PLATFORM is the first mission declaration of the European Movement for Diversity and Understanding dated from 1998. The document was formulated to communicate our statement on the social situation of the most vulnerable citizens in Europe in the turn of the millennium.
The objectives connected with the celebration of this special date have already been achieved but those which refer to the inclusion, participation and empowerment of the disadvantaged groups of society are still actual therefore we treat the PLATFORM as our most significant manifesto up to date.
The year 2000 symbolises a step into a new era. We will be given the opportunity to pause for a while and to question ourselves: Where do we come from? Where do we go to?
Our common cultural heritage explicitly confers to both disabled and disadvantaged people a right to live. Our history, however, has not always met the requirements resulting from this right. Charity alone is no guarantor for humanity.
All people are invited, in the spirit of the Declaration of Human Rights, to thoroughly occupy themselves with the past 2000 years of history. The goal of the Caravan 2000 is to approach the years to come where man - in all his aspects of diversity - will be the focal point. Each individual has the right to live and to have a share in society. This inalienable right must not be withdrawn for reasons of disablement, disadvantage or diversity. The UN-Charter of the Human Rights and the 22 Standard Rules on Equalisation stand for this postulate.
Nowadays, in many countries disabled people are much better integrated than ever before. Nevertheless, the issue related to the question of which life has more value than others is still haunting the minds and is even a topic of current discussion in the medical branch of eugenics. However, the democratic and cultural maturity of society reveals itself particularly by the way in which we treat people suffering from disablement, discrimination, exclusion and poverty and how we succeed in granting them a normal life, self-determination and participation in all social processes.
Caravan 2000 wants to benefit from the turn of time and the new epoch and to learn from both our common heritage and the distinctiveness translated by our European history and culture; to discover its essential elements in order to develop common strategies for the future. The aim is to encourage normality where things appear to be distinct and to promote a new dimension of social integration
Explaining the rights of disabled people is not enough! What they need is the establishment of conditions that enable them to practically live up to these rights. The Caravan 2000 will be a milestone in this context and will facilitate international exchanges and meetings between
The Caravan 2000 is designed to achieve this goal together with its international partners. Intercultural programmes where people meet and where both disabled and disadvantaged people may participate do not focus on sympathy with the weak but stress the recognition of their creativity and joy in living.
One concrete expression of this goal will be a conference train of the Caravan that will leave from the the memorial site of the German town of Hadamar. This town symbolises the systematic assassination of an innumerable amount of disabled people. From there, the Caravan will go to various sites and towns throughout Europe of historical and current significance for its ideas, to the Italian town of Assisi which stands for a special commitment to people - whether ill, weak or poor - in the spirit of Francis of Assisi.
Consequently, the Caravan 2000 is a journey into the past, looking for a common social basis and new ways for the treatment of disabled people, striving for an even better social future in Europe. This trespassing shall make use of the large number of different ways in dealing with each other, provide for a common learning experience, stimulate and trigger dormant and long forgotten potentials.
The Caravan 2000 will stress the tension between two poles: the right of disabled people to live their life and their assassination; their integration and their exclusion, and thus between the past, the present and the future. In a number of events such as concerts, plays, exhibitions, seminars, expert meetings, public debates and multimedia presentations, people participating in the Caravan will be able to widen their horizon.
The result of all this will be a new impetus for a new intercultural and integrative educational approach for disabled people and two youth centres - one in Hadamar and one in Assisi. With the cultural context in these countries and the evaluation of the experiences made during the Caravan, the young people will continue a dialogue on:
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