Latest News (Site updated Friday, May 29, 2015 | 17:00)

Graz declaration on the implementation of human rights

[29/05/2015 14:30:00] The representatives of the Congress of the Council of Europe, in the presence of local and regional decision makers from 25 countries, coming together on the occasion of the international implementation forum “Focusing on Human Rights” on 28-29 May 2015 in Graz, Austria, adopted today a declaration on the implementation of human rights. “The point of time has come at which it is indispensable to respond to the threats to human rights and fundamental freedoms by means of enforcing the cooperation between authorities at all levels, exchanging best practises and assessing the outcomes of implemented actions in order to pursue a common strategy to enhance inclusion and make human rights a reality in Europe’s cities and regions,” concluded Congress members in their declaration.
Press release
Graz declaration
Grazer Erklärung
File Forum ''Focusing on human rights''

Jean-Claude Frécon: “This declaration follows in the tradition of our work at the Congress”

[29/05/2015 16:00:00] “This forum gave us an opportunity to adopt this political text, which I see as a new departure for our activities” said Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Congress, about the declaration adopted by the representatives of the Congress in the presence of local and regional decision-makers from 25 countries meeting at the International Forum “Focusing on human rights”, held in Graz on 28 and 29 May 2015. The President also welcomed the commitment of Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, who also took part in the forum, and his unfailing support for the Congress in its work of highlighting the role of human rights at local and regional level.
Speech (French)
Text of the declaration

Jean-Claude Frécon: “Human rights must be upheld both by national elected representatives and also by local and regional elected representatives”

[29/05/2015 14:00:00] “At the Congress, we believe that good local or regional governance is not possible without the effective implementation of human rights,” said Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Congress, at the opening of the international forum for local and regional authorities, “Focusing on human rights”, in Graz on 28 May 2015. “We believe that human beings have inalienable rights which must be upheld both by national elected representatives and also by local and regional elected representatives,” he added. “When we define local and regional policies – whether in the social, employment, urban, environment, transport or education sectors – there is always a human rights aspect in implementing them,” he said. “The Congress has done a lot of work on the issue of implementing, promoting and guaranteeing these rights at local level. This forum ties in directly with what the Congress does in this area with the support of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights”, he concluded.
Speech (French)
File Forum ''Focusing on human rights''

Local elections in Albania: Congress carries out a pre-electoral visit to Tirana

[28/05/2015 11:30:00] A delegation of the Congress, headed by Gaye DOGANOGLU, Congress Vice-President (Turkey, EPP-CCE), makes a pre-electoral visit to Albania, from 27 to 29 May 2015, in view of the upcoming local elections scheduled for 21 June, the first vote to take place using the new territorial structure. The findings of the Pre-Election Delegation will be the basis for the preparation of the main Congress mission, to be carried out from 17 to 22 June. Photo: The Congress delegation with Lefterije LUZI, Chair of the Central Electoral Commission of Albania (in the centre)
Press release
File “Observation of elections”

“Focusing on human rights”: International forum in Graz for local and regional authorities

[28/05/2015 10:30:00] In partnership with the City of Graz, the Land of Styria and the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (ETC), the Congress is holding an international forum for local and regional authorities under the heading “Focusing on human rights” , in Graz (Austria) on 28 and 29 May 2015. The aim of the forum is to highlight the role of local and regional authorities in the implementation and promotion of human rights at the closest possible level to citizens. The President of the Congress, Jean-Claude Frécon, the Mayor of Graz, Siegfried Nagl, and the Regional Minister for Finance, Women and Integration in Styria, Bettina Vollath, will open the Forum, which will take place over two days with contributions from the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, political leaders and human rights professionals and experts.
Press release
File and programme
Congress reference texts

The future of young people’s participation in the work of the Congress

[27/05/2015 16:00:00] The ad hoc discussion group on participation by young people met for the first time on 21 May 2015 in Paris. The meeting was held to exchange ideas about how the Congress can promote young people’s participation in its work. The discussion group, set up at the meeting of the Bureau of the Congress on 2 February 2015, comprises three representatives of the Congress (Gunn Marit HELGESEN (Norway, EPP/CCE), Vice-President of the Chamber of Regions, John WARMISHAM (United Kingdom, SOC), Vice-President of the Chamber of Local Authorities, and Malcolm BYRNE (Ireland, ILDG), recently appointed thematic spokesperson on youth) and three representatives of the joint management system responsible for the Council of Europe youth sector (two members of the Advisory Council on Youth, Liam PRESTON, of the European Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Associations (YMCA), and Christian SCHARLING, from the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) were present at the meeting). The group held an exchange of views with Marcio BARCELOS, a member of the Board of the European Youth Forum. Further meetings are scheduled for 2015, with the next one taking place on 30 June 2015 in Strasbourg. For more information:

The Congress will observe the local elections in Albania, Moldova and Ukraine

[26/05/2015 14:00:00] The Bureau of the Congress, meeting in Paris on 22 May with Jean-Claude Frécon in the chair, focused in particular on the situation in Ukraine, where the Congress has just closed its post-monitoring dialogue on local democracy by signing a roadmap with the authorities for the implementation of reforms on decentralisation. The Bureau took note of the composition of the delegations for the observation of the elections in the Republic of Moldova and in Albania in June and of the elections to be held in Kosovo and in Ukraine, which the Congress could be invited to observe. It decided that at its next meeting it would discuss a timetable for the adoption of its priorities for 2017-2020. It also made an initial review of the participation of youth delegates in the 27th and 28th sessions and considered prospects for the future based on the work carried out by the ad hoc reflection group on the participation of young people, set up in March 2015. Following a presentation by the Mayor of Kobane and a statement adopted by the Bureau on the Kobane corridor at the 28th session, the French municipalities in the organisation “Cités Unies France” set up a solidarity fund for Kobane. The Bureau decided to pass on the fund-raising appeal by the President of this association to all the members of the Congress.

Congress monitoring visit to France

[26/05/2015 09:00:00] The Congress will make a monitoring visit to France from 26 to 29 May 2015. The delegation will be composed of Jakob Wienen (EPP/CCE, Netherlands), Rapporteur on local democracy and Mayor of Katwijk, and Gudrun Mosler-Törnström (SOC, Austria), Rapporteur on regional democracy and Vice-President of the State Parliament of Salzburg. This is the first visit to assess the application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government since its ratification by France in 2007. The Congress rapporteurs will examine in particular the territorial reform in progress and especially the conditions of consultation of the regions in the light of the Charter.
Press release
Monitoring of the European Charter of Local Self-Government
French Delegation to the Congress

Leen Verbeek : “Enhancing security through video surveillance requires safeguards for the respect of human rights”

[12/05/2015 14:00:00] Leen Verbeek, Thematic Rapporteur on combating radicalisation and King’s Commissioner for the province of Flevoland (Netherlands, SOC), represented the Congress at the State of the Union Conference organised by the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence on 9 April 2015. “When we speak of security, we think more and more in terms of technology and video-surveillance,” he said addressing the participants in the Session “Security, Freedom and Technology in an urban context”. “But we must be aware of the risks this involves with regard to human rights abuses. Enhancing security through video surveillance is good, provided safeguards are in place such as consultation of citizens, transparency in the aims, as well as proportionality between aims and means,” he stressed referring to the EFUS Charter for a democratic use of video-surveillance. Mr Verbeek insisted on the specific role of local elected representatives in developing and implementing security measures. “Local and regional authorities can play a crucial role in tackling the dilemma of security versus freedom because of their proximity to citizens,” he concluded.
Conference website

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