FORUM is implementing the following projects:
ENABLE: BARRIERS TO THE PARTICIPATION OF DEFENDANTS WITH DISABILITIES IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
FORUM participates in European project ENABLE (September 2022 – August 2024) named Enabling inclusion and access to justice for defendants with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. This project aims to improve knowledge on barriers to participation experienced by defendants with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities in the criminal justice system and to deliver changes to help overcome these barriers. Therefore, the project focuses particularly on developing practical guidance on procedural and communication accommodation arising from Article 13 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to enable offenders with disabilities to have effective access to justice.
The work on the project will be based on the research, which will consist of collecting recommendations from offenders with disabilities and from criminal justice professionals (judges, lawyers, prosecutors and police). Based on this research, a practice-oriented bench book for equal treatment of offenders with disabilities will be developed, as well as a protocol to optimize access access to legal and support services.
This project is taking place in nine EU countries (Romania, Portugal, Czechia, Slovakia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Spain, and Lithuania). FORUM is responsible for the implementation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The project is financially supported by the European Union
CHALLENGING ONLINE AND OFFLINE ROMA DISCRIMINATION IN EUROPE
Forum for Human Rights, together with partner organisations from Bulgaria (EOA) and Romania (ROMAJUST) and under the coordination of the European Roma Rights Centre, is launching a new project aimed at challenging online and offline discrimination against Roma.
The project will mobilise volunteers and Romani community members to challenge online hate speech, as well as other hate crimes and the discrimination Roma face in accessing public services and exercising their fundamental rights. Volunteers will be tasked with collecting evidence of hate speech on and off the internet, which will form the basis for subsequent legal action against perpetrators or other responsible actors.
The project joins forces of volunteers and lawyers defending victims of discrimination and hate speech. It has the potential to build trust with Roma communities to file individual and mass complaints and to mobilise people not to remain indifferent to discrimination and hate speech.
The project will run for two years from April 2022 to March 2024.
The project is funded by the European Commission Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV-2021-EQUAL).
CHALLENGING ONLINE HATE SPEECH AGAINST ROMA IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
FORUM and its partners European Roma Rights Center and Romea has been implementing a project that focuses on challenging online hate speech against Roma in the Czech Republic. The project aims to challenge hate speech online through volunteer-led action, as well as bring legal complaints against content providers in an attempt to directly tackle hate speech in the online sphere. The volunteers built a base of evidence which will be used for legal action.
FORUM’s lawyers have prepared legal strategies to challenge online hate speech that will be tested in represented concrete cases. The project is running from January 2022 to October 2023.
The project is supported by the EVZ Foundation (Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft), Germany.
LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS OF TORTURE, INHUMAN AND DEGRADING TREATMENT
In 2022 FORUM launched a project dedicated to legal assistance to victims of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. The project is implemented in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In both countries free and high-quality legal aid is extremely limited and, therefore, victims of torture may often not be able to seek justice and legal remedies at all.
Free legal aid is focused on the three categories of victims. The first category is composed of victims of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment in psychiatric hospitals and social care homes. These victims may experience unlawful practices such as disproprotionate use of restriction methods or forced medication. The second category consists of victims of police violence. The third category comprises asylum-seekers who have experienced unlawful treatment in the past and their ability to seek legal remedies is narrowed by language and cultural barriers. Due to the current institutional and legal framework regarding free legal aid, all three categories of the victims of torture may not be able to seek justice and legal remedies; with this project FORUM aims to fill this gap.
The project is financed by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.
SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF ROMA HEALTH IN SLOVAKIA – ACCESS TO WATER AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
The project started in 2019 and is focused on the lack of access to safe drinking and violations of the right to health due to environmental polution in marginalized Roma settlements in Slovakia. Our objective is to map the situation with the view to start litigating the systematic violations of the right to health and right to housing in marginalized Roma communities. We closely cooperate with the Centre for Civil and Human Rights seated in Košice.
The key acticities are strategic litigation and advocacy, notably before the UN Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and sociological research in localities with environmental polution.
As part of the project, Forum published a study mapping social determinants of health in marginalized Roma communities. The author of the study is Miriam Kanioková.
The project is realised with financial support of the Open Society Foundation (Public Health Program).
On an ongoing basis, FORUM carries out two other projects: International advocacy and Strategic litigation.
FORUM promotes international human rights standards at the national level by coordination, drafting and submitting alternative reports on the implementation of international human rights treaties at the national level. FORUM has rich experience in the reporting and participating in the hearings of the human rights bodies. The organisation is active in front of the UN treaty bodies also by means of an active advocacy directed at the members of the Committees. FORUM also supports national human rights organisations when submitting alternative reports and participating in the hearings.
Find more information in the section on ADVOCACY.
FORUM represents or supports a number of strategic cases before national and international organs. Through strategic litigation, we seek to achieve higher standards of human protection and to secure a remedy for the victim of human rights violation. FORUM provides assistance and legal representation in following areas:
- rights of persons with disability
- prevention from ill-treatment, including protection of victims of ill-treatment
- rights of children
- rights of migrants
- rights of LGBTI
- protection from discrimination
Find more information in the section on LITIGATION.
IMPLEMETED AND COMPLETED PROJECTS:
Information and Communications: Cornerstones of Justice for Victims of Crime with Disability
FORUM was implementing a Europe-wide two-year project (July 2020 – June 2022) focusing on creating practical tools for people with disabilities who are victims of crime, to help ensure that they can participate actively in criminal justice processes. The EU Victims’ Rights Directive (2012/29/EU) guarantees victims the rights, among others, to understand and be understood, to information, and to be heard. Where criminal justice professionals fail to provide victims with disabilities with accessible information, do not have the knowledge and tools to communicate in ways victims with disabilities can understand, or cannot support victims with disabilities to express their needs and experiences, these rights are violated and victims do not receive justice.
People with intellectual disabilities, people with psychosocial disabilities and people with physical disabilities are the focus of the project, including those who experience multiple and intersecting discrimination because of their disability together with their gender, ethnicity, or other status.
The project took place in seven EU countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Lithuania, Croatia). FORUM is responsible for the implementation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The project was financially supported by the European Union
FAIR PLUS: Fostering Access to Immigrant’s Rights – Practical training for Lawyers and Judges
FORUM together with four other European partners – International Commission of Jurists (Belgium) – project coordinator, Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento Sant’Anna (Italy), Immigrant Council of Ireland (Ireland), Elliniko Symvoulio Gai Tous Prosfyges (Greece) implemented a Europe-wide three-year (2018 – 2021) project called Fostering Access to Immigrant’s Rights – Practical training for Lawyers and jUdgeS.
The overall objective of the project was to contribute to better protection of the fundamental rights of migrants across European countries. This objective was chieved through targeted training of judges and other stakeholders such as lawyers in the application of European Union law on fundamental human rights which will take place in the countries of the partners of the project. The project helped to create and strengthen cooperation between national judges, lawyers and other stakeholders provide for an exchange of experience and good practice in the field of protection of migrant rights, both at national and international level.
The main activities of the project included the aforementioned events taking place in the Czech Republic, Belgium, Italy, Ireland and Greece, the creation of manuals dealing with the issue at hand and the final international conference.
PRACTICE (Procedural Rights for All Children in jusTICE)
This pilot project (1/1/2020-31/12/2021) was aimed at building the capacity of judges and other relevant professionals to ensure effective individual assessments of children in criminal proceedings in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The main objective of the project was to contribute to better protection of the procedural rights of children suspected or accused of crimes.
The project was coordinated by the ICJ-EI in partnership with Forum for Human Rights. There were be three training seminars for judges, lawyers, prosecutors and other relevant professionals from Czechia, Slovakia and other EU countries, in order to increase the knowledge of judges and other relevant professionals about EU and international law on these rights, especially on individual assessments and to promote exchange of best practices between these professionals and their EU counterparts.
In the second part of the project we have prepared and published recommendations on individual assessments of children with specific vulnerabilities, to support an EU-wide interpretation and application of Article 7 of Directive 2016/800, in light of international human rights law. These were be also adapted to a child-friendly format to ensure the accessibility of project outputs: leaflet and video. The project results were presented during a final event held online.
The project was financially supported by the European Union
Freedom from hate: Empowering civil society to counter cyberhate against Roma
In cooperation with the international partner Minority Rights Group Europe and four European partners (Amalipe Center zamezhduetnicheski dialog I tolerantnost (Bulgaria), Inštitút ľudských práv (Slovakia), Romedia Alapitvany (Hungary) a Romsko nacionalno vijece (Croatia)) FORUM implemented the Europe-wide two years (2018 – 2020) long project called Freedom from hate: Empowering civil society to counter cyberhate against Roma.
The overall objective was to strengthen the capacity of civil society to implement effective counter-narrative campaigns, share best practices both with other partners and with organizations and activists focusing on the fight against hate speech and discrimination in the Czech environment.
The main activities of the project included the creation and implementation of effective counter-narrative campaigns targeting hate speech against Roma, their testing in the Czech context, identifying and sharing the best practices with other partners, organizations, and activists. FORUM also organised a professional training seminar on the strategic fight against hate speech on the Internet.