The conference “Overcome all borders; UNITED against Intolerance” took place from 4 to 9 May 2015 and focused on the intolerance migrants face in Europe with an emphasis on the scapegoating reaction to migration at Southern European borders. The aim of this conference was to create ideas, vision, and strategies to counter this intolerance and the lack of a strong and humane political vision. You can find the report on our Facebook page under May 2015 or take a look at our storify report!
Europe is facing one of the worst moments in recent history. Too many incidents take place related to racism, xenophobia and intolerance to still call them only incidents. 2014 showed alarming data on hate crimes throughout the continent; increasing attention and support gained by xenophobic politicians; an increasing amount of migrants trying to come to Europe by the Mediterranean borders; the difficulties and inhumane situations or death they face; the lack of a humane political view and policy regarding these migrants; on the contrary, the stimulation of migrantophobia and the scape-goating of migrants as if they would be the reason for the economic crises, leading to more hate crimes, more inhumane and discriminating laws, policies, and practices… All this calls for a reaction! We need to change the current mindset of key-stakeholders: media, politicians and decision-makers.
What can we, human rights activists, NGO’s, concerned citizens, do against these developments. Growing mistrust, scapegoating and hate among citizens in Europe undermine social cohesion and pose a threat to the vision of a united inclusive Europe. How can we turn the tide? What can we do to overcome all borders? During the UNITED Conference near Malaga, we analyzed and discussed the different borders raised for migrants in order to come to strategies to counter them. We focused on the political, social and economical situation of migrants, refugees, and minorities and analyzed the threats and dangers they encounter on a daily basis, from discrimination and hate speech to hate crimes, legal problems and lack of social security.
Our aim was to explore the current situation in Europe and to develop strategies in order to advocate for migrants rights and against intolerance. We worked on strategies in order to address media, local communities, local and international level politicians, and vulnerable groups
About the context in Spain
During the last fifteen years more than five million migrants have arrived in Spain. They are still arriving, most of them arrive by plane from Latin America, many others enter across the southern borders risking their lives to reach Europe.
In spite of the hard economical crisis that people are facing, the Spanish civil society has managed to stop right wing xenophobic populism for the moment. Nevertheless, the neo-Nazi movement in Spain is strong and often involved in hate crimes and (online) hate speech.
What can you expect from this conference?
Considering this complex situation, our conference created a platform to:
- share ideas and vision to provide counter-arguments to populist discourse against migrants and refugees;
- and find (campaigning) strategies to put equality and solidarity at the centre of political discourse(s) in Europe
Participants had the opportunity to get involved in our campaigns against extremist and populist parties and movements. We tackled questions such as: What can you do against intolerance, racism, and xenophobia? How can you become active on a European level or in your own country? How can you get involved in our European campaign?
We offered practice and theory. A series of methods, trainings, lectures, (political) debates for people from all over Europe: the EU, Russia, Balkans and Caucasus.
UNITED is the largest pan-European anti-racist network of more than 550 organisations. Twice a year, at the UNITED network conferences, antiracist and human rights activists from all over Europe meet and discuss effective ways of combating racism and discrimination. Proceedings from these conferences can be read on the dedicated Facebook page.
The knowledge, expertise, and input of participants was invaluable. 93 participants from 33 European countries worked together on the promotion and protection of all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
Hate Crime training
A special training on Hate Crime by OSCE-ODIHR took place directly after the conference (9 May to 10 May 14:00). The training “Osce training workshop on hate crimes for civil society representatives” discussed the concept of hate crime and provide strategies for NGOs to address and monitor hate crimes.
Debates, workshops, trainings, presentations, political cafés, icebreakers, information market, cultural activities, excursions, open forum, sharing good practices. We use formal and non-formal working methods.
Conference prepared by:
• Movimiento Contra la Intolerancia (E )
• Popular Action Against Impunity (E)
• National Integration Centre – Society Integration Foundation (LV)
• No Borders Project – Social Action Center (UA)
• One World Association – SCI Poland – St. Jeden Swiat (PL)
• Vereinigung Verfolgten des Naziregimes – Bundesgeschaftsstelle (D)
• ZARA – Zivilcourage und Antirassismus Arbeit (A)
• UNITED for Intercultural Action
UNITED network conferences
Twice a year, at the UNITED network conferences, antiracist and human rights activists from all parts of Europe meet and discuss effective ways of combating racism and discrimination. At a recent UNITED conference held in October 2014 near Borjomi (GE) participants from all over Europe looked at specific issues related to bridging traditional values and fundamental rights.
This event is made possible with the financial support of
• European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
• Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union
• Open Society Foundations
(•) This conference is part of the project “Think Globally – Act Locally: Grassroot Networking and Campaigning Against Racism”, a partnership between UNITED and Greek Council for Refugees, Movimiento contra la Intolerancia and Foundation of Subjective Values, financed by Youth in Action Programme of the European Union, Action 4.6 – Youth support systems.
The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the position nor the opinion of our sponsors.
Sponsors are not to be held responsible for any use that may be made of it.