Vox Europa – Spring 2015: Charlie, Human Rights, no hate

During the January 2015 session of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, 7 representatives of the EBU participated in many different committees and working groups concerning various subjects, such as:“Extreme poverty & Human Rights”. The Committee of Democracy Social Cohesion and Global Challenges launched a reflection on: “I am Charlie, I am …the march of 11th January 2015; a great hope and responsibility; how to react now?”

In June 2014 Michel Aguilar got elected chair of the INGO Human Rights Committee for a three-year term of office. During this session of the Council of Europe in January 2015, he presided the Committee for the first time. 

Short reports where given on the actual working groups, for example on ‘Eradication of hate speech’.

Michel Aguilar presiding the INGH Human Rights Committee (Jan 2015)

Michel: “The main issue at the plenary session of the Conference of INGOs last January at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg has been, of course, the theme of radicalism. The civil society expressed his concern and follows up a lot of work with regard to freedom of speech, freedom of religion and living together in a democratic society.”

The Human Rights Committee brings together some 160 NGOs. Topics that are currently on the agenda include: the protection of human rights defenders, media and human rights, religion and human rights, children and human rights, the Social Charter, economic and social rights.

Michel: “Amongst other initiatives, the Human Rights Committee (together with one of its members, the ‘’International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism’’) will organise a three days symposium open to everyone and called ‘’No hate web ; no hate speech’’ (see calendar, May). The main goal is to give people tools to react when they are confronted with a hate screen on the phone, or on the tablet or on the computer. (See :  http://nohateweb.eu/nhw/en/)

In these troubled times, the European Court of Human Rights is more than ever before an important tool to maintain the stability on our continent. At the end of March 2015 the Belgian chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, set up an important conference gathered the ministers of justice of the 47 member states as well as representatives of the civil society, to continue the reform of the court. This reform was launched in 2010 and will take end at this end of the current year. The main modifications will allow the Court to function better. Both, individuals and organisations will still have the possibility to be applicants as long as they take the specific rules of this very specific Court into account.

In the same way, the implementation of the European Social Charter is a main priority. But also the fight agains poverty, against isolation of the elderly, the mobilisation against child-trade and many other topics require today the attention of the civil society in every intergovernmental organisation.”

The EBU European Affairs team, early in the morning & ready for action

The EBU European Affairs team, early in the morning & ready for action

It was the first time that so many EBU members came to participate actively in the working groups and committee meetings. They had a very good time and fruitful exchanges. Michel and Gabriela felt very happy and thankful for this support of the work started 7 years before with the recognition of the EBU by the Council of Europe. 


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