On 16-17 September 2015 a two-day cross-border seminar “Coalition for Trust in the South Caucasus” was organized in Yerevan. More than 25 representatives of civil society from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia participated in the event.
The seminar was organized by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) together with Civil Society Institute and Caucasus Institute NGOs in the frames of the “Coalition for Re-building Trust” project. Azerbaijan is also a part of the project; however participation of representatives from this country was not possible due to well-known reasons.
The aim of the seminar was to create a platform for dialogue and cooperation among young participants of the seminar in the follow-up of formation of the Coalition for Trust during the regional conference in Istanbul in June 2015. In course of the seminar such issues as conflict settlement, reconciliation process, as well as problems of self-identification were presented and discussed. Projects related to human rights education and peace-building which had been implemented by students and activists in the frames of the project were presented.
”Norwegian Helsinki Committee is working in the field of human rights protection for many years and is well aware of the existing challenges in the South Caucasus. Our aim is to support our partner organisations in the region to overcome these challenges and not only work with each other but also through awareness-raising and education to establish cooperation and contacts among people of the region. This will contribute to strengthening trust” – said the Secretary General of the NHC Bjorn Engesland.
According to him, the most challenging situation in the region in terms of human rights is in Azerbaijan. “We are concerned about the numerous political prisoners in Azerbaijan. Many of our partners are in prison. It is very hard for the local organizations to work, however we do our best to support them in this field” - stated Engesland.
As a result of the cross-border seminar the students established cooperation network in order to implement joint projects in the future.
The process of formation of the Coalition was launched in 2012. In the recent years in the frames of the project “Coalition for Re-building Trust” training seminars on human rights have been organized in different states of the region. Students, civic activists and journalists participated in these events.