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J&P Europe: Protecting Human Dignity at a Time of Economic Crisis

Categories: Justice & Peace Scotland Publications, Articles:Human Rights | Author: carol | Posted: 27/10/2014 | Views: 2419
Final Statement of the International Workshop of Justice and Peace Europe, October 2014
‘Representatives of 22 European Justice and Peace Commissions, met in Greece for an International Workshop on theme of Human Dignity and Economic Crisis. In Greece the impact of the crisis has been particularly stark and visible, with people taking to the streets to protest about the widespread unemployment and its consequences. We have come here to reflect on the threats to, and offences against, human dignity that have emerged, and learn about models of good practice for the protection of human dignity…
During the workshop we spent time with the NGOs Praxis and Klimaka, which are providing valuable social outreach initiatives. We visited the Amigdaleza detention centre for people seeking asylum and the Society for the Care of Minors, which looks after under-age migrants. We met with representatives of political parties and the proceedings were opened with a lecture from Prof. Vassilis Karydis, Deputy Ombudsman, who outlined current challenges with reference to the relevant human rights legislative framework.

In an address to the United Nations in May 2014, Pope Francis called for an end to the “economy of exclusion” through actions that will have “a real impact on the structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results in protecting the environment, ensure dignified and productive labor for all, and provide appropriate protection for the family”.1 Similarly, the experience of the NGOs we visited underlines the necessity of ensuring that the basic needs of all members of society are met. People cannot access employment and successfully integrate into society when they are homeless, have no income, or require treatment for physical or mental health issues. These organisations have adopted a person-centred approach, which recognises that our initial response to the most vulnerable must be based on need. In the short-term, the community and voluntary sector plays a vital role in supporting the most marginalised and excluded. The sustainability of these initiatives, in the context of sharp increases in requests for assistance, is a major concern. Read the Final Statement in full here.  Read our European Representative, Grace Buckley's report on the meeting here
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