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National contact persons appointed to liaise with GRETA meet in Strasbourg
Strasbourg, 19 September 2013 – For the second time since 2010, a meeting of the contact persons appointed by the Parties to the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings to liaise with the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) took place in Strasbourg on 17 September 2013. GRETA was represented by its Bureau.
The aim of the meeting was to have an exchange on experiences from the first evaluation round of the implementation of the Convention, which was launched in 2010, and lessons learned which should be taken into account when preparing the second evaluation round.
Since the first meeting of GRETA’s contact persons in February 2010, the number of Parties to the Convention has grown from 27 to 40. Contact persons are appointed from among officials from governmental structures with responsibility in the area of national anti-trafficking action and their role is to liaise with GRETA on all issues relating to the evaluation of the implementation of the Convention.
During the meeting, contact persons expressed their overall satisfaction with the functioning of the unique monitoring mechanism set up by the Convention and welcomed the dialogue established between GRETA and the national authorities. The organisation of country evaluation visits was seen as an opportunity to bring together relevant stakeholders as well as to exchange with professionals in different parts of the country. The involvement of civil society in the evaluation process, in particular at the stage of replying to GRETA’s questionnaire, was addressed. A number of suggestions were made on adjustments which can further improve the evaluation process in the future.
The contact persons stressed the value of GRETA’s reports which constitute an authoritative source of information on action against human trafficking and serve as a basis for the preparation of new national action plans, legislative changes and other measures.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss the follow-up which will be given to the recommendations made by the Committee of the Parties to the Convention on the basis of GRETA’s reports. The government replies of the first three countries which were evaluated by GRETA (Austria, Cyprus and the Slovak Republic) are due to be submitted to the Committee of the Parties by the end of September 2013.
Finally, the contact persons were informed about the organisation of activities by the Council of Europe to promote the implementation of GRETA’s recommendations. A number of national round-table meetings to discuss this implementation and possibilities for co-operation projects have already been organised and this process will continue in the future.
The President of GRETA concluded the meeting by thanking all contact persons for their valuable assistance throughout the evaluation process. GRETA will take the contact persons’ feedback into account when preparing the second round of evaluation of the Convention.