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(Photos: Schmid/Kenne deine Rechte)

"Stop singing Kum ba yah and lift your butts!"

Students of local schools GIBS / Graz International Bilingual School, School for Social Management and grammar school BG/BRG Klusemannstraße had the chance to meet the Nobel Prize Laureates Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Leymah Gbowee and Jody Williams in the course of the conference Women for Peace on June 3, 2016.

Before the conference the students participated in preparatory intensive workshops held by Simone Philipp and Barbara Schmiedl (ETC Graz) and, with the support of their teachers, prepared posters on the conference topics of sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination of women. Other posters dealt with human rights in general and the implementation of human rights in Graz as a Human Rights City and also showed portraits of the three Nobel Prize Laureates and of author Jennifer Teeger who was also a speaker at the conference. Further the students wrote short statements describing their thoughts and ideas to be published on-line along with their works of art.

During the conference selected posters were shown in the exhibition Women, Peace and Human Rights at the conference venue and the students showed Leymah Gbowee round. Afterwards they used the chance to meet all three activists and ask questions at a Speakers' Corner. The three of them seemed to enjoy the short but very personal exchange with the youth and addressed them in a very motivational manner, best summed up with Jody Williams' words: "Stop singing Kum ba yah, stop writing bad peace poetry, lift your butts and start action!"

Human rights journalists of Kenne deine Rechte, the youth platform of the Human Rights Council of the City of Graz volunteered for the media coverage of the conference. A first contribution written after the news conference and a picture gallery showing the complete exhibition are already on-line, further reports and interviews will follow.

(6 June, 2016)


Exhibition Women, Peace and Human Rights...

Daniela Schmid, I am just a woman...





FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2016: Fundamental rights in times of migration

Over one million people sought refuge in the EU in 2015, a fivefold increase from the year before. In its Fundamental Rights Report 2016, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) examines the scale and nature of the challenge and proposes measures to ensure fundamental rights are respected across.

Last year, the EU’s fundamental rights resolve was sorely tested, with assaults on many of the freedoms, rights and values on which Europe is founded,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty.

This annual Fundamental Rights Report highlights challenges and achievements across a broad spectrum of fundamental rights issues across the EU.

  • With 60 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, the migration situation is set to remain at the top of the EU agenda. The majority of refugees coming to Europe, many of them children, are risking their lives.
  • An upsurge in racist and xenophobic incidents was noted in many Member States, fuelled by fears over the migration situation and a spate of terrorist attacks. FRA’s report finds that Muslims and Jewish communities were particularly affected.
  • The terrorist attacks once again highlighted the difficulty of finding the right balance between protecting personal data and privacy and maintaining internal security. A number of EU Member States are in the process of reforming their legal intelligence framework, which could potentially increase the intrusive powers of the services.

Being the National Contact Point in FRANET the ETC contributed information on the situation in Austria not only to the Fundamental Rights Report that has been presented to the public in Vienna today but also to the  Reports on asylum, migration and borders that have been published regularly (currently: monthly) since October 2015. ETC contributions can also be found in the reports Ensuring justice for hate crime victims: professional perspectives and Professionally speaking: challenges to achieving equality for LGBT people published in spring 2016.

(30 May 2016)




(KU Leuven MOOC/Videostill)

Rerunning the on-line course THE EU AND HUMAN RIGHTS

After a successful first run with over 8,000 participants from more than 170 countries, the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on The EU and Human Rights, which was created in the context of our FRAME research project, will rerun starting 21 June.

Based on the FRAME project (Fostering Human Rights Among European Policies), a large-scale, collaborative research project funded under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the KU University Leuven offers a new on-line course on "The EU and Human Rights". The six-weeks MOOC (Massive Open On-line Course) is intended for anyone interested in human rights and the EU, human rights law, European law, European Studies, international relations, global governance, etc. Students with elementary knowledge of the EU and the concept of human rights will find it easier to follow the lectures.

The course programme comprises the basics of human rights, placing the EU at the centre of investigation. The course will examine a number of key questions:

  • What factors are key to making the EU a positive or a negative force for human rights? An example is the economic crisis: what impact has it had on people’s human rights in the EU and the world?
  • Which actors, friends or foes, must the EU engage with to successfully promote human rights? Examples include NGOs, businesses, or other international organisations like the Council of Europe or the United Nations.
  • In key policy sectors in which the EU is active, what is on balance the impact of the EU? Examples include trade, development, migration social policy or international crisis management.

All of the course activities aim to improve the participants' understanding of how the EU, alone or in combination with other local or global, state or non-state actors, can better promote and uphold human rights worldwide.

Course start: 21 June 2016
Price: Free!

Registration: Open now!



(25 May, 2016)




(Foto: Adpolis)

Kick-off meeting for ADPOLIS-Project - Antidiscrimination policies successfully implemented

The research project ADPOLIS - Antidiscrimination policies successfully implemented (2016-2018) started with a kick-off meeting in Potsdam on 4-5  February 2016 with our research partners from all over Europe and associate partners European Coalition of Citis against Racism (ECCAR) and UNESCO. 

The project aims at encouraging implementation of successful policies against racial discrimination in European cities by facilitating exchange of experience.  

Read more…

The project is co-funded by the European Union (DG Justice, Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, JUST/2014/RDIS/AG/DISC/8084)

(12 February 2016)

(Photos: Möstl/ETC Graz)

Successful Forum on Human Rights Implementation “Focusing on Human Rights” held in Graz on May 28/29, 2015

More than 100 participants, Congress members, politicians, civil servants, academics, collaborators of civil society organisations, from 25 European countries attended the Forum Focusing on Human Rights of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Federal State of Styria, the City of Graz and the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. The Forum was opened by the Congress’ President Jean-Claude Frécon, the Mayor of Graz, Siegfried Nagl and by the Regional Minister for Finance, Women and Integration, Bettina Vollath. All speakers underlined the role of regional and local authorities in the protection and promotion of human rights and stressed that a human rights policy at the level where authorities are closest to citizens, which ensures social cohesion is most appropriate to prevent radicalization in any form.

Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, in his speech focused on concrete examples of local and regional authorities. He pointed out the effectiveness of contextualized action programmes and specific training for decision-makers. Mayor Ivo Komšić from Sarajevo spanned the bow from local identity politics to multi-level-governance challenges in the delivery of human rights at the local level.


The second day was held in St. Martin as a closed interactive workshop series. Three facilitator tandems, each combining a politician and a human rights expert, moderated workshops for the participants on Identifying human rights issues in local policy-making (Leen Verbeek, King’s Commissioner of Flevoland; Barbara Oomen, Dean of University College Roosevelt), on Exchanging good practices (Lars O. Molin, Councilor of the City of Örebro and Thematic Rapporteur on Human Rights at local and regional level at the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities; Maria Nilsson, Senior Advisor and Human Rights Implementation Expert at Emerga Research and Consulting), and on Designing human rights policies (Bettina Vollath, Regional Minister for Finance, Women and Integration in Styria; Klaus Starl, Secretary General of the ETC). The results of the workshops were presented as Points for the future Agenda, right after President Frécon presented the Graz Declaration on the Implementation of Human Rights at the Local and Regional Level (DT/EN/FR), reaffirming the respective resolutions of the Congress. Helmut Tichy, Director of the International Law department of the Austrian Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs, closed the Forum with concluding remarks from the national level’s viewpoint.

The two-day Forum met all expectations as confirmed by the organisers, representatives and participants. It gave an excellent opportunity for exchange and mutual motivation and promoted the application of implementation tools and methods for human rights based approaches for programming at the local and regional level.

Workshop summaries...

Some impressions...



Congress of Local and Regional Authorities...

Province of Styria...

City of Graz...


Article on the website of the Austrian Ombudsman Board...

(25 June, 2015)








  • Study Programme (M.A. und LL.M.) Human Rights, Donau-Universität Krems, starting 21 October 2016




(German only)