Family rights in Latvia under attack

On January 7, 2021, the far- right National Alliance submitted a draft law in order to amend the Article 110 of the Latvian Constitution, which would narrow the definition of family to only a union of a man and a woman. 

We strongly condemn this draft law, which is a clear attempt to restrict family rights and consciously take away family rights from any other family forms, including single parents and same-sex couples. 

This reactionary draft law has the single aim of taking away family rights from families that were until now protected by the constitution. 

It’s obvious that this draft law is connected to lawmakers’ unwillingness to act according to a recent Constitutional court decision. 

NA’s offer would not solve the problem, as it is impossible to overrule the constitutional court’s decision. However, it could serve as a reason for several legal proceedings against Latvia as a state, including a case at the European Court of Human Rights. 

It is truly concerning that a party that is a part of the ruling coalition in an EU member state is ready to amend the constitution as a way to circumvent duties imposed by the current constitution. 

We see this as an attack on one of the oldest constitutions in Europe, as well as on the rule of law. 

The proposed amendments would only worsen the current situation for LGBTQIA+ rights in Latvia, which is already the second- worst in the EU. 

Furthermore, this amendment would go against one of the main points in the Latvian Constitution- legal equality and the exercise of human rights without discrimination. 

It must be noted that the current constitutional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman is quite recent- Article 110 was amended in 2006 as a result of a homophobic campaign by a ruling, oligarch-sponsored party, shockingly similar to events currently ongoing in Poland.

During the pandemic, lawmakers should act in solidarity with society and families by providing them with the necessary economic and social support and the necessary means to facilitate the well-being of both children and adults in a time where socio-economic gaps are increasing. 

However, National Alliance is attempting to do the exact opposite by showing their disregard for democracy and the rule of law. No family will benefit from hate directed at other families. All families, both “traditional”, but especially socially vulnerable families, same-sex families and single-parent families need real support in this time, not populistic hate slogans. 

We stand in solidarity with all families in Latvia and ask the Saeima to vote against National Alliance’s proposal and instead comply with the Constitutional court’s decision and provide legal protection and support for all families. 

Protests/ Latvia

AYG organise General Assembly and a Climate protest

Tirana / Albania

14.11.2020

Albanian Young Greens organized a series of activities on 14th November with the following theme: “Climate is changing, our future is being destroyed”.

“For us as young people, the problem of climate change must be resolved as soon as possible as it seriously threatens our lives and the future. This is our task, our challenge, for which time is calling us. Although we are living in an unusual situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can think ahead to tackle the climate crisis, making the right choices to move on the right path towards progress and green policy development.


The AYG Assembly was held in the spirit of a greater commitment of young people to the challenge of climate change. During the Assembly a variety of sessions took place, filled with constructive debates about environmental, social, green policies, schooling and youth employment.


The involvement of young people in politics was stressed out, the leadership of the organization and the space they should have in the leading and decision-making structures of the Green Party.
The presence of young people from all branches of the Youth Forum, local councilors, as well as representatives of the Albanian Greens, created a vivid space for fruitful debate by sharing experiences with young people and exchanging ideas for strengthening and development of the green youth movement in Albania.


The General Assembly adopted a number of important political documents and resolutions.
“Let us all act together now to protect the environment and the climate”: this resolution calls for the massive action of the climate movement as a necessity to raise awareness of decision-makers to act quickly.
The General Assembly also elected new leadership. The two co-chair persons are Mrs. Ambra Durro and Mr. Brahim Demi.
Mr. Brahim Demi is our councilor in the local parliament. He also represents the green voice in the municipal council of the city of Lezha.

The green weekend was finalised with the Climate protest organized by members of the AYG.

The message of this protest was as following: The movement known as “Fridays for Future” must be spread across the country as a call for urgent action against climate change”.

Meet the CDN Project Assistant

As CDN office is getting bigger, we are happy to announce that the Secretariat will be joined by Elena Petrovska in the Project Assistant position.

Elena’s first encounter with the Green Youth movement dates back to 2017, when she first joined Serbian Green Youth. Afterwards, she’s been active as a Board member of SGY from 2018, and a member of its Secretariat from 2020. In march 2020, she joined the Executive Committee of CDN. Through these years, Elena’s interests and understanding of Green topics were growing, and she remains determined to fight climate and social injustices.

Welcome to the team Elena and we wish you a joyful Green ride with CDN!!!

CDN Executive Committee and Secretariat

Call for Office Assistant

Cooperation and Development Network Eastern Europe (CDN) is announcing a call for a position of an Office Assistant in its office in Belgrade, Serbia. This is a paid, part time (30 hours a week) position beginning from the second half of August (starting date is flexible).

Working time: 30 hours/week, flexible working hours (some activities will take place during weekends which will be compensated within weekdays).

Remuneration: €540 gross

Contract type: 5 months with high probability of prolonging it until the end of 2021.

Location: Belgrade, Serbia

What is CDN?

CDN is a network of Green youth organizations from Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus. Currently CDN consists of 16 Member and 7 Partner Organisations as well as 4 working groups. The Network supports the development, cooperation and exchange of knowledge and skills between young people and their organisations and aims at enlarging the field of political work for Greens in Europe. CDN organises educational and capacity-building activities such as seminars, conferences and regional meetings and uses non-formal education to advance youth participation.CDN stands for gender equality, equal participation, diversity, inclusion, respect for minorities, environmental and climate justice, direct democracy and non-violence. Our Political Platform lays out the values which the Network bases its actions on.

What will be the role of Office Assistant?

CDN Secretariat at the moment consist of 3 people – Network Coordinator, Project Coordinator and Office Assistant. We are hereby opening a call for another Office Assistant that will be responsible for assisting in the financial management and other support in implementation of CDN’s projects. The Office Assistant will be working closely with Project Coordinator and will be reporting to both Project and Network Coordinator. The job will involve working with invoices, numbers, spreadsheets, reimbursement forms and project-related communication.

We are looking for someone with the following profile:

-Basic experience in administrative and financial work;

-Ability to work independently and good organization of one’s work;

-Attention to details, good ability to work with numbers and performing administrative tasks;

-Advanced use of (LibreOffice) Spreadsheets;

-Good computer skills and ability to use various softwares;

-Fluency in English language.

Skills that would be additional asset:

-Curiosity in Eastern European civil society and politics;

-Knowledge of Green movement and Green politics;

-Experience in managing finances of a non-governmental organization;

-Knowledge of BCMS (Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian) languages;

-Use of open-source software (Linux, WordPress, LibreOffice, etc.).

Responsibilities:

-Assisting CDN Secretariat in its daily management and implementation of CDN activity plan;

-Preparing project financial documentation in cooperation with the CDN Project Coordinator;

-Collecting and archiving financial documents (bills, invoices, receipts);

-Preparing invoices for third parties;

-Preparing bank transfers;

-Tracking project expenses in financial spreadsheets;

-Working on CDN’s bookkeeping together with CDN Secretariat;

-Assisting the CDN Secretariat with various financial and administrative tasks (reimbursements, reporting, etc);

-Assisting Project Coordinator in coordination of subgranting processes;

-Supporting Secretariat with ad-hoc tasks.

Please apply by sending your CV and short cover letter (explaining your experience and interest in this position) in one PDF document to office@cdnee.org by 23:59 31st July 2020, with the subject “CDN Office Assistant application”.  Shortlisted candidates will be notified and contacted for an interview in the first week of August.

Open call for Participants: Seminar “Art as Shelter” [Extended]

Cooperation and Development Network Eastern Europe and Gender Working Group are announcing a call for Participants for the international seminar “Art as Shelter”. The seminar will take place between 7th – 11th April in Tirana, Albania ( 6 and 12 are travel dates to and from Albania for the participants).

The project is the first phase of our annual work plan Art for the Young, the Queer, the Feminists of Eastern Europe” and is going to focus on how to contribute to the creation of inclusive and sensitive political environment by understanding power dynamics in patriarchal society and by empowering young women, transgender, non-binary, agender, gender queer and intersex people and broaden safe space and claim more private and political space through art.

This way we would like empower the participants with tools to broaden safe space and claim more private and political space through non-formal education and art. In particular, we would like:

  • To build understanding of patriarchy as a dominant power that operates in the society and feminism as a theory and strategy to challenge dominant power relations;
  • To create an intercultural safe space for young women, transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, agender and intersex people to share their private and political struggles and to explore tools to counteract them;
  • To use art to empower young women, transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, agender and intersex people to stand up against patriarchy and broaden the safe space by giving visibility to women* through art.
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Recapping CDN Annual Work plan 2019

This year was an interesting journey for CDN in the realm of digital rights, critical digital journalism, online artivism and activism. Thanks to our Annual Work Plan “Digital Technology For Democracy: Youth Turns Threat Into Opportunity”, we had the chance to dive into these topics.

This AWP consisted of three international activities:

1- Seminar in Kyiv, Ukraine “Internet as we know it vs Internet as we want it”,

2- Seminar in Misaktsieli, Georgia “Critical journalism in Digital Era: Youth’s access to non-biased information”,

3- Seminar in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina “Digitising Youth Ar(c)tivism”.

The third seminar was organized and delivered by the following team: Masha Dzneladze (CDN Project Coordinator); Mariam Khizanashvili (CDN EC); Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli (the Ecosprinter editorial board), Elena Petrovska (Serbian Green Youth), Maja Siljanoska (MODOM), Palina Burko (Belarus Young Greens).

The activity was hosted by CDN Member Organization: Revolt.

During four days, participants explored the concept of artivism and analysed its connection it to digital activism, practiced different art tools, explored the project planning of storytelling and finally divided into three different groups and worked on their very own (1) theatre play, (2) mural on a public school and (3) campaign for disseminating the Manifesto of the whole work plan. All the outputs, including these will be part of a publication that soon will be out. 

We would like to thank the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and MEP Michael Bloss (Greens/European Free Alliance) for the support of this project. 

Stay tuned!

Green Youth of Ukraine organizes the camp “Green Youth – Green City”

Green Youth of Ukraine, one of CDN member organizations, organized the Green camp called “Green Youth – Green city” during 16-30 October in Kyiv.

The aim of the camp is to mobilize and involve young greens of Ukraine into politics. During the camp, a lot of sessions addressed different challenges that young people face on their way to enter the political landscape in Ukraine.

During the camp, the greens brainstormed on different tools for counter-acting these challenges. The whole camp was divided into three stages:

1- The first training was focused on the role of the Greens in addressing the environmental challenges and many other issues at stake in Ukraine.

2- the second stage was pretty smooth and was organized outdoor. The Greens of Ukraine went for a bike ride and discussed how to make the green voice more heard in politics.

3- the last stage was focused on political campaigning for the greens during elections and participation in the local governance. This part was facilitated by trainers in the form of a role-play game of green candidates during the election campaign.

Call for host organisation for CDN GA 2020

CDN – Cooperation and Development Network Eastern Europe, is announcing a call for host organisations for its 2020 General Assembly!

CDN’s General Assembly is a multiple day event intended for the review of the last year’s work of the Network, legitimizing the plans for the following year, and electing the Executive Committee in charge of executing the Activity Plan for the upcoming year. The upcoming GA will be bigger than ever with a space for thematic discussions and workshops.

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Work plan: Art for the Young, the Queer, the Feminists of Eastern Europe

Project background

One of the fields that CDN, as a capacity building network, prioritises to tackle in the Central and Eastern Europe is gender: gender roles, patriarchy, sexism, women emancipation, LGBTQ+ rights, queer theory, these are some topics on which gender working group aims to raise awareness and empower the youth on. The importance of Gender issues are especially vital in the Central and Eastern Europe. Gender working group has been active for almost a decade now and this project is an idea of the members.

The Central and Eastern Europe is still very conservative and patriarchal compared to Western Europe. According to the data of countries that make their data available through Eurostat, the worst domestic violence and femicide situations across Europe is Montenegro, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bosnia and Croatia. Countries like Serbia, Ukraine, Poland, Turkey or Caucasus countries are not included in the data set but it is a very well know fact, that the situation is not any better in those countries. The public and private spaces are not safe for women. Looking at the political representation, only 6 of the 52 leadership positions in Eastern Europe are occupied by female leaders as of 2019. The progress towards gender equality is so slow that even Council of Europe only recently adopted guidelines to its 47 member states on tackling sexism, including the first internationally-agreed definition. Looking at the LGBT+ rights, members of the LGBT+ community in Eastern Europe don’t have safe public spaces to express their gender and sexual orientation openly. The Gay Pride is mostly banned in Eastern European countries and where it is not banned, it can only take place under heavy security, limiting the LGBT+  access to political spaces as well.

What will we do and why?

This project has the goal of tackling the gender issue and representation in private and political spaces in Eastern Europe from both female and LGBT+ perspectives. However, with this project we would like to firstly enlarge the local, closed safe spaces with young activists of different genders and sexualities from the Central and Eastern Europe. Through international youth activities we will provide a bigger, intercultural space for young people of various genders and sexualities to interact with each other, share struggles and learn from each other. In the last phase of the work plan, we will carry the safe space to public space. We will enable the activists to interact with wider public through using art as a communication tool.

Our AIM with this workplan is to to understand power dynamics in patriarchal and cis-heteronormative societies in order to empower young women, LGBT+ youth, transgender, non-binary, agender, gender queer and intersex people to broaden the safe space and claim more private and political space through non-formal education and art.

By providing the platform to discuss the shared experiences and counteracting strategies, we would like to: 

  • Build understanding in the group about the different ways in which power can operate in society and reflect on possible unaware perpetuation of the existing power relations; 
  • Create  safe space for young Eastern European women, LGBT+ youth, transgender, non-binary, agender, gender queer and intersex activists where they share experiences of daily private  and political struggles from different contexts; 
  • Consider different strategies for challenging dominant power relations and equip them with tools and techniques to vigorously stand up in their respective struggles; 
  • Explore using art as a tool to expand the safe space in providing visibility to young women, LGBT+ youth, transgender, non-binary, agender, gender queer and intersex people; 
  • Explore and establish cooperation with the initiatives / organizations / individual activists on international level dealing with the same issues locally.

Project summary

This project consists of three activities, with which we would like to stress the importance of art, inclusivity and human rights. The project target group are the young people from the Central and Eastern Europe (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo*, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine).


1st phase –  Art as a shelter: A room of our own

The first event of the Work plan is a 5 day international training aiming to understand power dynamics and how power operates in patriarchal societies in order to empower young women to broaden safe space and claim more private and political space through art.

Date: 7-11 April 2020, (6th arrival, 12th departure)

Duration: 5 full working days

Location: Tirana, Albania

Call for Prepteam

Call for Participants


2nd phase – Good, Bad or Queer

The phase two is an organic continuation of the phase one and draws attention at challenging cis- and heteronormativity as a dominant power and aims at engaging  and  mobilising  LGBT+ young  people  in  taking  ownership  in  advocating for their rights in their national contexts; We want to contribute to overcoming the binary understanding of gender and sexuality and maintstream this discourse in the (Green) youth organisations.

Date: 30 June – 4 July 2020, (29th arrival, 5th departure).
Duration: 5 full working days

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Call for Prepteam

Call for Participants


UPDATE:

1st + 2nd Stage – Online course “Art for the Young, the Queer, the Feminists of Eastern Europe”

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, first two international activities “Art as a shelter: A room of our own” and  “The Good, the Bad, the Queer” are moved to online space. Online course “Art for the Young, the Queer, the Feminists of Eastern Europe”  aims to understand power dynamics in patriarchal and cis-heteronormative societies in order to empower young women, LGBT+ youth, transgender, non-binary, agender, gender queer and intersex people to broaden the safe space and claim more private and political space through non-formal education and art.

Date: 10 October – 28 November 2020.

Duration: 8 weeks, 4-6 hours per week

Location: Online


3rd phase – Art for freedom: Free Yourself and the Rest will Follow

The final phase which comprises of Local Actions in the project countries, that will be partially developed during the previous phase aims to broaden the closed safe spaces of young women, trans-persons, non-binaries and LGBT+ community by visibilising their identities and the struggles to wider public using non-formal methods (i.e. art) as a communication channel in order to challenge the normativity in the society.

Date: December/January 2021

Duration: Optional

Location: Participating countries

Call for local actions

Methodology

The program will be based on the principles of non-formal education and intercultural learning. We strive for active, inclusive and direct communication and transfer and sharing of knowledge. Sessions will be balanced between theoretical inputs, training, workshops, discussions, reflection, planning, brainstorming and other interactive methods of learning.

This project is organised by the Green European Foundation with the support of Cooperation and Development Network Eastern Europe, with the financial support of the European Parliament to the Green European Foundation, and supported by the European Youth Foundation of Council of Europe.

*All references to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.

Solidarity with feminist activists attacked from the police of Azerbaijan!

Screenshot taken from CNN video report

Last week was a turbulent one for feminists and human rights defenders in Azerbaijan. The latest developments in the country show the escalation of the crackdown on human rights activists, journalists and feminists.

Given the repressive context, there were two protests which took place on 19th and 20th of October in central Baku.

The first day of protest was against the imprisonment of political prisoners, economical injustice and corruption. The day after was a protest against gender-based violence and femicide. Among the activists attacked, there were members of CDN’s Member Organisation, who joined the second protests over women’s rights and demanded the ratification of Istanbul convention.

The attacks were recorded and the videos were disseminated and went viral on social networks. These incidents were condemned by several international bodies, including Council of Europe human rights commissioner, Dunja Mijatović

Along with the attacks, polices forces cordoned off the protesters, some metro stations were stopped from operating, and Internet blackout was reported at some spots of the protest. 

On behalf of CDN EC, we show solidarity with all protesters in Baku fighting under hostile environment against gender-based violence and in the shrinking spaces of civil society activists.

Stay strong! You are not alone <3