Civil Society News

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Graffiti for Peace begins

Graffiti for Peace, a Youth Power Small Grants project, began on Saturday, 9 June, 2012, with the first graffiti workshop promoting peace in Cyprus, 16:30 – 19:30, at the premises of the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) in the Ledra Palace UN Buffer Zone. This is the first of two bicommunal workshops training young people from both sides of the island in the art of graffiti. The initiative will culminate with the creation of graffiti panels by the participants, which will be exhibited in Limassol and Famagusta. Graffiti for Peace aims to bring together Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot youths to receive training in the “rebellious” art of graffiti, by professional graffiti artists, in order to express their perceptions on Peace and reconciliation through this particular art form. Graffiti for Peace is a Youth Power Small Grants project, initiated by Petros Herakleous with the support of Peace Centre Cyprus and the European Mediterranean Art Association (E.M.A.A). The project will be implemented in four actions. Action One and Two, consisting of graffiti workshops, will take place on Saturday 9 June and on Saturday 16 June at 16:30 – 19:30 at CCMC. Action Three, the creation of the 10 graffiti panels by the participants, will take place on Saturday 23 June, 17:30 – 19:30, also at CCMC. Action Four, the exhibition of the panels, will take place on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 June in Limassol and Famagusta, respectively.

Instigator of the project, Petros Heracleous says: “Graffiti for Peace is an innovative effort, aiming to give graffiti painting a political orientation towards the reconciliation of the two communities. Art can be a powerful medium in the promotion of reconciliation in Cyprus. It will be a good opportunity for the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot participants to express their ideas on Peace and Reconciliation by working together, using the powerful language of graffiti art, and sending their message out to the larger community through the exhibition of the artworks in public spaces and through the use of social media platforms.”

 
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Special report: KISA persecution

Community media is strongly centered around a sense of solidarity among organisations and individuals working tirelessly to improve our societies. With this in mind, we would like to draw your attention to important developments in the persecution of one of our members, KISA - Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism.

Background: In the aftermath of the violent attack against the Rainbow Festival at the Phinikoudes beach in Larnaca in November 2010 by members of ELAM and other extreme right and fascist elements participating in the racist event of KEA, the law enforcement authorities opted to prosecute Doros Polykarpou, executive director of KISA, instead of apprehending and bringing to justice those that attacked and seriously injured Festival goers. The hearing proceedings have been concluded and today Tuesday, 5 June 2012, the Court will announce its verdict. This new attempt at criminalising KISA’s action has caused strong reactions from various agencies and organisations at the European and international level. The Human Rights Council of the UN has sent a letter to the President of the Republic, raising a number of issues pertaining to the respect of human rights. The European Association for the Defence of Human Rights has issued a motion calling for the charges against Doros Polykarpou to be dropped. Frontline, the International Foundation for the protection of human rights defenders, has issued a statement condemning the prosecution and has included KISA’s Executive Director in the Human Rights Defenders team under persecution. In its 2011 Report, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders refers extensively to the systematic persecution of KISA and its Executive Director. The Council of Europe and particularly the Commissioner for Human Rights has also shown special interest in the case, which is expected to be included in a Council report. In its 2011 Report, Amnesty International also refers to Doros Polykarpou’s prosecution. The European NGO networks of PICUM (International Platform for the Protection of Undocumented Migrants), ENAR (European Network Against Racism), Migreurop and EMHRN (Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network) have set up an Initiative and, over and above other actions and interventions, have also sent three observation missions to monitor the court procedures (click on the links above for more information). However, while reactions at European and international level continue and intensify, apart from the initial stages of the police prosecution against Doros Polykarpou and KISA, at national level there is silence and avoidance. Contrary to other Euro MPs, the Cypriot Euro MPs have not responded to the calls of the European NGO networks. None of the politicians or political parties, even those working on human rights, have referred to the matter. The mass media have, almost in their entirety, systematically avoided reporting on the case and giving any publicity to the persecution of KISA or the European and international responses to the authorities’ action. Today, 5 June, a representation of the above networks and organisations will be present at the court in Larnaca for the courts’ verdict and subsequently hold a press conference. On Wednesday 6 June, the representation will have meetings and contacts with state authorities and independent officials with competence in the field. CCMC calls on all its members, supporters and contacts to get in touch with us if they would like to add their name to a letter in support of KISA. We also call on organisations and activists to attend this last court session in Larnaca and/or to participate in the other actions/ contacts planned on 5 and 6 June. Get in touch with us if you would like to participate. This issue affects us all.

 

KISA Seminars: "Integration Programmes for Third-Country Nationals and Local Authorities"

KISA is organising three seminars–workshops in the framework of a short-term project entitled “Integration Programmes for Third-Country Nationals and Local Authorities” (municipalities, community councils), which is co-funded by the European Integration Fund and the Government of Cyprus, Ministry of Interior. The Municipality of Nicosia is the coordinator of the project and its partners are a number of other municipalities and agencies. CCMC member KISA is also participating in the project. The subject matter of the three seminars–workshops has been designed to inform participants and provide them with a compact overview of Cyprus, its history and culture, public services and local authorities, as well as aspects and features of everyday life and an overview of the European Union, how it has developed, its major decision-making structures and bodies.

   
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Voices Against Homophobia 12-31 May 2012

Voices Against Homophobia In honour of 17 May, International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), CCMC member accept – LGBT Cyprus is organising a series of activities titled “Voices Against Homophobia 2012”. The activities in the series “Voices against Homophobia 2012” include a number of events to be held between 12 and 31 May 2012 in Nicosia, Limassol and Paphos. At the ‘Peace Hall’, at the end of Ledra Street, Lefkosia, an exhibition will be hosted with covers of press media of Cyprus and other countries, with the theme of homophobia. Moreover, a number of activities will be held in aiming to inform the general public on the issue of homophobia and discrimination made on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The link with the full program can be found here in English and here in Greek. CCMC, along with its member NGO Support Centre and the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus will be co-organising a Rainbow Human Library event at the Peace Room on Ledra Street at 19:00 on 18 May, as part of this series. For more information click here.
 

«ENGAGE on the Move» goes to Agros!

Travel with ENGAGE to the 6th Rose Festival and get a close look on the social image of volunteerism and local traditions. On Sunday 13 May, 10:00 -20:00, at the surrounding area of the “Glafkos Clerides” Sports Centre in Agros, ENGAGE will be participating at the 6th annual Rose Festival in Agros, Troodos. ENGAGE will be a contributor to the event as it will introduce to the public the dieticians Chrystalleni Lazarou and Nasa Patapiou, who will speak about the importance of the rose and its products as well as its traditional relationship with Cyprus and its habitants. The speech of the two specialists will take place at 18:00 at the “Glafkos Clerides” Sports Centre. On the same day, the ENGAGE team will team up with Agros Youth Centre and jointly operate a small kiosk from which they will be informing the public (with print and audiovisual material) about the project’s activities and the good work that the Cyprus NGOs are doing towards raising awareness and mobilising the citizens for the common good of Cyprus and the ongoing reconciliation process. The aim is to bring together the habitants of the village, the wider Pitsilia area and of Troodos in general, as well as other visitors of the Festival with the Cyprus Civil Society and its wide range of activity and contribution to the island and its people. Moreover, ENGAGE will provide the public with the opportunity to express their opinions, ideas and enquiries in relation to volunteerism and their attempt for increasing active citizenship in Cyprus. The ENGAGE volunteer team will be present at the Festival all day. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

   

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