Protecting human rights and empowering vulnerable groups, such as minorities and the Roma population, is a specific concern for the Grants in many of the beneficiary countries.
Social inclusion for the Roma
The Roma are one of Europe’s largest and most disadvantaged minorities. To improve the situation of the Roma, targeted programmes are being established in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Programmes will address school attendance and teaching of the Romany language, access to healthcare, access to and fair treatment in the justice system, tolerance and anti-discrimination. Additionally, NGO funds will channel support to civil society organisations to improve the situation of the Roma. In Romania 10% of the allocation to relevant programmes and in Bulgaria 10 % of the total allocation should benefit the Roma.
Combating gender-based violence
The Council of Europe (CoE) estimates that one-fifth to one-quarter of all women in Europe have experiences violence at least once during their lives. Specific programmes addressing gender-based violence are supported in seven beneficiary countries. Roma and migrant women are target groups for several programmes.
Related to this issue, is the issue of gender equality in general. Programmes promoting this will be established in six countries and women and gender equality are mainstreamed into programmes for civil society, research and health and domestic violence prevention in several countries.
Combating discrimination and hate speech
The EEA and Norway Grants cooperate with the Council of Europe in promoting the values of democracy, tolerance and the rule of law. As an increasing part of public discourse happens on the internet, these values also have to be promoted online.
The EEA and Norway Grants support Council of Europe’s Europe-wide project that will see young people tackling online hate speech and its spread through social media. How to tackle intolerance and hate speech online while respecting freedom of speech was the topic of a conference in Budapest in November 2012. Preceding the conference was a workshop aiming to train young bloggers and online human rights activists about hate speech online and prepare them to play an active role in addressing it at national and European level.
Promoting democratic values and fighting discrimination, intolerance and social exclusion are central to the NGO programmes. We will also work through these programmes supported in 16 countries across central and southern Europe, and other relevant programmes to raise awareness and mobilise action against cyber hate. Additionally, we will engage to improve reporting and documentation on hate speech and how to combat it.