Reasserting the role of organised civil society as an active player in the field of democracy

Our body within the Council of Europe brings together 350 INGOs with participatory status. Our strength is based on the expertise of each INGO and of the national NGOs which contribute to our work.

We work to strengthen citizens' access to rights where the economy of exclusion and injustice are a form of violence against civil society and in particular the most vulnerable groups.

The main aim of our activities is to honour our commitment to ensuring that human rights, and consequently also social and cultural rights, are applied in member states’ legislation and in their daily practices. With a view to achieving this objective, we work together with the other bodies of the Council of Europe and governmental and intergovernmental institutions.

Your activities contribute to:

  • emancipating civil society and reinforcing its participation in decision-making processes.
  • building a society that knows how to use its freedoms and turn them into social bonds and respect for the state and its institutions.

I extend a warm welcome to all of you!

Anna Rurka
President of the Conference of INGOs

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Statement by the President of the Conference of INGOs

Support to MEMORIAL
Strasbourg 17 November 2015
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Statement by the President of the Conference of INGOs

MEMORIAL – the International Historical and Educational Human Rights and Charity Society - is one of the 325 INGOs with participatory status with the Council of Europe and a member of the Conference of INGOs.

Therefore, the Conference is concerned about the statement by the Russian Ministry of Justice accusing MEMORIAL of undermining the constitutional order, thereby threatening the organisation with criminal prosecution.

To quote Oleg Orlov, Board member of MEMORIAL; “Apparently, now criticism of the authorities is equivalent to calling for the overthrow of the government.”

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe underlines that it is one of the main characteristics of democracy that freedom of expression and association includes the right for NGOs to ask for policy changes, and to keep a critical eye on governments’ exercise of their power.

MEMORIAL, created by Andreï Sakharov, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, had contributed to the reconstruction of the national memories in many member states  of the Council of Europe. National and international history based on evidence, contribute to the building of a democratic and free society.

I call upon the member states of the Council of Europe, which have benefited from MEMORIAL’s expertise, to express their position and to implement the diplomatic measures required to re-establish MEMORIAL’s freedom of action..

I call upon the Russian authorities to withdraw the charges against MEMORIAL and restore dignity to this INGO .