Final EPP conference: results of the three-year project to be presented in Kyiv

After the three years of extensive field work in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, the ECMI Eastern Partnership Programme will conclude this summer. The final conferences will take place in Kyiv, Ukraine between 15 and 18 May 2017.

Throughout the last three years, the EPP team has conducted 42 events in the target countries, attended by over 1700 participants. The team established strong networks and partnerships in all three countries to achieve the project results and cooperate on a long-term basis to promote equality and non-discrimination. After the years of exchanging practices, establishing networks, hard work, determination, and making contact throughout the region, the project will finalize its activities with elaborating project results in the final reports. The reports on equality, non-discrimination and participation will be presented at the conferences next week in Kyiv, Ukraine.

In addition to unveiling the project reports, the two conferences will once again gather international and local experts as well as representatives of public authorities to discuss anti-discrimination instruments on international and local levels. The events will open with welcoming notes delivered by Prof. Tove Malloy (ECMI Director), Ms. Aksana Filipishyna (Representative of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights for observance of the rights of the child, non-discrimination and gender equality) and Mr. Andriy Yurash (Head of the Department on Religious Affairs and Nationalities, Ministry of Culture of Ukraine). We are pleased to announce that in addition to the six keynote speeches delivered by prominent experts, the events feature over 70 presentations and impulse interventions by the experts involved throughout the implementation of the ECMI Eastern Partnership Programme.

About the final conferences

The first conference will take place on 15-16 May and will focus on ‘International Human Rights Instruments and Their Role in Combating Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities in the Eastern Borderland of the European Union’.  The keynote speakers include:

  • Mr. Boriss Cilevics (MP Latvia, Member of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and Advisory Board Member at the ECMI) who will speak about effectiveness of international human rights mechanisms in minority protection and combating discrimination.
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Rainer Hofmann (Co-Director of Wilhelm Merton Centre, Professor at Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany and a Vice Chairman of ECMI Executive Board), with a speech on standard-setting by international organizations in the field of rights of national minorities, with a focus on the cases of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.
  • Prof. Dr. Peter Van Elsuwege (Professor and Co-Director of the Ghent European Law Institute (GELI) at Ghent University, Belgium) will speak about minority protection in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood: ‘Does the Eastern Partnership make a difference?’.
  • Dr. Jasper Krommendijk (Assistant Professor in European law at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands) will talk about International and European human rights mechanisms: ‘How could they be relevant at the national level?’

The conference will also feature discussion and presentation sessions on monitoring and international judicial mechanisms, exploring specific programs on non-discrimination, international cooperation and civil society initiatives.

While the first event focuses on international instruments, the second conference will shed light on ‘Available Mechanisms for Combating Discrimination and the Protection of National Minorities and their effectiveness at the Local Level in the Eastern Borderland of the European Union’, focusing on Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. Taking place on 17-18 May 2017 in Kyiv, the conference will feature two keynote speakers:

  • Dr. Michal Vašečka (Masaryk University, Czech Republic, Member of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and a Member Advisory Council of the ECMI) who will speak about available strategies at the local level.
  • Dr. Iulius Rostas (Chair in Romani Studies and Assistant Professor at the Central European University, Hungary) to speak about Roma issues and Roma mediators in the programme countries.

During the general discussion and presentation sessions, the presentations will cover variety of topics: local governmental bodies and their role, competencies and functions (exploring the specific examples from Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine), the role and involvement of local NGOs in combating discrimination and the protection of national minorities, hate speech and discrimination (monitoring at the local level), protection of the right to use minority languages in schools, combating discrimination and segregation in school systems and development of multilingual education.

About the reports

During the conferences the final reports of the ECMI Eastern Partnership Programme will be presented, showcasing the results and achievements of the three-year-long project. The reports to be presented include two thematic issues and compilations of the lectures from the past EPP events:

  • Report and compilation of lectures on “Ensuring equality on ethnic grounds in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. Normative framework, organizational underpinnings and civic mechanisms”. The report will summarize the normative legal framework of the three target countries and will address issues such as xenophobia, hate speech and hate crimes, inequality in opportunities to use languages, situation of Roma, and access to justice.
  • Report and compilation of lectures on “Participation of national minorities in public life including their interaction with public authorities”. This report will summarize the normative legal framework of the three target countries and address the issues such as problems and developments in structures of ethnic diversity management as well as structures and practices of interaction with minorities.

The final reports will be available online shortly after the conferences.

About the EPP

The EPP addresses Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine – three countries that face various challenges and also have numerous achievements in the accommodation and governance of their ethnic and linguistic diversity. The EPP’s goal is to enhance governance and to advance state policies on the prevention of ethnic discrimination and on the mainstreaming of national minorities issues according to European best practices in the target countries. The project is supported by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Read more about the project at:

For further inquiries about the project or the events, please contact:

Nataliia Mekahal, ECMI EPP Kyiv Coordinator (
Hanna Vasilevich, EPP Project Manager (

EPP Seminar in Kyiv, 1 December 2015

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