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Statement and proposals of the Conference of INGOs on the ECHR

STRASBOURG 15 MARCH 2018

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe welcomes the initiative of the Danish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers to continue the process of reform of the European Convention on Human Rights system, initiated in Interlaken in 2010. However, many provisions in the Draft Declaration of 5 February 2018 need to be rewritten in substance and in its wording in order to truly meet the future requirements and challenges of the system of protection of human rights in Europe.  The Conference of INGOs transmitted its declaration and proposals to the members of the Steering Committee on Human Rights and the Permanent Representations of the Member States of the Council of Europe.

Statement and proposals of the Conference of INGOs

CIVIL PARTICIPATION IN THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

Visit of the conference of INGOs to Skopje - 26-27 March 2018

STRASBOURG 04/04/2018

A year ago, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" entered a new political dynamic marked by openness and democratic dialogue between public authorities and independent civil society. The importance of this change is necessary not only for this country but also for democratic security throughout the Western Balkan region. The current political climate is marked by the political will of policymakers and NGOs to establish a strategic partnership.

Migration in Europe: Call for united political will, commitment to Council of Europe standards and durable solutions

In order to successfully tackle the challenges linked to migration, there needs to be “a clear, principled and holistic approach by the Organisation covering all areas of migration management”, said the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees, Tomáš Boček, in his first activity report, published today.

More stringent border controls have led to a steady fall in the overall number of new arrivals in Europe, although it is likely that refugees and migrants will continue to arrive in significant numbers over the next years. The challenge for member states will be to ensure that the measures they adopt to reduce migration flows and to return failed asylum-seekers respect human rights standards. A further challenge will be to put in place policies to promote the inclusion of refugees and migrants with the right to remain in Europe.

Concerned by the current financial crisis affecting the Council of Europe, which could accelerate the regression of European civic space and democracy in Europe,  the Conference of INGOs sent a letter to all permanent representations to the Council of Europe, asking them to show more solidarity with the Council of Europe to stabilise the current situation.

Letter from the Standing Committee of the Conference of INGOs to all permanent representations to the Council of Europe :

Dear Ambassadors,

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe, representing European Civil Society, is deeply concerned by the current financial crisis affecting the Council of Europe.  The decision of the Russian Federation to suspend a part of its contribution to the Council of Europe and the decision of Turkey to reduce its contribution have, combined with the effects of years of 0% budget growth, placed the Council of Europe in an unprecedented situation. 

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe visits Member States to meet local NGOs and public authorities to introduce them to the Conference of INGOs, better understand the cooperation between NGOs and decision-makers and to discuss NGO participation in the public decision-making process. Certain legal frameworks are in place in countries in order to consult NGOs and to associate them in decision-making. 

     First of all, please accept my best wishes for the new year. May 2018 be a year of peace and serenity full of strong and important moments, always positive ones. We need a united Europe and we are working to make it that. I wish you energy and courage to face the challenges and success in your daily actions. The session of the Conference of INGOs is approaching and we will open together a new working year . As you can see in the annual Activity Report, 2017 was very rich. I am pleased to see that the impulse given to the development of the Conference has provided visible and coherent results, highlighting the expertise arising from our activities. Thank you very much for your trust! 

The forum focused on democracy crisis and populism.

The breeding ground of populism.

- The marginalization of certain populations, victims of economic violence. The exclusion of his community, pushes people to lose all rationality and to join a new community, to radicalize.
- Corruption, which allows access to power, but discredits those who use it.
- Social networks that allow the expression of hatred and lies with irresponsible authors.
- The media that choose headlines based on what citizens want to hear,
- A dull, rational and irrational anxiety, in the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11 in the USA and those that followed, with a feeling of a loss of control.
- The Russians want to destroy the post-Cold War global system. There are factories of false information.

The winter session of the Conference of INGOs will take place from 22 to 26 January 2018 (calendar). During the political debate on the situation of NGOs in the Member States, the representative of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights will present the report on the Challenges facing civil society working on human rights in the EU. The speakers will discussed the freedom of association and NGO participation in public policies in Estonia and Serbia.