The international conference “Russian and International Experience in the Interaction of Ethnic Associations, Law-Enforcement Organs and the Authorities” took place in Anapa on September 8th and 9th. The conference was organized by the Center for Interethnic Cooperation and its partners from “European Dialogue” (London) and “Roma Ural” (Yekaterinburg). The organization of the conference was to a great part supported by the Department for Interethnic Relations of the Russian Ministry for Regional Development, the Department for Staff Supply of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Department for Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights of the Russian Foreign Ministry and by the Krasnodar Territory Administration. The conference was financed by the European Union, the British Global Opportunities Fund, the American private fund The Charles Stuart Mott Foundation and by the Krasnodar Territory Administration. The Krasnodar Territory Administration financed the expenses of all the participants from the Territory and also paid for the bus that was used to pick up all the participants of the conference on September 7th and to escort them to the airport on September 10th.
Members of federal ministries, leaders of ethnic organizations, members of the authorities and the militia from twenty regions of Russia, representatives from the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the European Union’s Representation in Russia, from NGOs from Great Britain, the USA and Hungary, from the embassy of Germany and the embassy of Switzerland took part in the conference. The number of participants amounted to 135 people.
This conference really represented a step towards a civil society, since a small NGO such as the Center for Interethnic Cooperation, which three or four years ago was little known, was able to not only gather so many representatives of high rank and members of the federal and regional authorities but also to create an amicable atmosphere among them. This informal atmosphere helped to successfully carry out the conference and also to instill useful contacts between people of various ethnic backgrounds, professions and regions.
The participants of the conference lived in six different hotels in Anapa, since there was no way to find such a high number of free rooms in one single hotel. The plenary sessions took place in the assembly hall of the hotel “Anapa Okean”, the working groups gathered in conference rooms of two other hotels. All working groups were accompanied by translators who assisted in communication between the English-speaking and Russian-speaking participants of the group. In the assembly hall of the hotel “Anapa Okean” simultaneous translation was provided, for which the organizers of the conference invited a special technical support team from Moscow. All speeches of the plenary sessions were taped and will be published on the Internet and in a special brochure. Consequently, we decided not to give a detailed report about the course of the conference. We would just like to add that the circumstances of the accommodation, the weather and the conditions in Anapa helped everybody to work successfully. There was also a two-hour ferry-ride on the Black Sea, which everybody really enjoyed and which was an excellent place for ample conversations between people who had not even known each other one day before.
In the first half of the conference on September 8th during the plenary session the participants of the conference got acquainted with Russian and international experience in interaction between ethnic organizations and the authorities. After a break the information exchange was continued in working groups. On the next day, the participants of the conference developed recommendations in their working groups, which were presented afterwards at the plenary session. After a short discussion, the recommendations were accepted and the task to edit and send them to the Russian government, the Ministry for Regional Development, the Ministry for Internal Affairs and the Federal Migration Service was referred to the Center for Interethnic Cooperation.
The final version of the recommendations is the following:
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE CONFERENCE
In an effort to realize the proposals that the president of the Russian Federation made to the Federal Assembly and considering the cumulative experience in cooperation between the authorities, the law-enforcement organs and ethnic associations, in order to rise the level of efficiency of interaction between representatives of ethnic associations, the federal authorities, institutions of local governing and law-enforcement structures, in order to increase preventive measures against violation of the law and the citizens’ safety and in order to eliminate discrimination based on ethnic characteristics the participants of the conference make the following suggestions:
1. That an interdepartmental federal working group for the analysis of the current practice in fulfilling the federal legislation in the field of national development and for the preparation of new legislative proposals be created. That federal acts regarding migration regulation and the definition of the legal status of migrants in order to simplify the existing procedures of defining the legal status of migrants on the territory of the Russian Federation be reconsidered.
2. That the initiative of the conference’s participants to found a federal agency for issues regarding interethnic relations in order to coordinate the ethnic policy of the state in all its varieties be supported.
3. That the government of the Russian Federation examine the question of a rise of wage for members of the militia.
1. That the authorities of the federal subjects of the Russian Federation in cooperation with the corresponding Central Directorate of Internal Affairs work out a special program of counteraction to xenophobia, racism, ethnic and religious extremism.
2. That the Ministry of Regional Development of the Russian Federation creates a special expert group of representatives of public organizations, the intellectual sphere and specialists on religion to work out a strategy of regional cooperation between the law-enforcement organs, ethnic associations and the authorities.
3. That the conducting of a regional ethno-political monitoring in the federal subjects by the authorities as well as by the law-enforcement organs be ensured and a regular exchange of the gained results between the authorities and the law-enforcement organs be arranged.
4. That the post of an assistant to the Minister/Chief for the Protection of Human Rights on the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Central Directorate of Internal Affairs and the Directorates of Internal Affairs of the federal subjects of the Russian Federation be introduced.
8. That a special expert group in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation for an elaboration of a strategy for regular interaction between the law-enforcement organs and ethnic associations be created. That, particularly in the Ministry for Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation and considering the opinion of the experts of the Ministry for Regional Development and of the ethnic associations, instructions for the Central Directorate of Internal Affairs of the Russian regions which ensure a successful cooperation between the militia and ethnic associations be worked out and meetings of this group be carried out at least once every three months.
9. That the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Central Directorate of Internal Affairs and the Directorate of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation organize a meeting with leaders of national associations within six months according to the schedule.
10. That the leaders of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Central Directorate of Internal Affairs and the Directorate of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation activate the work according to the development of the Public Council under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Central Directorate of Internal Affairs and the Directorate of Internal Affairs. Provision is made for task forces on examination/by the decision of interethnic and inter-confessional issues. These groups will work out and implement a concrete plan for events and discuss the results in regular joint-meetings, for example quarterly.
11. That operations for the extension of trainings, retraining, higher qualification of employees of the Department of Internal Affairs of Russia in work with the leaders and representatives of ethnic associations be accepted. To that end, several measures are necessary:
· There should be changes in the names of sub-faculties and lectures in the educational institutes of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation in order to put an emphasis on human rights and the formation of a civil society;
· The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation should work out and instill a program for an academic year and methodic study aids in order to prepare or retrain the members of the law-enforcement organs on the topic “Participation of the Law-Enforcement Organs in the Harmonization of Ethnic and Confessional Relations”. They should be educated about topics such as ethnic psychology, ethnic history of the region, particular features of the ethnic culture of the population of the area, ethnic habits and traditions of the main diaspora of the region;
· The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation together with representatives of ethnic associations and of the local authorities should initiate the preparation and implementation of a training program in order to teach the militia staff working in direct contact with the population about ethno-cultural characteristics and mutual tolerance.
12. That the Directorate of Internal Affairs be recommended to organize, together with the authorities, training for representatives of ethnic associations to educate them to expert level in cooperation with the leadership of the law-enforcement organs.
13. That the level of exposure and information awareness of the people about the activities of the law-enforcement organs and authorities in the field of interethnic relations (print flyers in local newspapers with a high print run or in dedicated newspapers and distribute them to departments for interior affairs and possibly create independent programs for broadcast on local TV) be raised.
14. That the Federal Migration Service be recommended to examine, together with the federal authorities of the Russian Federation, questions about the development of local centers of the adaptation of migrants on the territory, where there is demand for these centers.
15. That the current federal ethno-cultural autonomies be recommended to found a coordination council for the consideration of questions that are of general interest to the representatives.
16. That everywhere in the Russian Federation, publicly controlled centers for non-commercial organizations, be founded and financed by state budget.
17. That a socially orientated system of legal aid for ethnic cultural associations be developed and centers of legal support in cooperation with these associations be created. That coordination between these centers of legal aid and the law-enforcement organs be established.
Soon the Center for Interethnic Cooperation will send these recommendations to the addressees mentioned above. The prominence of the conference’s participants gives us reason to hope that the recommendations will not remain unnoticed.