More must be done to help women and girl refugees and migrants
A Council of Europe conference took place on 3 October in Athens, focusing on challenges faced by women and girl refugees and migrants. Anna Zobnina, Strategy & Policy Coordinator for the European Network of Migrant Women stressed that not enough is being done to care for the specific needs of women and girl migrants. More should be done to construct facilities for women specific needs, she told some 100 participants, including government staff and NGOs dealing with refugees in both origin and destination countries. Protecting the rights of migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls is one of the objectives of the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy. The conference was organised by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe in co-operation with the Greek NGO METAdrasi-Action for Migration and Development.
Master Class on gender-sensitive judgments at the European Court of Human Rights
On 1 October, the Gender Equality Division of the Council of Europe organised a Master Class for judges and registrars of the European Court of Human Rights. The Master Class was led by Françoise Tulkens, former Vice-President of the Court, and Dr Alexandra Timmer from Utrecht University. Participants discussed gender sensitivity in the reasoning of the Court’s case-law, women’s equal access to justice, and the role of the European Court of Human Rights.Ensuring women’s equal access to justice is one of the objectives of the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy. The Gender Equality Division has, for example, recently produced a Training Manual for Judges and Prosecutors on Ensuring Women's Access to Justice.
Recent visit by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, on her recent visit to Armenia focused on women’s rights, gender equality and domestic violence, the human rights of various disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, as well as questions related to accountability for past human rights violations in the country. The Commissioner has also issued her report on her visit to Estonia where she said that “to build a more cohesive society, the Estonian authorities should strengthen the protection of women from violence, close the gender pay gap and uphold the rights of older people”.
The Council of Europe Committee on Organ Transplantation (CD-P-TO), in collaboration with the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, has published a new guide entitled “Donation of oocytes: A guide for women to support informed decisions”. This publication aims at providing clear, accurate and balanced information to women about the donation of oocytes (also known as egg cells). *** The Council of Europe Steering Committee for Human Rights has published the result of its activities on combating and preventing female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage. The publication includes the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the need to intensify the efforts to prevent and combat female genital mutilation and forced marriage in Europe as well as good and promising practices on these important issues.
New Head of the Gender Equality Division at the Council of Europe
On 1 September, Caterina Bolognese took up her responsibilities as Head of the Gender Equality Division and Secretary to the Gender Equality Commission. Caterina’s background is in law and languages, and since joining the Council of Europe in 1997, she has worked with the Venice Commission, in co-operation activities (criminal law reform), intergovernmental work (crime problems) and monitoring (prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment). For four years she was the Head of the Council of Europe’s Office in Georgia. Caterina replaces Liri Kopaçi-Di Michele who is now Head of the Violence against Women Division and Executive Secretary of the Monitoring Mechanisms of the Istanbul Convention (GREVIO & Committee of the Parties).
Gender equality on the agenda in October- December 2018
5-7 December 2018 14th meeting of the Gender Equality Commission of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, France) The Gender Equality Commission will discuss the draft Committee of Ministers recommendation to prevent and combat sexism and look at preparations its forthcoming conference (Helsinki, March 2019). Exchanges are foreseen with the Chairs of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination (PACE), as well as representatives from Council of Europe sectors (GRECO, Violence against Women, Media). Thematic discussions on work with perpetrators of violence against women and gender-responsive budgeting are also on the agenda.
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