Dialogue on fundamental human rights

Last Friday, November 13, 2020, an online conference on fundamental human rights was held, organized by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. Around 150 people were allowed to participate freely, who were able to address issues, which have an impact directly on their daily lives.

The person on the Agency’s side who was giving answers to the questions was Michael O’Flaherty, its director.

The main points of reference for this conference were the following:

  • Lack of equipment and internet to have equal access to education – COVID-19 forced educational systems in Europe to adopt online methods of education – online classrooms, assignments, and homework. This resulted in a problem because each student needs to have access to the Internet or a device that is suitable for attending online classes, which is almost impossible. The differences between the social groups is felt and seen much more due to inequality in terms of financial opportunity to have the needed equipment and environment for online learning. The main point of reference was the need for a fair education that meets the interests of all students.
  • The topic of decision-making was a focus on the conference. To be more accurate – the decision-makers should include the group for which they are talking about in the conversation, so the decisions which are taken afterward are needed and precise. Young people and government coming together – this is an approach based on young people’s rights and equality, continuity. By using research, the essence of a given affected group can be extracted so that those who are stakeholders can resolve the issues in the best way possible.
  • Another problem that was presented by the participants was fake news and lack of transparency in the dissemination of information. Digital literacy has been raised as a key to stopping hate speech online – a public need and a fundamental right (distinguishing fake from real and quality news).
  • The LGBTIQ + community was also widely discussed, as it is very often discriminated against and excluded from various normative acts and rights, which are otherwise a standard for equality and democracy in heterosexual entities. Example: the possibility of same-sex marriage, which automatically excludes inheritance after a sudden death, where the partner is not mentioned in the will or that 1 child has 2 parents with the same gender, and etc. The best solution to this problem is ​​introducing a class in the school related to different sexual orientations so that everyone who is not heterosexual is perceived as the plane of others and as a normal part of society, not as a problem. The younger a person is, the more tolerant he is to the differences. Hatred builds up over time, and the main role has the environment in which one develops.
  • From this, we continue to the next problem, which is structural racism. Here we are talking about religion, skin color, and etc. Representatives of Muslim society shared their experience in the presence of racism when wearing a burqa. They shared that it often happens that they do not want to leave their home because they are being laughed at or because other people avoid them. The examples were from Austria, but there are many other countries in the European Union where the same phenomenon can be observed. We need to recognize racism in us and get rid of it – this is the first step (the personal one). Society is a problem – you do it with people (the object of racism), not for people.
  • Fighting antagonism – The EU must stop building walls, it must start listening to the voices of young people.
  • For many women – home is not a safe place – increase in domestic violence, 1 in 3 women victims – Be it at home or other forms of violence
  • Another important thing in the discussion was for the EU to ban unpaid internships and introduce a minimum wage threshold for interns. The problem with unpaid traineeships comes from the fact that people with little financial support want to seek and gain experience, it is not possible to go to unpaid traineeships, as this often means that they have to live in a new place and do not have the minimum profit to cover the cost of living. In the modern world, the private sector wants the candidate fo to have previous experience in the field of work, but this is nearly impossible if you do not attend somewhere as a trainee/intern.
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