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UNITED Berlin Conference Report – Day 4

The last day of the conference continued to focus on how to implement strategies in our NGO activities, including reporting of hate crimes and cooperating with various actors like law enforcement bodies,government institutions and the media.

OSCE/ODIHR GUIDE: GOVERNMENTS WORK WITH HATE CRIME VICTIMSIMG_3779

In an introductory presentation on OCSE Reporting Mechanism and then two parallel workshops, James Stockstill and Ales Hanek  from OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions & Human Rights explained the importance of developing adequate mechanisms for reporting and the impact that reporting hate crimes to the OSCE has. By means of reporting, civil society organizations are in a better position to put pressure on law enforcement and politicians and expose discrepancies between what countries have legislatively pledged to do and what actually happens on a day-to- day basis. The OSCE compiles regular reports and publications, and this compilation of data also enables supports to develop tools for the individual needs of victims of biased motivated violent crimes.

IMPLEMENTING A VICTIM-CENTERED APPROACH INTO OUR NGO ACTIVITIES

Once again, parallel sessions explored practical tools on how to implement a victim-centered approach in our daily NGO work.

When it comes to working with police and law-enforcements bodies, some of the most useful piece of advice that was pointed out was the importance of bearing in mind the hierarchical structure of the police force and the dichotomy between procedural training (usually under the jurisdiction of the police force itself) and sensitivity training, which is where activists can be of particular help.

The workshop focusing on media explored the relationship between NGOs and journalists in order to report hate crime, racism and human rights stories in a more effective way. It was discussed that journalists have less time and resources so on many occasions NGOs need to supply them with stories and information. However, sometimes NGOs and journalists overreact when presenting stories and this can make them less trustworthy. In order to contribute to a factual, empathetic and coherent reporting about victims, NGOs need to build relations with the media, share relevant information with them and provide them with accurate and relevant cases (including also inviting journalists to their activities and meet them in person).

Another workshop attempted to tackle the difficulties when working with and in communities. The following questions were raised to which participants shared practical methods to tackle: How can monitoring be beneficial for communities? How can we strengthen communities in dealing with hate crime? How can you win the trust of the community? How can we build connection with communities? What to do if your strategies to advocate and trainings with authorities are not successful? What could work except social support? How do we work if here are no advocacy groups? What is our legitimacy working with these communities?

DSC04098CREATE THE FUTURE OF UNITED!

The afternoon was facilitated by the Campaign Preparatory Group’s (CPG) members, who collected input from the participants on how to design the 2018 campaigns of UNITED. First, 2017 campaigns were evaluated, then based on the lessons learnt and the current needs of the organisations and responding to the trends in Europe, ideas were shared for focus points, slogans and designs for the next year. Special emphasis was given to incorporating victims’ perspectives into the following campaigns. Ideas then were shared in the following plenary session and insights were discussed from participants of the parallel working groups.

OPEN FORUM – SPEAK YOUR MIND

The conference was officially closed by the last two sessions where participants could openly share contributions, where participants could hear about a successful project of one of the NGO representatives.

This was followed by the evaluation session and the official closing of the conference.