Vox Europa – Summer 2015
Short report of the Council of Europe Summer Session June 2015 in Strasbourg
The Conference of INGOs held its 2015 summer session from 22 – 25 July. Some major points have been:
- The Conference adopted with a great majority an action plan aiming to strengthen the participation of the civil society in the decision making process.
- Under the umbrella of the action plan of the Conference, the Human Rights Committee adopted an action plan focusing on discrimination. This issue covers a wide range of topics like the social rights in the time of economic crisis, situation of migrants, radicalism, etc.
- A small group of experts is going to travel during autumn in Bulgaria, Romania and Moldavia for field studies on how several local processes produce discrimination. After this journey, the Human Rights Committee will establish a report with concrete recommendations and spread it among the various bodies of the CoE.
- On the 22nd of September the Conference will held a training to enable more INGOs to engage collective complaints. See http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/socialcharter/Complaints/Complaints_en.asp
Start of the working group NO HATE SPEECH
After a long break, on 25th of June there a new meeting was held of the working group against hate speech. New coordinator for this work group is Gilles Bloch from the LICRA, who has been one of the main organisers of the ‘No hate speech symposium in Strasbourg in May 2015: http://nohateweb.eu/nhw/en/
The feedback has been very encouraging. Around 65 members of the Conference of INGO’s have stated that they are interested to continue the work. There have been discussions on how to continue and in which direction. Some perspectives are: who to extract the best of the experiences of the symposium, preparing a white book, to continue with the questionnaire, collect a bibliography, determine the action fields, etc. Gabriela Frey proposed to start collection examples of good practises that finally could lead to a toolkit to help make initiatives who to prevent hate speech easier available to a larger public.
Start of a working group “Human rights of women within Religions”.
After the work group human rights & Religions has finished its work with the report and three recommendations, quit some felt that the issue of violation of women’s human rights in Religion was not sufficiently dealt with and needs more exploration. A first informal meeting was held with the Anne Negre, responsible for Gender questions in he Conference of INGOs, François Becker coordinator of the report on Human rights & Religion and others. The aim is to organise a conference during the June-Session of the CoE 2016 in order to highlight the issue and to invite eminent women and men to discuss relevant subjects. There is also a questionnaire planned to go out to as many countries and different religions and non-religious groups to get a clearer overview on the actual situation. Gabriela Frey has been asked to take over the coordination for this working group.