January 10, 2016

Fostering human rights through deconstruction of stereotypes in education, culture and the media

The project Fostering human rights through deconstruction of stereotypes in education, culture and the media was implemented from 20 January to 31 May 2016. The preparatory activities entailed
collecting relevant information about the current situation in education, culture and the media from the
point of view of effects that various stereotypes in the society produce, and creating a methodology for
future activities and defining potential approaches to the identified problem. The first round table held on
29 February 2016 launched the public debate on potential solutions to the issues that have emerged due
to the effects of harmful stereotypes and on preventive action. The event gathered the representatives of
various reference institutions and organisations in Serbia and the region, representatives of the Council
of Europe Office in Belgrade, OSCE Mission to Serbia and the Euroclio association from The Hague. The
challenges that the debate identified as being the result of stereotypes have generally been recognised
as a regional and indeed global phenomenon. The debate found that in order to address their harmful
effects, a set of clear guidelines must be adopted and specific activities implemented in a number of areas
of social life. Based on a previously established plan and on the results of the discussions and suggestions
given at the first round table event, a select group of experts worked from March to mid-May 2016 to
develop the recommendations intended for various institutions, organisations and associations in Serbia.

Draft recommendations were presented at the second round table, held on 5 May 2016. The round
table participants presented their suggestions and comments, which were mainly incorporated
in the recommendations, contributing thereby to their final shape and quality. The project was
concluded with the development of a document Recommendations for fostering human rights through
deconstruction of stereotypes in education, culture and the media.

Taking into account the long-term and general aims, a set of recommendations was produced under
the project on Fostering human rights through deconstruction of stereotypes in education, culture and the media
which constitutes a specific tool whose implementation should support the relevant government institutions,
professional associations, segments of the academic and cultural community, the media and civil society in their
actions, taken individually or under a common platform, to deconstruct harmful stereotypes in society. This
would constitute affirmation of the postulates of civil and democratic society founded on respect of human
rights and open space for other projects and activities in the field of wider social inclusion, regional cross-border
cooperation and contribution to peace building efforts in the region.
Twelve general recommendations have been formulated for various areas which are further detailed
in specific recommendations. The general recommendations, even though they remain on a principle
level, refer to priority areas in the following order: Recommendations 1 to 4 address issues in education,
Recommendations 5 and 6 focus on cultural institutions, Recommendations 7 and 8 address the media,
whereas the last four recommendations permeate all social stakeholders and highlight at the same time
civil organisations as a potential interface between institutions and civil society.
The main beneficiary is society as a whole, and especially young people and the population
still being educated in the Serbian education system. The most relevant stakeholders are relevant
state institutions, professional associations, trainers in the field of formal and informal education, civil
society organisations and respected public figures. The recommendations are focused on strengthening
the current capacities for inclusion, promotion of tolerance and human rights in Serbia as well as on
opening up new avenues for action by government institutions, the media environment, civil society
organisations and especially trainers of young people.