Paris, January 2016 – Through the project “Just & Safer Cities for All”, which is co-financed by the European Union’s Directorate General Justice, the European Forum for Urban Security is renewing its commitment to work against all forms of discriminatory violence. Of duration of 24 months, the project starts this month of January.
Violent manifestations of intolerance have a deep impact on cohesion in Europe, notably because they are contrary to Europe’s very values and principles. However, they do not reflect the opinion of the majority of citizens, quite the contrary. According to the latest Eurobarometer poll on European citizens’ perception of issues and public policies related to discrimination in 2015, we are increasingly comfortable with those groups of population that are exposed to discrimination. However, our level of acceptation is not the same depending on which group is targeted, and we are less tolerant towards Muslims, Roma, and transgender and transsexual people.
It is thus important to act at all levels of governance to maintain social stability. Since they are the level of governance closest to citizens, local authorities and cities can play an important role in preventing violence and intolerant behaviours. Indeed, local authorities member of Efus reaffirmed, in the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis, their vision of a “Europe open to the world”, in compliance with rules and the law, which benefits fully from the diversity of its population.
A project to strengthen the role of local elected officials against discrimination
As part of its role to support locally global security policies according to the needs of citizens, Efus seeks through the “Just & Safer Cities for All” project to raise awareness among local elected officials and to use their mandate and influence to fight all acts of discriminatory violence. The objective is to promote tolerant cities and to fight racism and discrimination.
The project partners represent eight European countries: the Portuguese association for victim support APAV, the Jagellonian University of Krakow (Poland), the Institute for Research on Conflicts (Institute fuer Konfliktforschung, IKF, Austria), the German association for inter-cultural dialogue Ufuq, and the Belgian, French, Italian and Spanish Forums for urban security.
The first project meeting will be held in Paris on 25 and 26 January: partners will discuss their working methods in order to define the scope of the project. One of the outcomes will be a guidebook for Efus members that will include promising practices gathered in European cities.
Efus is already working on how to follow up on this project, and is looking for funding and to implement pilot projects based on the good practices of European cities.