Non-Governmental Organisations

    SPRING SESSION
    GENDER EQUALITY TRANSVERSAL GROUP

    CONF/TG/GEN(2010)SYN2

    Strasbourg, 26 April 2010

SYNOPSIS OF THE MEETING OF 26 APRIL 2010

    FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE GENDER EQUALITY TRANSVERSAL GROUP

    The Gender Equality Transversal Group meeting in Strasbourg on 26 April 2010, with Karin Nordmeyer in the chair:

    Opened the meeting and welcomed a group of 25 French women students and their female professor as guests at the meeting.

      The Vice-Chair Christiaan Colpaert presented a paper to open the debate on the Burka : “Pas de contrainte en religion” (see attachment, only in French ).

    Agreed to have a formal discussion on the important issue of “the burka” at the next meeting in June 2010.

    Agreed to work closely with the Human Rights Committee’s sub-group on Human Rights and Religion .

    1. Adopted the agenda [CONF/TG/GEN(2010)OJ2]

    2. Adopted the synopsis on the meeting held on 25 January 2010.

    3. Nominated the Rapporteur Vera John-Mikolajewski (University Women of Europe) for this time and for the rest of the term.

    4. Follow-up on activities since the last meeting of the Gender Equality Transversal Group.

    Was informed that a “letter of intent” was available on request from knordmeyer@aol.com to urge respective governments to sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CTS 197).

    Was informed that trafficking and other severe violations of women’s rights among the migrant working woman population especially in the Mediterranean Region would be on the agenda at the meeting of the Gender Working Group of Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) in Casablanca (24-25 April 2010). NGOs dealing especially with migrant women’s issues should send a “letter of intent” to the respective governments and the authorities responsible.

    Agreed to publish an “open letter” on the right to abortion for all women in Europe -

      the text of the letter would be prepared by the Chair and Sophie Dimitroulias (Association of Women of Southern Europe, AFEM).

    5. The Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) and the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (spring session 2010):

    Was informed on reports relevant for women’s rights in Europe which were currently presented and debated in the Parliamentary Assembly : Associating women in the prevention and the solution of unsolved conflicts in Europe (Doc. 12169), Women and the economic and financial crisis (Doc. 12195), Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (Doc. 12185 and 12197).

    A brief summary was prepared by Heleen Jansen (see attachment 2).

    6. The 7th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Equality between Women and Men, 24 -25 May 2010 in Baku/Azerbaijan: “Bridging the gap between de jure and de facto gender equality”.

    Was informed of the cancellation (due to the air travel disruption after the volcanic eruption) of the 43rd meeting of the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG).

    Was informed that all necessary documents concerning the Ministerial Conference could be found on the website http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/equality.

    Took note of the invitation extended to the Chair of the Gender Equality Transversal Group to represent the Conference of INGOs at this high level conference. The Chair would address the Ministerial Conference at the opening session.

    Agreed that the Group would send directly to the Chair important items they felt should be included in her speech by 20 May 2010.

7. The Ad-Hoc-Committee on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (CAHVIO).

      Was informed about the possibility to send comments on the draft version of the text of the convention directly to the chair by 1 June 2010, especially as regards the requirements and expectations of the future monitoring process. The Chair would coordinate and prepare the final contribution of the Conference of INGOs to the text of the Convention.together with the working group.

    Was informed that the International Lesbian and Gay Association Europe (ILGA-Europe) had received observer status with the CAHVIO by decision of the Committee of Ministers.

8. The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), 54th Meeting - 15-year Review
of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action:

      Was informed about the new gender equality entity to be established at the United Nations by merging the four former UN agencies: Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI), UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW). The new entity is expected to be more powerful with regard to the de facto advancement of women. It will be headed by an Undersecretary General who will be appointed by the UNSG within the next weeks and will then prepare the structure of the entity.

      Agreed to continue putting pressure on governments to organise a fifth UN World Conference on women’s issues in the future.

    Was informed that trafficking in women had been an important issue under discussion in the Review process of the Beijing Platform for Action during the CSW.
    9. Other business: none
    10. Expected date of the next meeting: Tuesday, 22 June 2010