Non-Governmental Organisations

STANDING COMMITTEE
CONF/SC(2011)SYN6

Strasbourg, 11 May 2011

SYNOPSIS

FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE

The Standing Committee, meeting on 14 April at the close of the Conference of INGOs:

1. Adopted the agenda [CONF/SC(2011)OJ5]

2. Approved the summary of decisions taken on 13 April 2011 [CONF/SC(2011)SYN5]

    The summary of decisions taken on 13 April 2011 was approved subject to the following clarification: after the closing date for submission of applications, contact would be made with the persons chairing the operational phase until the election of the new chairs.

3. Follow-up to the NGO Forum on “New multicultural challenges: how can NGOs play their part?”

    Heard a report on the Forum by Veysel Filiz:
    - 32 countries had been represented, with 110 NGOs comprising international NGOs, Turkish NGOs and national NGOs from south-east Europe and the southern Mediterranean;
    - The Forum had been organised by the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) as part of the Turkish chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, in co-operation with the Directorate General of Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport (DGIV) and COJEP International and with the generous support and major assistance of the Turkish authorities;
    - The themes discussed in the workshops had provided input for the preparation of a toolkit for the practice of intercultural dialogue;
    - The workshop working documents and the list of participants would be posted on the website: www.ngoforum-istanbul.org;
    - The Forum transversal group would produce the toolkit for the practice of intercultural dialogue on the basis of a questionnaire issued to the participants and a presentation would be made;
    - A review would be prepared by the transversal group set up at the Forum and an action plan would be presented to the Standing Committee in June;
    - The toolkit was due to be published by DGIV and disseminated in both languages.

4. Organisation of an event in October 2011 – What follow-up can be given to the situation in the countries on the southern shores of the Mediterranean?

    A Great European civil debate would be held in the autumn on the theme of “living together” in connection with the theme of multicultural challenges from the angle of intercultural dialogue. The toolkit would be presented so as to ensure consistency with the themes of the Istanbul Forum. Responsibility for preparation was assigned to Alain Mouchoux, Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee, who would co-ordinate the work with Veysel Filiz, Christoph Spreng, Sabine Rohmann and Yulia Zvereva in co-operation with Jutta Gützkow from the Council of Europe Secretariat.

5. Proposal by François Becker, 3Gi, for a study day in January 2012 on “Becoming citizens of a plural Europe: interfaith spaces and practices”

    The Standing Committee was informed about the above mentioned subject. A proposal by the working group on human rights and religion was submitted to the Standing Committee further to PACE Recommendation 1962 (2011). The Human Rights Committee asked the President of the Conference of INGOs to lobby the PACE for civil society to be involved in the platform for dialogue and to include on the agenda for the next meeting of the Conference of INGOs “The participation of the Conference of INGOs in the platform for dialogue recommended by the PACE in report 12553 on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue.”

    The proposal by the Human Rights Committee’s working group on human rights and religion was adopted unanimously.

6. Expert Council on NGO Law: report on Azerbaijan

    Since 2008, the Expert Council on NGO Law had provided a framework for analysing and advancing the legal conditions concerning NGOs in Europe. At its meeting on 27 January 2011, the Conference had instructed the Chair of the Expert Council, Cyril Ritchie, to propose a reform of the Expert Council’s practices, including the analysis of specific cases where the situation of NGOs was under threat.

    There was now a serious case of this kind, as representatives of human rights defenders had noted irregularities during the elections in Azerbaijan in November 2010, involving undermining of the operation and even the right to exist of NGOs in the country. The Chair of the Expert Council proposed investigating the situation and presenting a report to the Conference of INGOs at its June 2011 session.

7. Other business

    · INGO-Service association:
    - A call for contributions would be issued to all the INGOs;
    - Renewal of the members of the INGO-Service association was necessary.

    · 1st European Fair on Youth and Human Rights held in Strasbourg from 19 to 21 March 2011 by the Regards d’Enfants association

    - the objective of the 1st Fair had been to give children and young people a voice;
    - 1 500 young people had taken part for three days, in various workshops on human rights education;
    - the Conference of INGOs had held a round table on “Human rights Europe: from one generation to the next”.

    Rapporteur: Maritchu Rall (AIC)