Council of Europe
Since its creation seventy years ago, the Council of Europe has been consistently working for Europeans to enjoy the same standards of human rights, democracy and the rule of law enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. If these rights and values are not respected, individuals have the ultimate right to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. This is unique in European and world history.
Today’s most pressing undemocratic trends resurfacing in many parts of Europe concern freedom of expression, the independence of the judiciary, the impact of artificial intelligence on human rights and discrimination against vulnerable people. You can download here the “Council of Europe Highlights 2018” – english and french version – to see how diverse bodies of the Council of Europe, in cooperation with its member states, worked throughout the past year to tackle them, with the aim of making Europe a safer and more democratic place for everybody.
The Recommendation on preventing and combating sexism has been adopted yesterday by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.
In response to the #MeToo and other recent movements that have heightened awareness of persistent sexism in society, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted the first-ever international legal instrument to stop sexism, which includes the first international definition of sexism.
UWE President Anne Nègre, as the representative of the Conference of INGOs, was in the writing group and is very happy of this result.
The recommendation stresses that sexism is a manifestation of “historically unequal power relations” between women and men, which leads to discrimination and prevents the full advancement of women in society.
Because it is “widespread and prevalent in all sectors and all societies, and (…) sexism and sexist behaviour are rooted in and reinforce gender stereotypes,” sexism is defined for the first time ever in a dedicated legal instrument to tackle it, via a comprehensive list of measures and areas where sexism occurs, from advertising and media, to employment, the justice sector, education and sport. The text in particular aims to shed light on what sexist behaviour is and proposes concrete ways for different actors to identify and address them.
It requests that member states monitor progress in implementing its guidelines and to inform the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Commission of measures taken and progress achieved.
The recommendation aims to address issues with which women, but also sometimes, men, are confronted with every day. Notably, it makes the link between sexism and violence against women and girls, explaining that acts of “everyday” sexism are “part of a continuum of violence that create a climate of intimidation, fear, discrimination, exclusion and insecurity which limits opportunities and freedom.”
Examples of recommended action include legislative reforms that both condemn sexism and define and criminalise sexist hate speech, and provide for appropriate remedies for victims of sexist behaviour.
The recommendation calls on states to use awareness-raising measures including “speedy reactions” by public figures, in particular politicians, religious, economic and community leaders, and others in a position to shape public opinion, to condemn sexism.
The recommendation also stresses that language and communication “must not consecrate the hegemony of the masculine model”. It calls for the use of non-stereotypical communication to educate, raise awareness and prevent sexist behaviour. For example, it recommends ending the use of sexist expressions, and using gender-sensitive language.
The recommendation focuses, too, on recent technologies. While the internet and social media can promote free expression and gender equality, they also can allow “perpetrators” to express “abusive thoughts” and engage in abusive behaviour, the recommendation notes.
It takes into account artificial intelligence and how algorithms can “transmit and strengthen” existing gender stereotypes and therefore may contribute to the perpetuation of sexism.
Debate: “Return of the death penalty in Europe: genuine threat or populist fiction?”Date: 10 October, 09.00 – 13.00Languages: French/EnglishLocation: Room 2, ‘Palais de l’Europe’, Council of Europe
COUNCIL OF EUROPE GENDER EQUALITY FACTSHEETS
The Council of Europe has produced concise factsheets on its key areas of activity to promote gender equality. The factsheets aim to provide useful information and definitions on each issue, as well as references to relevant activities, standards and mechanisms of the Council of Europe in each area.
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.
This session was particularly important as elections for the new standing comittee were due to take place on the 29 th (election of a president, vice presidents and rapporteurs). Besides that there was also the election of a gender expert as the term of Betty Doornendal ended in 2015.
Anna Rurka was elected président and three vice présidents two women Antonina DASHKINA (a social worker) Laura FRATTI GUCCI ( an economist) and Israel MENSAH ( a prominent educationist) a very good team to lead the new Standing Committee. Regarding the post of the gender expert three persons were candidates but one had to withdraw because of health problems and from the two remaining Anne NEGRE introduced by UWE and Rosy WEISS introduced by IAW , Anne NEGRE was elected . The expert has a seat at the standing Committee to present ( and defend) gender issues as a cross cutting issue.
- On Monday 26th The standing committee of the Conférence and its Bureau met in the morning and some working groups met in the afternoon.
- On Tuesday 27th The Commission Democracy, Social Cohesion ,Global challenges held an urgent debate following the terrorist attack in Paris
A s a consequence a resolution was presented to the Parliamentary Assembly by the Conference of INGOs after a vote in plenary session the following Thursday. The Commissions on Human Rights met in the afternoon. Commission on Education and Culture had a fascinating intervention of two specialists of the new technologies with discusssion from the floor . The main event was the meeting of the Conference of INGOs all day the 29th with a heavy agenda that included procedures for the elections, different reports as well as two important hearings. One on Strategic priorities for the promotion of civil society to the decisions process in UKRAINE. The second an exchange and discussion with a delegation from Morocco as part of the proceses of cooperation of CoE , Lisbon Center and the countries of the Mediterranean area.
More information and documentation can be found regarding this winter session on the website of the Council of Europe www.coe.int under INOG Conference
R .Gerard, UWE Representative to CoE for January session
NB : The Council of Europe House of Demoracy is an Inter parliamentary European institution and gender equality is recognized as a value for democracy . However it is not a specific program as such . At the time of restructuration the Commission on Equality for women and men was suppressed. We must give credit to our friend Anje Wiersinga from IAW who established an informal group , mobilized the women INGOs to obtain a post of gender expert ,is keeping watch on the parliamentary Commissions to remind them of the gender issues The gender expert should closely cooperate with this existing women’s group that is meeting ay every sessions of the INGO Conference.