Human Rights as the Means of Involving Young People in Community Affairs

December 21, 2009

Donor: Olof Palmes International Centrum

Duration of project: January 2009 – December 2009

This project consists of two modules. Module I was conducted from January until July 2009 and the goal was to provide specific education to high school students in three towns in Serbia, Uzice, Sabac and Kovacica. This Module included 150 young people, age 16 – 19 that have received training in human rights, environmental issues and involvement in the decision making process in their local communities. The result of this part of Module I was creation and implementation of local campaigns on environmental issues by students who have attended the trainings.The BCHR project team organised and held 3 interactive seminars in March and April 2009. These seminars were designed as an introduction to human rights and environmental rights and issues and included debates on burning issues in these fields. After their completion, two groups comprised of four students in each town were selected to take part in the next stage of the project – the preparations for campaigning on chosen environmental topics. The pupils, who have taken part in this stage, were selected on the basis of the quality of their campaign ideas which all groups were obliged to write in the two weeks following the completion of the seminars in their towns. Each team also conducted a poll in its local community after the seminar and defined environmental problems or issues commanding the greatest local interest.

BCHR team worked with selected participants (teams) on designing and presenting local campaigns. Throughout this period, BCHR focused its work with the teams on campaign design and implementation, notably  “problem definition”, “concept”, “strategy”, “target group to be promoted”, “campaign target group”, “campaign target – overview and marketing”, “role of spokesperson”, “importance of each role in the team”, “use of technical devices”, special attention was given using of media and internet for local campaigns.

Advanced workshop for participants was held in Belgrade on 2 May 2009 (topics: PR and Communication, Lobbying and Advocacy, Media and Campaigns and the workshop Internet and Campaigns). This stage of the project lasted until the end of June. Selected teams were given funds as it was envisaged by the project, for conducting campaigns in local communities. On 27th of June 2009, final event of the Module I took place in Belgrade. Selected teams from 3 towns came and held presentations of campaigns they implemented. Members of the wining team (4 of them from Uzice), were awarded laptop computers.

Module II was devoted to providing training for future human rights trainers. It involved 31 young people, future decision makers that have undergone an advanced training in human rights implantation and advocating. The Belgrade Centre made sure that courses have a multicultural component and gender balance. This programme has been and still is vital for education on human rights of future experts in Serbia, and as such, has been a part of our annual activities ever since the foundation of Belgrade Centre for Human Rights.

The Project Team selected participants on the basis of their CV, motivation letters and personal interviews. The team paid attention to include vulnerable groups, primarily women and national minorities. Training for Trainers – School of Human Rights was held from 19th until 29th November 2009 in the Centre for Cultural Decontamination in Belgrade.

Programme comprised of over 40 lectures, debates, trials simulations and presentations. Participants had the opportunity to listen to and debate with the eminent domestic and international experts in human rights, international law and international relations and law of international organisations (CoE, OSCE, EU, UN, ICC, ICTY, ECtHR), human security, the judiciary, politics, environment, media, art and culture… In drafting the programme the special emphasis was placed on the burning issues in Serbia.

The participants were provided with the various printed and multimedia materials. The Reader comprised of documents and texts selected by lecturers were distributed. Students were also given list of all of the publications of the Belgrade Centre they could chose additional books according to their subjects of interest.