Human Rights – The Role of Civil Society Organisations


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CONFERENCE CANCELED: Taking into account the increasing number of cases of people infected with Covid-19 in Europe, the Fund Operators from Poland, Bulgaria and Portugal decided to cancel the International Conference on Human Rights planned to take place in March 26th.

We will keep monitoring the coronavirus situation in Europe and take a decision later regarding a possible new date to organize it.


The International Conference “Human Rights: The Role of Civil Society Organisations” is an initiative of the Active Citizens Fund in Portugal in partnership with Fund Operators from Poland and Bulgaria. Drawing on different experiences in these three countries, the conference aims to raise awareness on the critical role that CSOs can play in reinforcing the promotion of human rights and tolerance, in fighting discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin and in supporting political action in favour of human rights.

As promotion of Human Rights is one of the main areas of support of the Active Citizens Fund, the Conference is also an occasion for NGOs to share experiences and good practices in order to prepare and submit to the Fund more innovative and effective projects in this area.


Morning – Auditorium 3

09:00 – Registration

09:30 – Opening session

– Guilherme d’ Oliveira Martins, Trustee of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

– Anders Erdal, Ambassador of Norway to Portugal

10:00 – The role of the Civil Society Organisations in defending Human Rights – Maria Lúcia Amaral, Ombudsperson

10:20 – Human Rights Challenges – How should Civil Society Organizations address them? Waltraud Heller, EU Fundamental Rights Agency

10:40 – The support of the Active Citizens Fund to Human Rights initiatives – Luís Madureira Pires, Director of the Active Citizens Fund Portugal

10:55 – Coffee break

11:15 – Active Citizens Fund Poland – Good examples of successful projects and lessons learnt from previous experience

  • Aleksandra Kaczorek, Association Akceptacja, project “Acceptance for LGB persons at home and at school”
  • Magdalena Kawa, Association For the Earth, project “Women’s Voices”
  • Filip Pierowski, Psychology of Health Center, project “I am HIV-positive”

12:00 – Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria – Good examples of successful projects and lessons learnt from previous experience

  • Dilyana Angelova, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, project “Assessment of the Reform in Places of Detention in Bulgaria – law and practice”
  • Valentina Hristakeva, Global Initiative in Psychiatry, project “From Rights to Justice”

12:30 – Debate

13:00– Lunch


Afternoon – Room 1

14:30 – Intro by Waltraud Heller, facilitator of the World Café

14:45 – World Café

WHAT: What are the main concerns and problems Civil Society should address regarding Human Rights? What are the challenges we are facing or anticipating?

HOW: How should we address them? What actions are more effective to address them? How to strengthen our action (resources; capacities; tools)?

WITH WHOM: what kind of cooperation/partnerships/coalitions are necessary to ensure real impact? Who are our priority partners – CSOs, academia, companies, government, municipalities?

16:30 – An NGO Platform for Human Rights, a Portuguese ambition

17:00 – Closure

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