Between October 25th and 30th, 2013, another conference of UNITED took place in Prague. Its topic was “Wipe Out Hate! UNITED in Solidarity.” It was already the third UNITED conference to which the European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) was invited.
This time a particular attention was paid to populism and the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, which will be held between 22nd and 25th of May, 2014. Political and social situation indicates that political parties more often use populist methods. Issues associated with economic problems and Nazi slogans are used by parties in order to get more votes, at the same time not paying attention to human rights issues. What happened in Greece or Hungary might be a beginning of a wave of hatred of immigrants, minority groups and other groups at risk on a political level.
Taking into consideration possible scenarios of the rise of extremism, the most important subject remains to be the elections to the European Parliament. Inhabitants of countries in which there is a strenuous economic situation are more prone to influence of ideologies fundamentally conservative and often do not feel to be citizens of the European Union. Right wing parties use nationalist climate within countries in order to present the UE as an enemy wanting to exploit them rather than support and unite. It is only solidarity and awareness of the electorate that can ensure rational representation of human rights interests on the European level.
A great example of solidarity of participants of the conference was an improvised protest in the centre of Prague during which representatives of various NGOs from all over Europe expressed their support for Rom communities in Czech Republic. The protest also drew attention of the city’s inhabitants, tourists as well as local media, which were broadcasting the happening in the news.
Lawyer’s assistant Ewelina Baliko represented the EFHR at the UNITED conference. The EFHR is certain that new contacts, beliefs and ideas inspired by this international event will help in achieving EFHR’s aim of improving human rights in Lithuania.