Together against Discrimination: Building a Civil Society Coalition to Improve Access to Justice for Victims of Discrimination
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are often closer to and more accessible for victims of discrimination, which results in them receiving individual applications from members of disadvantages groups who experienced discrimination. AMER’s studies in 2019 and 2020 revealed that while CSOs receive such applications, they are not always able to effectively provide legal or other types of support due to a lack of experience and expertise and consultations with NHRIs. In order to address the needs of victims in terms of awareness, support and information on how to seek their rights and turn to existing redress mechanisms, the project focuses on building the needed capacities of CSOs, as they have the potential to play an important facilitative role in access to justice for disadvantaged groups.
The overall aim of this project is to improve access to justice for victims of discrimination by building a stronger civil society coalition. The focus lies on improving civil society response to discrimination as a key condition for the protection and promotion of human rights in Turkey. In particular, it aims to strengthen the capacity of rights-based organisations in complaint handling in discrimination cases and engaging with the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), and to facilitate networking and coalition building.
As such, the project poses 2 key objectives:
- Strengthening the capacity and network of civil society organisations, academia and bar associations in combatting discrimination.
- Improving effectiveness of NHRIs in Turkey and cooperation with them through increased pressure from national and international advocacy coalitions to adhere to recommendations based on research and best practices from other European NHRIs.
In order to address the needs of victims in terms of awareness, support and information on how to seek their rights and turn to existing redress mechanisms, the project focuses on building the needed capacities of CSOs, as they have the potential to play an important facilitative role in access to justice for disadvantaged groups. This will be done through activities and training focused on monitoring, reporting, data collection, complaint handling, network building and awareness raising.
To facilitate international exchange of best practices, the project targets international civil society networks and networks of National Human Rights Institutions. These include the European Network for Human Rights Institutions, the Dutch Institution for Human Rights, and the NHC’s network of equality bodies in the Western Balkans. Via international conferences, the project aims to bring together NHRIs and other equality bodies from various countries in order to facilitate exchange of challenges and best practices. This opens the opportunity to discuss how cooperation between CSOs and NHRIs is embedded in different countries and gives CSOs and academics in Turkey a platform to share experiences, learn from and get introduced to other actors and their mechanisms. Via the participation of the Dutch Anti-Discrimination Bureaus in this project, a more concrete exchange in the format of training and coaching between The Netherlands and Turkey will be facilitated.
The project aims to achieve the first key objective through:
- Setting up the “Equality Watch Centre” which will be established by AMER and NHC and it will consist together with members of Turkish academia and bar associations;
- Further building specific capacities of rights-based organisations and lawyers in complaint handling, monitoring, reporting and working with NHRIs;
- Developing a guidebook on working with NHRIs;
- Making sub-grants for rights-based organisations available;
- Disseminating project results through varied communication instruments.
In order to achieve the second key objective the project will engage in:
- Establishing a stakeholder network;
- Facilitating international exchange through NHC’s international networks;
- Developing tools, analyses and reports on the functioning of the NHRIs;
- Supporting academic research on discrimination and the functioning of NHRIs.
Funder: European Union – European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)
Project Period: January 2022-January 2025
Budget: EUR 559,499.79