Categories
EN Unchained News Projects VANGUARD VANGUARD

VANGUARD: Reinforcing the fight against THB

Twenty-two organisations from twelve different countries joined forces for a new Research and Innovation EU project, VANGUARD (adVANced technoloGical solutions coupled with societal-oriented Understanding and AwaReness for Disrupting trafficking in human beings).

VANGUARD is a three-year project, funded by the European Union under the Horizon Europe programme, which aims to strengthen the fight against trafficking in human beings (THB), at the nexus of advanced technological solutions of understanding, awareness raising, and training to disrupt the trafficking chain (online and offline) at an early stage and to address the culture of impunity. In addition, it aims to provide an improved intelligence picture of THB, with particular focus on THB for purposes of sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, and forced criminality.

This will be achieved through developing a modular and trustworthy suite of tools for detecting, identifying, investigating, and preventing online-facilitated THB activities and THB-related activities at (border) checkpoints based on the analysis of online multimedia content and multimodal streams, by leveraging the latest advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI).

CERTH-ITI, and in particular the Multimodal Data Fusion and Analytics Group (M4D), being the Coordinator of the VANGUARD project, together with the Visual Computing Lab (VCL) of CERTH-ITI, hosted the two-day kick-off meeting of the project on November 7 and 8, 2023 at their premises in Thessaloniki, Greece. More than 30 attendees representing all the partners from research and academic institutions, technology-oriented companies, and civil society organisations, as well as Police and Border Guard Authorities, had the opportunity to set up a clear action plan for the upcoming months, thus facilitating the fruitful and successful implementation of VANGUARD objectives. The kick-off meeting was also attended by the European Commission Project Officer who welcomed this attempt, underlining in parallel the need for continuous collaboration and a multidisciplinary approach to effectively tackle THB behaviours, resulting in effective policy making initiatives.

The Consortium

Coordinator: CERTH (EL); Partners: GGMH (DE), UCSC (IT), WAT (PL), KU Leuven (BE), ΚΕΜΕΑ (EL), CEA (FR), ICCS (EL), FUNDEA (ES), ENG (IT), ATOS IT (ES), ITTI (PL), RAD (RO), BayHfoD (DE), MJ (PT), MCH (ES), GPI (MD), HELLENIC POLICE (EL), EPBGB (EE), RBP (RO), GIBP (MD), CENTRIC (UK).

Categories
EN PARTES News Projects

The Euro-Arab Foundation participates in the PARTES project on the protection of places of worship

PARTES project (Participatory approaches to protecting places of worship) proposes a comprehensive model for the protection of places of worship (PoW) that is evidence-based, inclusive and participatory, in order to effectively combat the security threats posed to synagogues, mosques and churches in the European Union, thus also preventing hate crimes against religious communities.

The Euro-Arab Foundation is part of the consortium and leads the “Threats and Responses Landscape” work package, which coordinates research to establish an overview of attacks on religious communities, hate crimes against them and existing protection measures, as well as to identify good practices for cooperation between religious institutions and public authorities, and for the protection of places of worship.

PARTES aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Map the specific threat landscape of involved religious communities (incl. cyber threats); 
  • Assess and derive lessons learned on vulnerabilities and existing security concepts of involved religious communities and exchange best practices on protective measures Europe-wide; 
  • Establish cooperation and communication structures and channels between religious communities and local authorities; 
  • Develop proactive and preventive security measures; 
  • Carry out trainings and workshops with religious and local authorities; 
  • Raise awareness among the wider population about the threat and strategies of extremist organisations targeting places of worship and involve them in prevention strategies. 

The methodology employed in the project is multi-disciplinary and participatory in nature, involving researchers and end-users within and beyond the consortium, and also citizens. PARTES employs a variety of methods, from desk research and interviews to live labs, workshops and dialogue forums.

The project seeks to make a significant contribution to the improvement of the overall protection of public spaces through the creation and enhancement of PoW’s preventive and security concepts by taking the threat landscape, the online dimension and pre-attack, preventive phases and measures into account, as well as by the newly established communication structures with authorities.

The motivation for this project lies in the recent trend of attacks and hate crimes, both in the digital and physical world, targeting places of worship in Europe and around the world. These attacks are symptomatic of a growing violent extremist phenomenon in Europe, fuelled by extremist rhetoric, ignorance of other religions and cultures, and insufficient societal engagement in preventing extremism.The project considers that this phenomenon needs to be addressed in a more complex way, going beyond architectural security and police presence.

PARTES is funded by the Internal Security Fund of the European Commission. The consortium involves experts of 15 institutions from 10 European countries, where the project coordinator is the Austrian Institute of International Affairs (oiip).

More information about the project on the official website: www.partes-project.eu

Categories
EN Standup News Projects

The Euro-Arab Foundation holds STAND-UP training courses at communication and journalism universities

The first phase of this training has focused on future professionals in this sector, with sessions given last week on 15 and 16 May at the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the University of Malaga (UMA) for students of Citizen Journalism and Social Networks of the Journalism Degree, and for students of Audiovisual Programming and Audience Analysis of the Audiovisual Communication Degree at the University of Granada (UGR).

The training package, developed by the Euro-Arab Foundation researchers Lucía García del Moral, José Luis Salido Medina and Daniel Pérez García, focused on three specific blocks: presentation of the results of the monitoring they have carried out in two fields, Islamophobia and extreme right-wing hate speeches, and a third block on alternative narratives as a response to hate speeches from a holistic perspective.

The Euro-Arab Foundation, a member of the STAND-UP consortium and responsible for its Communication package, has initiated this training as it understands that the media are a fundamental element in the chain of information and education of citizens because, according to the European Code of Ethics in Journalism, approved in 1993 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, “the media assume an ethical responsibility towards citizens and society that is necessary to remember at the present time, when information and communication are of great importance for the development of citizens’ personalities as well as for the evolution of society and democratic life“.

One of the training sessions given at the University of Malaga

The main objective of the STAND-UP project is to improve inter-agency cooperation in the fight against hate crime through the design, development and implementation of a new inter-agency model led by public authorities. Among the different actions developed by this project, funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers, is the design and implementation of training for civil society organisations, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judges on how to report, investigate, prosecute and prevent hate crime and discrimination.

The model developed by the STAND UP project, which involves institutions from four European countries: Spain, France, Greece and Italy, includes technological tools to improve the reporting, investigation, prosecution and prevention of hate speech and hate crime, as well as the exchange of data between different agencies; an established definition of hate crime; standardised templates for reporting hate crime (for law enforcement and civil society organisations) and an inter-institutional manual for victim support.

Categories
EN Shield News Projects

SHIELD project virtual training on the protection of places of worship

The EU-funded SHIELD project is holding a virtual training on 17 May on the protection of places of worship for representatives of Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities.
The project aims at the interfaith protection of places of worship against possible terrorist attacks. This practical course taught in English will be held online behind closed doors with the project partners and attendees and will last five hours (10:00 – 15:00 CET).

This training session will involve law enforcement, security and risk detection experts and religious organizations. The objective is to train religious leaders in security and teach them how to quickly report suspicious behavior to the relevant authorities, as well as to sensitize their respective communities to the risk of a terrorist attack.

All participants will be trained on security measures, communication, cooperation and prevention. During the session, three specialized workshops will be implemented about each religious community, in order to prepare the different actors to face a possible attack taking into account their specific needs, in order to be able to adopt customized methodological, technological and procedural solutions.

SHIELD is financed by the Internal Security Fund of the European Union and is is comprised of 19 members from 10 countries (Austria, Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Poland and Portugal), including the Euro-Arab Foundation. The project is coordinated by the partner SYNYO GmbH from Austria.

You can find more information about SHIELD on its official website (https://shieldproject.eu)