INGO Conference of the Council of Europe
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
WORKING GROUP “EXTREME POVERTY AND HUMAN RIGHTS”
Three areas of work for 2012:
• Support synergy between the work of the Council of Europe and the process towards the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights developed by the UN Human Rights Council.
• Move forward with the participation of the poorest in the construction of a Europe of human rights, with a view to an event in 2013.
• Help define the future activities of the Council of Europe, particularly in the light of the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress and the Conference of INGOs and the work of the intergovernmental bodies in the area.
For the three areas it is necessary to take stock of the relevant work of the Council of Europe, the European Union and the United Nations.
1. Support synergy between the work of the Council of Europe and the process towards the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights developed by the UN Human Rights Council
Following extensive consultations among member countries, INGOs and people living in poverty, the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty of the UN Human Rights Council, Magdalena Sepulveda, is currently elaborating the final version of the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, which should be adopted in September 2012.
Their adoption would be a great step forward in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty in that they:
- recognize that extreme poverty and exclusion from society constitute a violation of human dignity and human rights;
- recognize the principle that priority attention should be given to the poorest and most excluded;
- provide the basis for long-term solutions to extreme poverty;
- clearly define the responsibilities of the duty bearers;
- provide a common point of departure for action by all stakeholders, based on the realities of the situation of persons living in extreme poverty.
For the WG it means
- to mobilize the INGOs and other actors of civil society working in the fields of poverty, social action and human rights in that they take up this project and make it known to their national branches and partners in the double aim to raise awareness of the human rights dimension of their own activities and to lobby their governments with a view to the adoption of the Guidelines by the UN Human Rights Council in its 21st session in September 2012 and their transmission to the General Assembly;
- to prepare for the Human Rights Committee and the Conference of INGOs an action in favour of the adoption of the Guidelines, taking into account the discussions at the 19th session of the Human Rights Council which will give an indication of the positions of the States and of possible disagreements.
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2. Move forward with the participation of the poorest in the construction of a Europe of human rights, with a view to an event in 2013
This area includes the double perspective that on the one hand the poorest individuals, families and groups really benefit from the measures and policies against poverty and that on the other hand they have a real influence on the national and international policies regarding human rights. Many NGOs across Europe have the experience of working directly with people living in extreme poverty, sometimes involving other actors such as professionals in social service, health and education, scientists, elected officials and so on. NGOs and public authorities in several countries have introduced innovative cooperation to reach the poorest. The next step is to make known these good practices and to find actors willing to make use of them in their area of responsibility. At the same time this work can be used with a view to the official evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) during the 68th UN General Assembly in 2013.
For the WG it means
- to mobilize the INGOs concerned, also in order to meet local associations;
- to elaborate a paper presenting this participatory approach;
- to prepare the draft for an event in 2013, including potential partners on national and international level and budget.
3. Help define the future activities of the Council of Europe, particularly in the light of the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress and the Conference of INGOs and the work of the intergovernmental bodies in the area
The Council of Europe as a whole has done an important work concerning the eradication of extreme poverty, its key factor being the human rights based approach. There is a complementarity with the European Union which should be used. The adoption, on 15 November 2011, by the European Parliament of a resolution on the European platform against poverty and social exclusion provides an encouraging signal to lean on as well.
For the WG it means
- to prepare a note summarizing the spirit of the Council of Europe’s work and the possible lines of action;
- to prepare a note on the approach and objectives of the European Union;
- to support the Human Rights Committee in the consultations with the other partners of the CoE quadrilogue and the intergovernmental bodies to develop proposals for coordinated or joint activities. Needs and activities of the various components of the European Union are to be taken into account.