Conference on Democracy and Human Rights Held in Budapest
CODE ’11, 28 June 2011
Conference on Democracy and Human Rights Held in Budapest

The International Centre for Democratic Transition (ICDT) and the Tom Lantos Institute (TLI) successfully held their first common initiative, the Conference on Democracy and Human Rights (CODE ’11) in Budapest on Tuesday, June 28th. The event took place in the decorative hall of the prestigious Museum of Ethnography with similarly prestigious guests and speakers. Amongst well known public officials (former and current ministers, ambassadors and civil experts) perhaps the most distinguished participants were the members of the Tom Lantos family.

The opening speech was delivered by Ambassador István Gyarmati, President of the Democracy Public Foundation (DEMKK), who in his remarks cherished human rights and argued that they were essential in order to have a functioning democracy in a country. He was followed by such renowned speakers as H.E. János Martonyi, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Honorary Board Member of the ICDT, who pointed out the importance of the transatlantic relations and emphasized that even a relatively small country as Hungary can take on the role of an initiator within the EU and the NATO. Dr. Tomicah Tillemann, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies spoke about his firm belief that democratic societies gain their strength from their diversity and pluralistic make up. A pre-recorded video message was displayed from His Royal Highness El Hassan bin Talal, Prince of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, who stressed the importance of the „Arab Spring” and the positive changes it brought. He pointed out that their achievement can only be taken to the next level if the communication between the government and civil-private spheres is brought closer to each other.

The conference was primarily called together in order to discuss three very timely topics, namely the developments concerning the democratic processes in the neighborhood of the European Union, with special attention to Eastern Europe, the question of Roma integration and the wave of democracy movements in the Arab world.

Dr. Rita Izsák, President and CEO of the Tom Lantos Institute, opened and moderated the first panel of the conference that dealt with the Roma question. The list of speakers included Ms. Lívia Járóka, Member of the European Parliament, EPP Group and Rapporteur of the European Roma Strategy, Mr. Jeroen G.C. Schokkenbroek, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues in the Council of Europe and Mr. Andrzej Mirga, Senior Adviser on Roma and Sinti Issues.

Preceding the lunch break a mini-panel on the democratic developments in Central Europe was opened by Ambassador László Várkonyi, President and CEO of ICDT, introducing a short presentation of Prof. Dr. Rudolf Bretschneider and Dr. Ákos Kozák, presidents of GfK Austria and GfK Hungária.

In the afternoon, the Eastern Partnership Panel was opened by Mr. Sándor Köles, ICDT’s Vice President for Programs, followed by Dr. Nicu Popescu Senior Research Fellow in the European Council on Foreign Relations who moderated the discussions with H.E. Giorgi Baramidze Vice-Prime Minister of Georgia and State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, H.E. Iurie Leancă Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, Mr. Zsolt Németh, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary and Mr. Aleksander Milinkievich Representative of the Movement for Freedom from the Republic of Belarus giving presentations.

Finally, the discussions regarding the Arab revolutions were performed and moderated by Dr. Amine Mahfoudh, High Authority for the Implementation of the Objectives of the Revolution and the Democratic Transition of the Tunisian Republic while additional speeches were delivered by Mr. Kurt Volker, Former United States Permanent Representative to NATO, H.E. Hassan Abu Nimah Director of the Regional Human Security Centre, Amman, Jordan and Advisor to Prince of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan HRH El Hassan bin Talal, and Mr. Ahmed Ezz El-Arab Vice President, Wafd Party, Arab Republic of Egypt.

Ambassador Gyarmati in his concluding remarks expressed his gratitude to the participants and hope for continuing discussions regarding democratic change and human rights in a similar manner in the future, within the frameworks of CODE.

Please click here to see the DVD message from His Royal Highness El Hassan bin Talal.

Please click here to see the DVD message from Ms. Lívia Járóka (in Hungarian).

Media coverage of the conference:
Prime News: George Baramidze Pays Official Visit To Hungary (in English)
Népszava Online: Washington a civil társadalmat erősítené (in Hungarian)
HírTV: Martonyi: Mindannyian függünk egymástól (in Hungarian)
Inforádió: Németh Zsolt: Önkritikát kell gyakorolni a bővítési politikában (in Hungarian)
Gazdasági Rádió: Martonyi: a NATO a magyar külpolitika egyik alappillére (in Hungarian)
Magyar Nemzet Online: Az Európai Unió követel, de ad is – A bővítést folytatni kell (in Hungarian) A bizalmatlanság és az előítéletek is okozzák a romák gondjait (in Hungarian)
ATV: Tom Lantos lánya: túl kell lépni a végzetes megosztottságon (in Hungarian)
Stop: Tom Lantos unokája erősítené a magyar civil társadalmat (in Hungarian) Clinton tanácsadója: "az átlagembereknek átlagon felüli képességeik vannak" (in Hungarian) Martonyi: "ugyan az EU követel, de ad is" (in Hungarian)
Mandiner: Martonyi: Mindannyian függünk egymástól (in Hungarian)
Hírszerző: "Az átlagembereknek átlagon felüli képességeik vannak" (in Hungarian)
Galamus-Csoport: Transzatlanti hét - Németh Zsolt: a Nyugat hozzáállásán is múlik az arab tavasz sikere (in Hungarian)
168 óra Online: A civileknek kellene a kormányt ellenőrizni (in Hungarian)
Transindex: Lelassulhat a romák integrációja, ha a közvélemény hozzáállása nem változik (in Hungarian)
Népszabadság Online: Elindult a transzatlanti hét Budapesten (in Hungarian)
Népszabadság Online: Ma Rice, holnap Clinton. A Reagan-szobortól a Tom Lantos Intézetig (in Hungarian)
Regnum: Вице-премьер Грузии провел встречи в Венгрии (in Russian)
Regnum: Барамидзе в Венгрии: Россия пытается дестабилизировать ситуацию в Грузии (in Russian) Leancă a efectuat o vizită la Budapesta (in Romanian)

1 July 2011

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