Non-Governmental Organisations



Strasbourg, 7 January 2010

of the meeting on Monday 25 January 2010
from 2.30 pm to 6 pm
Room G03 (Agora)

    1. Agenda: for adoption

    2. Synopsis of the meeting on 30 September 2009 [CONF/HR(2009)SYN4]: for adoption

1st part of the meeting: Discrimination, a growing factor in the denial of human rights (2.30–4.30 pm)

To prepare for this meeting, see appendix.

  • 3. Resisting the rise of discrimination: tasks for human rights INGOs
    • 3.1. Overview
      • Rising discrimination in Europe: presentation by Gabriel Nissim (World Catholic Association for Communication - SIGNIS)
      • What forms of discrimination do human rights INGOs witness on the ground? For discussion.
    • 3.2. The case of sexual minorities: presentation by Nigel Warner (International Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association – Europe Region, ILGA-Europe):
      • - Draft recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to combat discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity; [CDDH(2009)019 Addendum IV]
      • - Presentation of actual cases of discrimination in this area, drawn from three European countries;
      • - Discussion;
      • - Proposal for a declaration [CONF/HR(2010)DEC1] in support of the draft recommendation of the Committee of Ministers.
    • 3.3. Actions to be carried out:
      • - Council of Europe instruments: presentation by Marc Leyenberger (Caritas Internationalis):
        • . Protocol No. 12 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: how to promote its signature and implementation by member states;
        • . Recommendations of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI): knowing and making known these standard reference texts;
      • - Collaboration with national institutions against discrimination where present: moves made by human rights NGOs in that direction;
      • - Council of Europe media campaign “Speak out against discrimination”: statement by a member of the team running the campaign;
      • - Actions on the ground conducted by human rights INGOs: testimonies and thoughts of the INGOs on the Committee;
      • - Presentation by Brigitte Kahn of the plan for a “European Youth and Human Rights Fair” whose theme would concern awareness and combating of discrimination.
  • Break
    • 2nd part of the meeting: ongoing work and information
    • (4.45–6 pm)
  • 4. Organisation of work relating to the INGO Conference’s participation in the steering committees dealing with human rights
    • 4.1. Recapitulation of how the participatory status operates in the steering committees and their subordinate bodies, by Marc Leyenberger, representing the Conference of INGOs on the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH):
      • - Steering committees and groups of experts on which the Human Rights Committee is represented for matters in its remit;
      • - The committee members’ specific contribution as representatives of “civil society”: how might this be improved; what preparation would it require?
  • 4.2. Setting-up of the sub-group on “Media Education” within the group on “Media and Human Rights”.
  • 4.3. Preparation of other matters on the agenda of the steering committees in the various human rights fields.
  • 5. Economic and social rights
  • Information on current work by Marie-José Schmitt (Action européenne des handicapés, AEH).
  • 6. Future of the European Court of Human Rights
  • On 18 and 19 February 2010 at Interlaken (Switzerland) there will be a high-level conference on the future of the European Court of Human Rights organised by the Swiss Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers - presentation by Giuseppe Guarneri (Institut international de l’étude des droits de l’homme, IIEDH).
  • Discussion of the interests at stake in this reform of the Court which addresses the present difficulties relating to its operation, in the committee’s civil society perspective as presented to the Conference by the President, Jean-Marie Heydt.
  • 7. Human rights and religions
    • For information: a working seminar on “Human rights and religions” will be held on Wednesday 27 January from 3.45 to 6 pm in Room 2 of the Palais de l’Europe, with Jean-Paul Willaime, Director of the Institut européen en sciences des religions, Council of Europe expert.
    • The seminar is open to all members of the Conference of INGOs.
    • Jean-Paul Willaime will also deliver a public lecture on Tuesday 26 January at 8.30 pm in the Münsterhof, 9 rue des Juifs, Strasbourg, on the theme “Place and role of religions in a secularised Europe”.
  • 8. Economic and social rights
    • Information on current work by Marie-José Schmitt, in charge of the working group on “Social Charter, economic and social rights”’
  • 9. Other business
  • Proposed questionnaire
  • to prepare for the work on discrimination
  • To ensure that our work is productive and genuinely sustained by the field experience of our INGOs, we are each invited to prepare for this meeting by considering the questionnaire below and asking the heads of our respective INGOs for their observations on the subject:
  • 1. The facts
  • · Has your INGO witnessed occurrences of discrimination in its field of activity?
  • · Have you observed frequent occurrences of discrimination on specific grounds?
  • · In which European countries especially?
  • · Are these forms of discrimination new or old? Are they on the increase or in decline?
  • 2. Is the text of Protocol No. 12 known to and used by your INGO?

    “The member States of the Council of Europe signatory hereto,

    Having regard to the fundamental principle according to which all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law;

    Being resolved to take further steps to promote the equality of all persons through the collective enforcement of a general prohibition of discrimination by means of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed at Rome on 4 November 1950 (hereinafter referred to as .the Convention.);

    Reaffirming that the principle of non-discrimination does not prevent States Parties from taking measures in order to promote full and effective equality, provided that there is an objective and reasonable justification for those measures,

    Have agreed as follows:

    Article 1 . General prohibition of discrimination

    1 The enjoyment of any right set forth by law shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

    2 No one shall be discriminated against by any public authority on any ground such as those mentioned in paragraph 1 (…) “

    3. Are other instruments (notably those of ECRI) known to and used by your INGO?

      Do you think that they could assist your INGO’s action in response to cases of discrimination?

    4. Which examples of action against discrimination could you contribute? What is your INGO’s assessment of the actions carried out for this purpose?

    5. Do you work in collaboration, or at least in liaison

      - with national anti-discrimination institutions?
      - with other NGOs?
      - with local, municipal or regional authorities?