The conference in 2010 focused on young people in trouble with the law. BEARR Chairman Tony Longrigg welcomed a distinguished panel of speakers from Britain, Russia, Ukraine and Georgia, all of whom had direct experience of working to help children and young people who fall foul of the law, and in very many cases come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Tony Longrigg expressed gratitude to CEELBAS for its continued cooperation, which is particularly helpful given BEARR’s small budget and the difficult times all NGOs are experiencing. The conference programme as usual provided an excellent opportunity for networking.
The presentations conveyed, as has previously been the case, a mixed picture of progress, with some countries or regions within countries developing innovative practice and good cooperation between the state and third sectors. Others still struggle to overcome old stereotypes and mechanisms, or show little interest in doing so, either due to lack of funds or for other reasons. And, as usual, the evidence provided by speakers of the dedication and imagination of the non-governmental organisations in the countries of the region, supported and encouraged by international NGOs, was both striking and edifying. Where real progress was identified, the reasons for this were more likely to be the existence of inspirational individuals in the judiciary and bureaucracy and the ability of more prosperous regions to set up new mechanisms. Encouraging examples were cited where real reform and compliance with international conventions relating to children were making significant progress, improving the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in these societies. One participant asked “how much are we helping?” The responses were “a drop in the ocean” and “one child…” – a strong signal for all concerned to continue their work and to try to help the countries of the region to step up their own efforts.
For the full conference report click here.
For the presentations, please click below: