SOLIDARNA was set up in 2015 as a strategic initiative of 55 Croatian human rights activists and civil society organisations, as it became clear that sustainability of human rights protection, the rule of law and democratic standards in Croatia are not safeguarded by the country’s membership in the EU on its own merit. The founders were especially concerned about the political trends and social tendencies of rising anti-liberalism, nationalism, xenophobia and authoritarianism in Croatia and its two neighbouring regions of Central Europe and the Balkans, but also more broadly. The assumption of gradual implosion of public funding for human rights advocacy proved correct, as did the expectation of rising needs for ad hoc citizen actions against illiberal trends, which are not eligible for project and program funding from the EU and state donors.
The foundation is organising a round table discussion on 16 February 2017 in Brussels. The debate will provide unique insiders’ insight into innovative activist and philanthropic practices of citizens’ resistance to hostile attacks on human rights that have arisen in Croatia over the past year, marked by acute democratic regression – transnational artists’ initiative Kulturnjaci2016, humanitarian-advocacy coalition Refugees Welcome, grassroots association Are You Syrious?, trade-union-civil alliance for education reform Croatia Can Do Better and SOLIDARNA – Foundation for human rights and solidarity set up by human rights community. In the discussion, the focus will be on creative approaches to resource mobilisation, advocacy and citizens’ engagement that can foster autonomy, resilience and sustainability of human rights activism across Europe, in light of ever more oppressive political agendas, too rigid funding regimes and systematic degradation of independent, investigative journalism.
The complete programme of the round table can be found here.