Strasbourg, 18 May 2009
FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE
The Standing Committee of the Conference of INGOs, meeting in Strasbourg on 29 April 2009, with Jean-Marie Heydt in the chair:
· Took note of the travel constraints mentioned by some members in connection with the timing of the end of the Standing Committee’s meetings.
1. Meetings of the Bureau of the Conference of INGOs on 31 March (Paris) and 27 April 2009 (Strasbourg)
· Took note of the reports presented by Alain Mouchoux, Vice-President of the Conference of INGOs, for the meeting on 31 March, and Maritchu Rall, Rapporteur of the Bureau, for the meeting on 27 April;
· Noted that a record of the Bureau’s main decisions would henceforth be sent to the members of the Standing Committee.
2. Situation of human rights defenders in Europe: exchange of views with the Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg
· Held an exchange of views with the Commissioner for Human Rights, focusing on the following topics: the expediency of an organised, positive response by the various agencies of the Council of Europe and public opinion to the threats affecting human rights defenders; the special attention that should be paid to issues of poverty and human rights at a time of global economic and social crisis; incentive to exchanges with civil society in Belarus; development of civic sense in the younger generations to confront expressions of xenophobia;
· Approved the initiative of the Commissioner for Human Rights in favour of a regional forum of human rights defenders in the Caucasus, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine and took note of the Commissioner’s wish to receive the support of the Standing Committee members in carrying out an initiative of this kind.
3. Working methods of the committees and transversal groups
· Took note the chief responsibilities of the Bureau members and current delegates (chargés de mission) according to the decision taken by the Bureau at its meeting on 27 April in Strasbourg;
· Approved the proposals of sub-committees and working groups within the committees and transversal groups, stressing that the meetings of these bodies should be held as a matter of priority within the time allotted to committees and transversal groups, failing which it would not be possible to guarantee availability of a meeting room, much less interpretation;
· Took note of the proposals for representation of the Conference of INGOs on the governmental steering committees and subordinate committees with a view to a subsequent decision in the matter.
4. Verification and Dispute Committee
· Took note of the commencement of the proceedings of the working group to review the provisions in the Conference Rules of Procedure regarding elections, under the responsibility of Rémi Berthier (International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe), whose proposals for revision should be referred to the Standing Committee in due course. The working group was invited to specify the timetable for working out the proposals.
5. Sessions of the Conference of INGOs
· Decided to postpone the meeting of the Human Rights Committee on Tuesday 29 September to Wednesday 30 September from 2.30 to 6 pm and to arrange the meetings of the two transversal groups for the beginning of the session, ie on Tuesday 29 September from 2.30 to 4 pm for the Gender Equality Transversal Group and from 4.15 to 5.45 pm for the Europe and Global Challenges Transversal Group;
· Decided to consider at its meeting on 24 June 2009 the possibility of organising a forthcoming session of the Conference of INGOs to coincide with a plenary session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.
6. Dates of the next meetings: Wednesday 24 June 2009 (4.15 – 6 pm)
Thursday 1 October 2009 (2.30 – 5.30 pm)
Cc: Members of the Standing Committee
Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly
Secretary General of the Congress
Secretary to the Committee of Ministers
Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights
Director of the Private Office of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Director of External Relations
Director of Strategic Planning
Director of Communication
Director of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights