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Active citizenship – a powerful instrument for consolidating rule of law

Romania’s political scene is degraded by the existence of systemic corruption and its natural consequences: clientelism, monopoly of power, decision obscurity, the abuse of emergency ordinances or real recovery of public budget assets. Even though citizens are aware of law breakings, they do not oppose and do not fight against it, for they do not know their rights and intervention mechanisms. And if we want deviations to be signaled and fought, citizen awareness is needed, as well as community building measures, public debates, as well as monitoring decision-makers.

Currently it is clear that external pressure for change is not enough and there is a need for raising citizen involvement in public matters not only at a personal level, but also at the level of the communities they live in. We work with critical groups in order to strengthen the democratic state: students, professors, magistrates and journalists, experts and academia and to offer them a better understanding of rule of law, explain why these matters are the basis of any civil construction, what happens if they don’t get involved and what are the major risks of sideslips. We will debate throughout the country along with citizens, experts and journalists about mechanisms needed to fight the threats against democracy. Since journalists are under political pressures, we will connect them to magistrates in order to strengthen the capacity of publicly revealing corruption, clientelism and bad governance. This project builds instruments through which citizens can fight against corruption and bad governance.

What will we do?

In the 12 month period of the project, we will organize

An opening event with the purpose of putting on the public agenda issues such as justice, human rights and sideslips from rule of law. We intend to create opportunities of networking and partnership between our beneficiaries.

A 5 day seminar for teachers (School for Democracy, 2015 edition) through which we focus on teaching in a non-formal and applied way key concepts such as rule of law and we offer a number of 18 teachers of civil education and history the necessary instruments of teaching students these aspects in a friendly manner. Thus, subjects such as public policy cycles, access to information, decisional transparency and public participation will be included.

Three seminars for students. School for Democracy will include a component which will allow every participant to plan a project or a civic activity to implement in the community or the group he belongs to, in order to disseminate the information. EFOR and its partners will help teachers to plan and implement these activities.

Two seminars for magistrates and journalists which would bring them together in order to exchange corruption investigation methods and public communication.

Five debates about the role of rule of law for the existence of a democratic balance and for fighting against populism, extremism and hate speech. We will address students, professional communities, journalists etc. Also, we will address citizens who are interested in these subjects, which will be presented in an accessible format and open to all who are interested.

We will bring experts and a few of the debates will be part of the Singur importiva tuturor (Alone against all) campaign, organized together with De ce eu? movie team (director Tudor Giurgiu) and Hotnews.ro.

An event for dissemination of the project results through which Expert Forum and its partners will present the results, successful stories, as well as all the materials and resources of the project. We aim to ensure the continuity of the project by identifying partners who would support our future activities.

Also, we will publish four reports about the current state of rule of law and violation of democratic principles. We will cover topics such as justice, human rights, decisional transparency or legislative abuses.

Who are we addressing?

  • 18 specialized teachers particularly in teaching history and civic education
  • 100 students from the communities the teachers come from
  • 25 magistrates
  • 15 journalists working particularly on investigations connected to corruption or political clientelism
  • 175 students, experts, citizens, journalists, civic debate participants

Partners: The Romanian Center for European Policies, Freedom House, Liderjust, Fylkesmannen I Sogn og Fjordane

Project duration: 1st April 2015 – 1st April 2016

Budget: 82,970.00, of which 74,625.00 from the NGO Fund

 

Project financed by the EEA grants 2009–2014, through the NGO Fund in Romania. The contents of this material does not necessarily represent the official stand of SEE grants 2009 – 2014.

For official information regarding the SEE and Norwegian grants, access: www.eeagrants.org.

FDSC