Final event of the project “Just and Safer Cities for All”
Discriminatory violence workshop
Efus has organised the final event of the “Just & Safer Cities for All” project. Representing local and national authorities, civil society organisations, polices forces and citizens, around 90 participants Coming from 14 different European Countries took part in this workshop on discriminatory violence. This event was embraced by the three days Efus International Conference “Security, Democracy & Cities: Coproducing Urban Security Policies”, which took place at the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona (DHUB).
Co-organised with the support of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the workshop was divided into two sessions. In the first one, the discussion focused on the priorities to tackle the phenomena of discriminatory violence in the current context. The session was chaired by Antonio Lorenzo, Deputy mayor of the city of Castellón de la Plana and moderated by Niraj Nathwani from the FRA. Joanna Perry, Research fellow and associate lecturer on hate crime at Birkbeck College, University of London; Maribel Ramos, Deputy Director, foundation RAIS fondation; Paul Giannadi, Head of the Cross-Government Hate Crime Programme Department for Communities and Local Government also participated in the discussion. Among the main priorities mentioned were the high levels of under-reporting and the lack of trust of victims in the police and the victims’ feeling of being poorly protected.
During the second session, the discussion focused on the role of local authorities to prevent this kind of violence creating an environment in which discrimination, hate speech and violence are not tolerated. This session was chaired by Dolors Sabater, Mayor of Badalona and moderated by Gemma Pinyol, Expert for Intercultural Cities-Council of Europe. The speakers who participated in this session were: Aida Guillen, Director of Citizenship and Diversity Rights of the Barcelona City Council; Claire Fernandez, Deputy Director – Programmes, European Network Against Racism (ENAR); Piotr Godzisz, Policy, Research & Advocacy Officer, Board Member of Lambda Warszawa; and Jari Taponen Superintendent, Unit for Police Preventive Actions, Helsinki Police Department.
Among the main conclusions are the need of local authorities to work directly with communities and vulnerable groups. NGOs, associations and communities play a complementary role to administrations in accessing vulnerable groups and victims. It is necessary to observe, assess and make a diagnosis of reality and measure the impact of policies, including observatories of discrimination. Real data help change the perception of security, which is often wrong. We must also tackle the invisibility of discrimination for example, against homeless people or young people.
From the discussions promoted during this event and thanks to the previous work carried out during all the events organized within the framework of the project, such as seminars, lunch debates, executive committees of Efus; the conclusions and recommendations to tackle and prevent discriminatory violence at the local level were designed. For the very first time Efus’ Manifesto “Security, Democracy and Cities” includes the topic of discriminatory violence as one of its priorities for urban security. As a political document, the Manifesto presents the recommendations and engagements of Efus’ members for the next 5 years.
Preventing and Countering Discriminatory Violence at the Local Level – 2-3 March 2017, Vienna
In the framework of the Just and Safer Cities for All (JUST) project, Efus has held a series of debates with local elected officials, security practitioners, civil society representatives and youngsters in European cities to discuss the prevention of discriminatory violence at the local level. The was to further discuss and refine recommendations for local stakeholders who wish to implement strategies to counter and prevent hate and intolerance in their territories. What should the role of local authorities be in countering discriminatory violence? What kind of action should they take to prevent it? How can cooperation with law enforcement agencies or victim support organisations be set up or improved? These questions featured prominently in the debates.
This initiative was started in Madrid (Spain) in November 2016 and continued in Vienna (Austria) in March 2017. Efus, with the contribution of the local actors that attended both events, drew up a first draft on the priorities for local authorities’ action and for the prevention of discriminatory violence. The subsequent local debates, were held in other cities in Europe, aimed to include the contributions, perspectives and points of view of local actors from different European countries in these recommendations.
Drafting recommendations for the upcoming Manifesto of Barcelona and Catalonia
The ultimate objective was to work towards ending discriminatory violence in European cities. The recommendations form part of the topical chapters of Efus’ Manifesto of Barcelona and Catalonia which was adopted during Efus’ international conference, Security, Democracy & Cities: Co-producing urban security policies. The manifesto contains considerations, recommendations and engagements for Efus’ local and regional authorities to follow for the next five years in the field of countering discrimination at the local level.
Lunch debate in Madrid (Spain)
…in Brno (Czech Republic)…
On September 19 2017, a lunch debate took place in Brno (Czech Republic) in the framework of their National Crime Prevention Days. The event gathered representatives from the Probation and Mediation Service, from the cities of Brno, Brasov (Romania) and Vienna, academics from the University of Brno, the University of Prague, the Mendel University of Brno, the University of Bratislava (Slovakia) and the Czech Institute of Criminology and Social Prevention.
The project and its recommendations were introduced by Pilar de la Torre, Programme Manager at Efus, and the discussion was launched by Shams Asadi, Head Commissioner for Humans Right of Vienna, who shared the experiences of her city and encouraged participants to react on the recommendations.
The discussion focused around four main issues that are particularly important for local authorities : gaining more knowledge and evidence on the real situation of vulnerable people at the local level; tackling underreporting by gaining the trust of vulnerable citizens; adopting a multidisciplinary approach and involving local actors, including representatives from minorities and civil society organisations, to identify priorities and design appropriate strategies, and lastly, tackling hate speech in social media.
…in Stuttgart (Germany)…
On October 6, another lunch debate was held in Stuttgart (Germany) in the framework of the General Assembly meeting of the German-European Forum for Urban Security (DEFUS). Representatives of the cities of Augsburg, Düsseldorf, Essen, Freiburg, Gelsenkirchen, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Munich, Stuttgart, as well as from the Prevention Council of the Land of Lower Saxony (Landespräventionsrat Niedersachsen) engaged in the discussion.
Efus Programme Manager Moritz Konradi introduced the draft version of the topical recommendations. The lively debate focused on three major topics: Firstly, the participants stressed the need for improved disaggregated statistical data on different phenomena of discriminatory violence. The current lack of such data oftentimes hampers the development of effective prevention strategies and can lead to perceiving discriminatory violence as a marginal issue. Secondly, the participants stated that local authorities can provide important support to the groups affected by discriminatory violence, and many municipalities have already established specialised services and appointed officers who serve as contact points for these local communities. Thirdly, the importance of cooperation with civil society organisations was highlighted, as common efforts and coordination in prevention networks promise the best success in countering phenomena of intolerance and related forms of violence and crime.
…in Barcelona (Spain)…
On November 15 2017 the fourth lunch debate was held in Barcelona, in the framework of Efus international conference Security, Democracy & Cities: Co-producing urban security policies. The participants were 50 youngsters from France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, who joined the conference in the framework of the project Security, Democracy and Youth lead by Efus, as well as the Just and Safer Cities for All project partner. The youngsters were chosen by Efus national fora, member cities or associations that form part of the forum. All of them are involved in municipal crime prevention activities as volunteers, interns or young professional and thus contribute to local prevention strategies on a daily basis.
During the lunch, the partners animated round tables in which the participants engaged with the draft recommendations and discussed their own ideas and priorities on local strategies to prevent hate and intolerance. Many youngsters spoke from their experience with racist hate speech on online social media and proposed strategies to spread alternative narratives and images through social networks like instagram or snapchat. Others highlighted sexist or homophobic discrimination in local sports contexts and proposed projects that involve equality NGOs and sports networks to raise awareness and provide support for affected youngsters. They pointed out that local authorities can play a significant role in coordinating and supporting such efforts.
…and in Paris (France).
To come soon.
Efus wishes to thank all the participants in these debates for sharing.