“EuroMed Rights is more than a talking shop, it’s a practice shop”

In 2022, EuroMed Rights celebrates its 25th anniversary! To mark this milestone, we asked members to tell us what EuroMed Rights meant to them and their organisation.

Co-ordinator of the NGO ‘80:20 Educating and Acting for a Better World’ based in Ireland, program manager of the developmenteducation.ie consortium and board member of Fairtrade Ireland. Tony Daly teaches and supports popular education on human development, human rights and active citizenship. He was elected a member of EuroMed Rights’ Executive Committee in 2021.  

“We may be a small organisation in Western Ireland, but we’re not stuck on an island, as our mission can only be fulfilled by working in solidarity with human rights defenders, trainers, academics, here and abroad, and this is what being part of EuroMed Rights means for us: we joined the network to collaborate, to get inspiration from and energise each other. It’s more than a forum, it’s become a community of practice.  

How do you see EuroMed Rights as a network? 

This is a network of people and not just a network of good intentions. It’s about understanding and feeling what a denial of human rights means in people’s lives, so we can do something about it together. Very few networks in the world offer this kind of activities. 

80:20 first got involved with EuroMed Rights’ Working Group on Human Rights Education, which no longer exists. It was a real opportunity for activists from the North to meet others from the MENA region. On a personal level, I got to know the network through my work on education, and then I got involved in the Working Group on Women’s Rights and Gender, where I was the only male at first, so I decided to use it to be more vocal on the necessity for men to get mobilised on the defence of women’s rights.  

What about its work? 

The many task forces, working groups, sub-regional and local working groups are the essence of the work done by EuroMed Rights and opportunities for its members and partners, especially small ones, to share information, collect material, ask for advice and explore new partnerships. They also allow for the opening of new spaces for discussion: for example, the joint task force between the Working Group on Women’s Rights and the Working Group on Economic and Social Rights.  

This meaningful, collegial, supportive way of working is hugely valuable, it has changed us as an organisation, and it has changed what we can do. It’s more than a talking shop, it’s a practice shop, a real and tangible space that has been very beneficial to us.  

What are you also proud of? 

I’m also proud that when it comes to gender mainstreaming, EuroMed Rights is leading by example. Opening up spaces on different issues to include a gender dimension is a signal of success. I’m confident that with time, the same can be done on climate justice for example. 

We have managed to remain relevant, but we must make sure that our membership evolves, and that the democratic nature of our internal governance is reinforced, especially as we are all operating in increasingly hostile environments, globally. There is a lot EuroMed Rights can do to keep supporting the culture of human rights and respond to the ambitious expectations of civil society. Living human rights is essential!” 

Tony Daly (Ireland), Executive Committee Member of EuroMed Rights and Co-ordinator of the Irish NGO 80:20 Educating and Acting for a Better World