International conference against racism and violence


Between 27 and 30 November in Voronezh took place international conference titled “The development of international civil initiatives against racism and violence in Russia and Russian-speaking countries”. More than 60 people from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, South Ossetia, Lithuanian, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Turkey and Scythia participated in conference.

In the capital of so called Black Soil Region (Chernozemie) assembled representatives of wide range of civil and youth human rights movements who deal with problems of racism, discrimination and hatred. Furthermore teachers, representatives of educational departments and regional bodies for youth, student activists, groups for minorities rights and many more concerned about issues above-mentioned were present. In the conference participated, as well, experts - among others from Moscow Helsinki Group, Anne Frank’s House (Netherland), “Human library”, cartoons festival “ComMission”- representing international youth network, which has been set up against racism and intolerance.

Next, the role of organizers was played by the international Youth Human Rights Movement, European network “UNITED for intercultural action”, international network “Society and army” supported by Foreign Affairs of Netherland and Human Rights House (Voronezh).

In such an international environment participants shared experience and methods of non-violence resistance against xenophobia, discriminations and nationalism increase. Those presents introduced various examples of how to raise social awareness concerning all those negative phenomenas, for instance “Human library”, “Respect” (cartoons regarding mutual respect), audiovisual aid using etc.
Spontaneously intense debates was triggered off in results of critics of multicultural politics in many countries. Honorary President of YHRM Andrey Yurov said that contemporary social institutes and associations have no power and potential to inspire ordinary citizens to create their own structures. Historian and philosopher Dmitry Dubrovsky explained the source of multicultural dialogue and the coordinator of social initiative “Citizen and army” Sergey Krivenko talked about the need for work on minimilizing social support for armed conflicts within many societies.

As a part of conference there were established working groups like Projects and Initiatives for Peace, Non-Racist Education for Adults, Educating and Informing Actions for Youth, International Campaign and Solidarity amongst Activists, Enlightening Art-Portraits.

Despite the methods used during the conference, the representatives of various environments also discussed about emerging challenges in the modern World. Particularly, first of all mentioned conflict in South Ossetia.

The fundamental achievement of the conference is continuation of mutual cooperation between participants.

Conference was organized as a part of the project “Civil organizations serving society: youth actions against racism, nationalism and xenophobia and for human rights and intercultural dialogue”, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Netherlands) in the scope of the MATRA program.