Date: Thu, 16 Nov 1995 16:55:02 CST
Reply-To: united <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>
From: united <email@example.com>
Organization: Activist Press Service, Amsterdam
Subject: Summary report of UNITED conference, Budapest
To: Multiple recipients of list ACTIV-L <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>
Woodpeckers on the Fortress Europe, Budapest 8–15 October 1995
The week-long conference was the biggest ever international meeting for active anti-racist organisations to take place in Central and Eastern Europe. In total, there were 97 delegates representing 91 organisations coming from 31 countries. Participating organisations came from all over Europe: from Russia (Memorial St Petersburg) to Portugal (Conselho Portugues para os Refugiados), Norway (Antirasistisk Senter) to Romania (Romany CRISS). For the first time nearly half the participants came from Central and Eastern European countries, almost half were women, and minorities were also well represented.
The conference was intended to build upon and extend the activities that resulted from UNITEDUs previous five conferences. Two themes were central: the situation in Central and Eastern Europe, and the problems faced by refugees. Discussions and working groups covered many issues and important decisions were made concerning future joint actions and cooperation.
Three experts provided important and useful input: Dr Kardos Gbor from Budapest University informed us about the rise of racism, fascism and nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe, focusing on the victims of such ideologies; Adam Knig, a survivor of Auschwitz death camp, gave a moving account of his wartime experiences which gave us a very personal understanding of the Holocaust; and Debra Guzman of Human Rights Net told us about the benefits of electronic networking (e-mail) for our working practices in an entertaining and practical lecture. Participants had the chance to put questions to all the experts, who each stayed to lead a small working group to carry on the discussion.
A wide range of 32 working groups were organised during the week, enabling participants to learn practical skills and exchange experiences with each other. Topics included Holocaust denial, anti-discrimination laws, homophobia, preventing deportation, self-protection, integrating war refugees, visas for Central and Eastern Europeans, public relations and media, political lobbying and sexism.
Two actions were organised during the week: there was a working excursion to a detention camp in Gyr for refugees which resulted in a decision to make the authorities improve the terrible living conditions for those forced to stay there; and a demonstration in downtown Budapest against racism.
A broad social programme included Rpolitical cafsS, videos, a multicultural dinner, an intercultural evening, an international breakfast, and of course, the bar which all gave participants the opportunity for further discussions and the chance to make contacts and friendships.
The decisions were:
One Race Human Race, and to draw trade unions etc into joining the activities. Actions will focus where possible on national laws against discrimination and putting pressure on parliaments, with a theme of a broad variety of actions. UNITED will coordinate as usual. Final preparation will be in Prague (2/96). The European Youth Campaign against Racism (RAXI) also plans its last activities in this week, so look for cooperation.
For a copy of the complete report, please contact:
UNITED for Intercultural Action
European Network against Nationalism, Racism, Fascism and in Support of Migrants and Refugees
1000 AK Amsterdam
Tel +31 20 683 4778
Fax +31 20 683 4582