OSCE/ODIHR event at European Parliament highlights role of civil society coalitions in responding to anti-Semitism, discrimination and intolerance
The role of civil society coalitions in addressing anti-Semitism was the focus of an event organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), in co-operation with the European Parliament’s Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI), on 16 and 17 June 2016 in Brussels.
Sixty-four participants from 18 OSCE participating States and Israel, a Mediterranean Partner for Co-operation discussed best practices and challenges in building sustainable civil society coalitions to improve governmental responses to anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination and intolerance.
“Civil society plays a crucial role in supporting governments in their efforts to prevent and respond to all forms of discrimination,” said Cristina Finch, Head of ODIHR’s Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Department. “By working together in broad, inclusive and diverse coalitions, they can jointly develop policies, strategies and assistance that effectively address anti-Semitism, discrimination and intolerance, and thereby expand the scope and impact of their work.”
Soraya Post, Member of the European Parliament, Co-President ARDI, said: “Europe is strongest when it protects its diversity, tolerance and openness. Having spent many years as activist working on coalition building between different groups, I know what an empowered civil society can do to prevent and address hate crimes and discrimination. We must keep investing in those networks and people, across Europe.”
The event was organized as part of ODIHR’s “Turning words into action to address anti-Semitism” project, which aims at equipping government officials, parliamentarians and civil society actors with tools to improve the security situation of Jewish communities, counter anti-Semitism through education, and promote tolerance through inclusive civil society coalitions. The project is funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.