On 22 March 2012 the Center for the Study of Democracy announced the public launch of the Rights Equality & Diversity (RED) Portal. Representatives of state institutions, involved in countering racism and discrimination in Bulgaria, as well as researchers and experts from non-governmental organisations took part in the event.
Mr. Dimitar Markov, Senior Analyst at the Law Program of the Center for the Study of Democracy, made the opening remarks, noting that the Portal is the first initiative of its kind, giving real time updates and aiming to document cases and trends, related to racism, xenophobia and discrimination and the measures, directed against them in the involved countries.
Ms. Maria Doichinova, Program Assistant at the Law Program of the Center for the Study of Democracy, did a short presentation of the RED Portal, officially launched on 19 March 2012. It is maintained by the RED Network, an independent network of 17 research and civil society organisations in 17 EU Member States, aiming to identify and counter the stereotypes, generating racist and discriminatory attitudes, speech, actions and violent acts. The Network is co-ordinated by i-RED, Institute of Rights Equality and Diversity, based in Greece, and its Bulgarian member is the Center for the Study of Democracy. The RED Portal is a map-based user friendly tool, contributing to the development of research and policies against racism and xenophobia through timely and effective reporting on the situation in those spheres on national and European level.
The Portal has two main components – an Early Warning System (EWS) and an Atlas of Racism, Discrimination and Equality. The EWS is a map based portal reporting on a real-time basis racist and hate crime alerts, situations and incidents in EU Member States, policy responses and positive initiatives regarding racism, xenophobia and discrimination and case studies, contributing to a more in-depth understanding of situations and context. The Atlas of Racism, Discrimination and Equality is set of specially developed indicators on policies, legislation and practice, as well as key statistic and demographic figures on each of the participating states. The Atlas is also updated on a real time basis and reports yearly on key areas, such as implementation of legislation, justice, anti-racist policies and organisations, employment, housing and segregation, education, health and social protection, public life, culture, sports, media, etc. The Portal also has additional components, such as library, a thesaurus of racist stereotypes by country, news and events.
In the ensuing discussion, questions by participants were addressed by noting that the Portal is a long-term initiative, relying on all stakeholders for supplying timely and relevant information in accordance with detailed criteria and the opinion of a Steering Group. Generally accessible data, publicised by state institutions, is used, with certain obstacles, as well as the reports of prominent organisations on national and local level. Currently, the RED Network encompasses 17 EU Member States and is open for development in order to cover the other EU countries. The online instrument offers various criteria for browsing and organising the information it includes and can as such be useful for state institutions and NGOs, as well as for attorneys, tackling cases of racism and discrimination, and citizens, victimised by such incidents.