reflect on modern democracy processes and on their influence on youth and to conceive common recommendations to the World Democracy Forum that took place in Strasbourg on October 8th.

“Youth Against Hate Speech Online” is a Council of Europe Youth Department’s project planned to be implemented in 2012-2014. The project aims to combat racism and discrimination in the online expression of hate speech by equipping young people and youth organizations with the competences necessary to recognize and act against such human rights violations. The project “Youth Against Hate Speech Online” will be constructed using the experience of European-wide “All Different – All Equal” youth campaign and on tools and abilities of young people and youth organizations working online.

Here lies our deep concern. The previous “All Different – All Equal” campaign was quite ineffective in Russia as was carried out through official governmental structures without engaging actual youth and student organizations. There’s also a strategic mistake in this new campaign – the engagement of the commercial company without experience in the required field for the development of online part of the campaign. This fact was partially corrected dew to the opportunity of the Preparatory seminar participants to discuss and rework it. This time we are honored that our representative Maria Kopelyan took part in the Preparatory seminar, and very actively participated in one of the working groups sharing the experience of our organization. Among the recommendations for the new campaign this group proposed: carrying out of trainings for trainers; carrying out of trainings for campaign activists on local level by means of local NGOs; carrying out of special lessons in schools by means of campaign activists; special work with teachers/Ministry of Education employees/representatives of local authorities responsible for youth work.

For 15 years the Center for Interethnic Cooperation is active in the field of youth work organizing trainings, seminars and conferences, including big international ones (Moscow, Petrozavodsk, Anapa). The CIC projects were supported by the European Commission and the Embassies of the US, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany etc. Unfortunately, the Russian authorities and Russian Funds have never supported any of our activities.

Center for Interethnic Cooperation
PO Box 8
127055 Moscow
Tel./Fax: +7(499) 973-12-47, 972-68-07