Sustainable Democracy: Protecting the Rights of Vulnerable Groups of Mali, Morocco, and Mongolia
February 2007 - January 2008

Based on the conviction that the protection of the rights of all groups affected by democratic transition is a necessary element of sustainable democracy, the ICDT developed a one-year initiative to promote effective legal institutions and mechanisms to protect the rights of marginalized groups in three partner countries: Mali, Mongolia and Morocco.

Key Activities
In order to carry out this effort, the ICDT invited a working group of six participants from each country to join for the activities. Participants included ministry officials from judicial, interior or other relevant ministries and from the office of ombudspersons, journalists and NGO representatives specialized in issues relating to gender or vulnerable populations.

One of the projects most important added values was that it confronted participants with similar problems in different cultural and socio-economic contexts and familiarized them with the experience - both positive and negative - of the Central and Eastern European transitions. The project also intended to build further capacities through creating networks of various stake-holders.

Through this project the ICDT pushed the participants from the partner countries to formulate policy proposals that may serve as the basis for more practical projects.

The lessons-learned of this project is that there are some areas to improve: language barriers may become the bottleneck. Selection of target countries shall be done in a way that the primary working languages should be balanced, if it is not uniform. We always have to keep in mind that some terms, like discrimination, minority, etc. carry different connotations in different cultures, which always
needs careful and detailed discussion.

To sum up the lessons-learned of this project it has to be mentioned that bringing participants from different areas within a target country was a winning idea.

Beside the immediate networking effect, the different points of views brought in by the different professionals sensitized all participants to the possibilities of alternative interpretations.

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