Remembrance. Responsibility. The Future. These are the sequential steps leading to real changes in society. The future of democracy and tolerance depends on memory and responsibility assumed, allowing for moving forward. A step towards the future–after surveying, judging and adopting expertise from the best initiatives aimed at fighting discrimination–this is the goal of this new start-up project.
The new project is called Development and Publication of Recommendations for Actions to Fight Anti-Semitism and Romophobia in Lithuania.
The project is supported by the Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft foundation or EVZ in Germany. This foundation supports systematic and long-term studies of discrimination against and marginalization of Jews and Roma in Europe.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community has brought together a group of leading experts from among Lithuanian human rights organizations, community activists, academics and specialists from abroad. This group is undertaking to come up with effective and valuable recommendations on actions for fighting anti-Semitism and Romophobia in Lithuania.
This group by the end of the year will prepare a set of recommendations and conclusions on actions which most effectively reach the target groups and have a real impact in spreading tolerance and changing public opinion regarding the Jewish and Roma ethnic minorities, and also for integrating these groups in society. Over the course of the year leading up to the final set of recommendations, the group will initiate research to form those recommendations, looking at academic research and best examples from past practice, examining projects and civic initiatives which have decreased the level of xenophobia in Lithuanian society in the past and present.
The new recommendations will be presented to the EVZ foundation and published at the European-Union level. The EZV foundation will use these recommendations to chart future directions for programs battling anti-Semitism, Romophobia and xenophobia in European states. They will form the foundation for the effective nullification of stereotypes giving rise to intolerance, reduce the separation between ethnic communities and help put a stop to expressions of hate for “the other” in Lithuanian society.
The project will maintain a public information campaign, #AtmintisAtsakomybeAteitis
There will be research on social media, articles in the Lithuanian press and different events aimed at educating the public on the experience of the Roma and Jews during the Holocaust and the spreading of xenophobic myths. Our hope is to expand the public’s understanding of these ethnic minorities, to create fertile ground for discussion, to exchange opinions and also to receive the public’s agreement in implementing anti-discrimination measures and the strengthen society’s will in opposing expressions of intolerance towards the Roma and Jewish communities.
The recommendations compiled will be presented at a final one-day international conference to mark the international day against fascism and anti-Semitism. Hopefully this conference will serve as a forum for expanding dialogue between government institutions and NGOs to share expertise and recommendations to insure the acknowledgement and realization of the rights and freedoms of the ethnic minorities, to strengthen the democratic process and civil society in Lithuania and to teach tolerance.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community is carrying out this project with the following partners:
The cooperation of these organizations is vital to insuring the avoidance of the imperceptible rise of institutional competition over the honoring of the memory of the victims, which is extremely unproductive in the context of guaranteeing universal human rights. The best commemorative practices and educational initiatives should apply historical truth to the task of teaching tolerance, rather than increasing the gap.
We, the organizers of the project, believe it is impossible to come up with effective recommendations in the battle against anti-Semitism and Romophobia without working together closely with specialists from various fields and the Jewish and Roma ethnic communities, who have and continue to experience blatant and latent discrimination of different kinds.
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