On 13 December 2013, representatives of the European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) took part in a meeting of leading NGOs campaigning for human rights protection and fighting discrimination in Baltic states. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Lithuanian Human Rights League, Lithuanian Human Rights Association, Association Centre for Research and Protection of Fundamental Rights from Lithuania, Latvian Human Rights Committee, Legal Information Centre for Human Rights from Estonia, and the European Foundation of Human Rights. The special guest was Serg Kollwelter, the honorary chairman of the European Association for the Defence of Human Rights (AEDH), which gathers together organisations defending human rights in various European countries. The Foundation was represented by lawyer Waldemar Guzowski and trainee Irena Klimowa.
Among the discussed questions were the situation of national minorities in Baltic states, issues concerning the acquisition of the EU citizenship, and the general problem of civic participation in public life. Another hugely important topic was the approaching elections to the European Parliament, which takes place in May 2014. One of the organisation’s ideas was to perform a joint action simultaneously in all three of the Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – on March 4. Its aim would be to draw attention to the current state of human rights in these countries, and to generate greater involvement of their citizens in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament.
The EFHR believes that such meetings, held at international level, are an extremely important step for all organisations dealing with human rights protection. In our opinion, only cooperation and joint efforts allow us to reach substantial numbers of people, and to improve the current state of the recognition of human rights. The EFHR is very pleased with the success of the meeting, and looks forward to future joint projects.
Translated by Natalia Kosecka within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, ww.efhr.eu.