GENDER EQUALITY TRANSVERSAL GROUP
Strasbourg, 18 December 2008
OF THE MEETING ON 1 OCTOBER 2008
FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE GENDER EQUALITY TRANSVERSAL GROUP
The Gender Equality Transversal Group, meeting on 1 October 2008, with Karin Nordmeyer in the chair :
· Adopted the agenda and nominated Christine Cromwell-Ahrens as rapporteur. Approved unanimously the report on the meeting of the Gender Equality Grouping on 24 June 2008. Many thanks to Karmela Belinki for her work as rapporteur [OING X (2008)CR2].
1. Strategies on how to use the new structure of a Transversal Group
a. Was informed by Tanja Kleinsorge, Secretary of the Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, about the Work Programme for the next period.
Took note that INGOs can make a greater impact on the work of the Committee by approaching the Committee directly, contacting the Secretariat and asking for further information. For example, when a resolution is in preparation, INGOs should provide an opinion in good time so that their thoughts can be included in the work of the Committee. If INGOs would like to handle a particular subject not mentioned in the work programme, they should inform the Secretariat.
b. Was informed by Anne-Marie Faradji, Co-Secretary to the Steering Committee on Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) and the European Ministerial conference on Equality between Women and Men, about the three work programmes of the Steering Committee: balanced participation (quotas for candidate lists) / protection against violence / gender mainstreaming. The CDEG distributes information concerning recommendations on equality, i.e. what needs to be done in terms of legislation, international commitment and concrete action. For example, the CDEG has urged member states to ratify the Convention against Human Trafficking.
Took note that the Committee supports the suggestion to appoint a Special Rapporteur for Europe on Violence against Women, who will report to the Human Rights Commissioner, and to establish a monitoring centre to collect statistics on violence against women.
Took note that many states are still opposed to Protocol 12 to the Human Rights Convention and the inclusion of a Protocol on Gender Equality. If they would sign and ratify Protocol 12, it would be a first step to a recommendation on Gender Equality.
c. Was informed by Ingrida Circene, Member of Latvian Parliament, Vice-Chairperson of the PACE Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, about the proposed Council of Europe Convention to prevent and combat violence against women.
Took note that it must be kept as broad as possible and should encompass the most serious forms of gender-based violence including domestic violence (sexual violence such as rape, sexual abuse of the elderly, forced marriage, honour crimes). Unfortunately, some countries categorise domestic violence as a private matter, but it should always be considered a crime.
Social and religious aspects must be taken into consideration, as well the impact of violence on mental and physical health and the resulting costs. The main contributing factors are poverty, a lack of education and the salary gap.
Took note that parliamentarians often have to be open for compromise, whereas NGOs can often take an unequivocal position.
d. Was informed on possible future working structures: In the interim periods between sessions, the Chair will email concrete information - including reports on meetings and who is doing what. With the newly established Transversal Group, it is important to make better use of the expertise of the various NGOs in achieving Gender Equality goals. The Gender Equality Transversal Group will meet at every session with interpretation but will also be free to organise sub-group meetings without interpretation.
2. Preparation of the afternoon Round Table discussion
Was informed by the Chair that the Deputy Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio will give a speech and take part in the exchange of views.
Karlis Elferts, Ambassador of Latvia, Committee of Ministers thematic co-ordinator on equality between women and men, will explain the new monitoring mechanism (GRETA), upcoming elections to GRETA and the future working structure. He will inform us on the possible contributions of INGOs to the monitoring process.
Ingrida Circene, Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men of the Parliamentary Assembly, will take part in the discussion on the proposed Council of Europe Convention to prevent and combat violence against women and will provide input from the PACE standpoint.
Took note that INGOs should urge their respective governments to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
Took note that a declaration as an outcome of the Round Table discussion will be presented to the Standing Committee on 3 October and after adoption will be sent directly to the Committee of Ministers.
3. Proposals on Amendments to the Rules of Procedure
will be distributed to the INGOs in November. Voting on the final amendments is scheduled for the January 2009 Session of the Conference of INGOs.
Cc: President of the Conference of INGOs
Members of the Standing Committee
Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly
Secretary General of the Congress
Secretary to the Committee of Ministers
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