The Conference of European Churches, in partnership with the Theological School of Aristotle University, organized the 3rd Annual Summer School on Human Rights “Stand up for Women’s and Children’s Rights!” from 31 May to 4 June in Thessaloníki.
More than 90 people, from different countries and representing a number of denominations, participated in the opening of the Summer School. Dr Anne Negre, gender equality expert from the Conference of INGOs at the Council of Europe was one of the main speakers invited. Here you can read her entire intervention on Women’s rights and Gender Equality seen by CoE
Other main speakers: Dr Fulata Mbano-Moyo, World Council of Churches programme executive for Women in Church and Society and Rev. Dr Patrick Schnabel, a European legal advisor for the EKD (Evangelical Church in Germany), representatives from NATO, European universities and many CEC Member Churches and Organisations in Partnership.
Among issues related to women’s rights participants discussed human and organ trafficking, sexual exploitation, working conditions and pay, an equal level of education and progress in the work place, arranged marriages and female genital mutilation. The situation of women and children was highlighted and discussed from legal, theological, and practical angles. In many cases, women and children are discriminated or denied their fundamental rights, such as the right to food, shelter, education, access to health care, participation in society and so on. In some European countries one of three women are victim or a potential victim of different forms of violence, including sexual violence and harassment. Children often face various types of violence and abuse on a daily basis, including bullying in schools. With regard to refugee women and children, the situation is direr still.
Participants agreed that a common response is needed by states, societies, churches and other religious organizations, as human dignity does not have gender or age. The summer school facilitated the exchange about best practices on how to promote gender equality and the rights of the child in church and society.
Summer School participants learned about international, European, and national legal frameworks on the protection of the rights children and women. The United Nation’s Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) and monitoring systems related to it are especially important for child-centred responses and safeguarding their best interests.
Close analysis of biblical passages and traditional teachings of the churches helped shape discussions. There was a call for a self-critical theology that takes children as a starting point and gives them a voice.
There were several study trips, including to the Centre for Roma Minors, to the premises to the NGO NAOMI, and to the refugee relocation center Diavata. The students who attended the summer school had also possibility to pass the exam from this subject and receive credit for their studies.
The Gender Equality Commission of the Council of Europe and the Estonian Authorities this country chairs actually the CoE, have organized in Tallinn a conference at the end of June: “Are we there yet? Assessing progress, inspiring action: the Council of Europe Gender Equality, Strategy 2014-2017“.
Anne Negre was invited as Gender Expert of the Conference of INGOs and observer of the Gender Equality Commission:
” My view was that the main point is implementation. I asked the INGOs of the Conference and they have the same advice. So my intervention was on this way.”
On 21 st of June, Human Rights Comittee at the Council of Europe will host a side-event moderated by Gender Expert Anne Nègre, Conference of INGOs. On June 22, a discussion will be opened on the subject, same place, same hour. On June 20, with the participation of the local group of AFFDU, a day in the town on « Sexism and Racism ». Anne will talk about sexism in communication.
Here below the programme.
ARE RELIGIONS A PLACE OF EMANCIPATION FOR WOMEN?
PROGRESS AND SETBACKS
Council of Europe
21 June 2016 from 13.00 to 14.30
Palais de l’Europe, room 2
The European Convention on Human Rights or the Lisbon Treaty for member States of the European Union respect religions or spiritual movements. National laws also protect freedom of conscience and worship for nationals of States countries of the Council of Europe while ensuring equality between women and men. We question the fate of this equality among places of worship.
Moderator Anne Nègre, Gender Expert, Conference of INGOs
Welcome Anna Rurka, President of the Conference of INGOs
Introduction Elena Centemero, Italian Parliamentarian, Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Mendel Samama, Rabbi of Strasbourg
Mohamed Tahiri, Chaplain, Preacher, Strasbourg Grand Mosque
Tenzin Palmo, Venerable Buddhist, Founder of the convent of Dongyu Gatsal Ling, India
Basile Iorgulescu, Representative of the Romanian Patriarchate, Priest of the Romanian Orthodox Church
Agnès Von Kirchbach, German Theologian, Pastor of the United Protestant Church, France
Paolo Rudello, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe
Closing Gulsun Bilgehan, Turkish parliamentarian, Former Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, Chairperson of the Media and Information Society sub‑committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
As you may know, Nadia Savchenko, an Ukrainian parliamentary, member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is in jail in Federation of Russia since June 17, 2014, despite the parliamentary immunity.
She is accused of directing mortar fire that killed two journalists. Her trial has been described as a farce by the EU and by the US envoy to the UN. Demonstrations in support of the 34 years old Nadia took place in some Ukrainian cities. On March 4, in protest against the proceedings of the Russian court, she announced a full hunger strike, refusing even liquids.
On March 11, at the Parliamentary Commission of equality and non discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE, Anne Negre, gender expert INGOs CoE together with Ms. Svitlana Zalischuk, Ukrainian parliamentary , Mr. Kronbichler, Italian parliamentary , Ms Ana Birchall, Romanian parliamentary, Ms Elena Centemero, chair, Italian parliamentary , Mr. Jonas Gunnarsson, Sweeden parliamentary, Mr. Jean-Pierre Grin Hoffman, Czech parliamentary have expressed their support to obtain her freedom as she is weakened.
More than 9,000 people, including Nobel prize-winner Svitlana Alexievich from Belarus, have signed an open letter iniatied by Ola Hnatiuk, a Ukrainian / Polish intellectual, historian and writer urging European leaders to take action to secure the pilot’s freedom.
Let’s show our support and sign here the online petition: Free Savchenko!
“Our ability to save her life will test the effectiveness of international diplomacy and our commitment to European values.”