Council of Europe
The Council of Europe has launched an updated version of its free online “Introduction to the European Convention on Human Rights”, a 5-hour interactive training course aimed at legal professionals, public authorities, civil society and students.
“Europe has the strongest system of international human rights protection anywhere in the world, thanks to the European Convention on Human Rights. For the system to fulfil its potential, we need lawyers, judges, government officials, NGOs and other professionals across Europe to learn how it functions and to use that knowledge in their daily work,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić.
The updated course is part of the Council of Europe’s extensive HELP programme of Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals.
It contains modules on the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights and – for the first time – the execution of judgments from the Strasbourg court, which is essential in helping to raise human rights standards.
An initial version of the course was developed in 2016 and is now available in 17 different languages.
It has so far been followed by over 5,700 professionals and has also been included in training curricula at judiciary schools in various countries including Spain and the Republic of Moldova.
The updated course is now available in English, with several other language versions due to be released in the coming months.
The course has been partly produced with the financial support of the European Union, as part of the EU/Council of Europe “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey II”.
The latest annual report on the execution of judgments from the European Court of Human Rights is due to be published on Wednesday 1 April.
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.
A side-event on “A Europe without torture: what is today’s reality?”, a discussion on the situation in Ukraine with the participation of NGOs from Ukraine, and a debate on “which democracy do we want?” were among the highlights of the session. The Conference of INGOs adopted texts on hate speech, the situation in Ukraine and human rights and religions. It took me awhile to write this report as I needed some time to put all the new information in a report which was not too long. I hope this report will give you more of an impression and if you would like to know more about UWE’s work at the Council of Europe: visit the Meet and Greet 2014 in Amsterdam. More information 2014 meet and greet uwe in amsterdam 1 .
It was my first time in Strasbourg and I was impressed to talk and meet with representatives of over 100 International NGO’s. The first days were dedicated to the so called committees among which the Culture and education committee see http://www.coe.int/t/ngo/conf_educ_en.asp for the agenda.
The first meeting was a lively one with lots of discussions and presentations and a paper on religion and human rights which was later adopted by the full conference at the end of the week. http://www.coe.int/t/ngo/Articles/CONF_PLE_2014_APP1_HR_religions_en.asp The INGOs are “determined to safeguard, whatever happens, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe is launching an appeal to the men and women of Europe and to NGOs operating on the ground so that, together, everyone can take action at their own level and in their own setting to ensure continued respect for the equal dignity of all individuals and of the values connected with this inviolable principle.” Part of this concern is also the ever growing amount of so called Hate speech growing racism and intolerance in Europe, combating Hate speech will be part of the 2014-2016 program.
It will prepare a “Civil Society White Paper’ to combat hate speech and prepare a “Civil Society Forum”, together with the media and political parties, for the purposes of launching the White Paper and drawing up a Charter of good conduct for tackling hate speech more effectively. I participated also in a working group on Gender equality from the Dutch Gender Advisor Betty Doornenbal. Priority is still the signing of the Istanbul Convention to combat gender based violence. More info: http://www.coe.int/t/ngo/conf_tg_gen_en.asp. Another important meeting was the working group Living Together in which UWE also participates.
One of the most impressive and sad occasions at the INGO conference were the statements of NGO’s of Ukraine stating the difficult circumstances and violence they live in. At the initiative of the Conference of INGOs, a group of civil society representatives from Ukraine participated in meetings at the Council of Europe end of January.
The NGOs met with the Secretary General, the Commissioner for Human Rights and participated in a hearing with the INGO Conference at which they reported their concerns regarding the current situation, in particular Human Rights violations. The Conference of INGOs adopted a Resolution urging Council of Europe bodies to monitor the ongoing situation and offered to be the platform to promote dialogue and civil society involvement to help resolve the crisis in Ukraine. Message of solidarity to civil society representatives in Ukraine.
Statement by Jean-Marie Heydt, President of the Conference of INGOs, Strasbourg , 20 February 2014
The Conference of INGOs is deeply shocked and appalled by the current turn of events in Kiev, specifically, the escalation in violence and the many unfortunate deaths that have occurred. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims. The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe once again expresses its solidarity with Ukrainian civil society at this difficult moment and calls for an inclusive dialogue and a peaceful and democratic solution to the current crisis. The Conference remains ready to offer its platform for involving national and international civil society actors in these efforts.
Although resolutions can’t negate the effects of violence and force as is shown in the case of Ukraine and Georgie The INGO Conference is an important tool to enhance democracy it advises the Council of Europe via the President of the INGOs Jean-Marie Heydt. It has three special programmes the Code of Good Conduct, the Dialoque Toolkit – you will be introduced to at the Bucharest Conference in September – and The Expert Council.
Especially the Expert Council which investigates and writes reports on the situation in countries on the participation of civil society is an impressive tool. Next year they will very likely investigate Turkey after investigating Russia and Azerbeidzjan! http://www.coe.int/t/ngo/expert_council_en.asp Its work covers the 47 member countries of the Council of Europe and Belarus. It was created in January 2008 by the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe with the aim of creating an enabling environment for NGOs through examining national NGO legislation and its implementation and provides advice on how to bring national law and practice into line with Council of Europe standards and European good practice.
The INGO Conference is a wonderful platform to meet lots of other representatives of INGO’s and find partners to create new actions and work towards our goals. I met representatives of the Catholic women, Teachers union, Jewish women etc. etc. and was able to make some contacts. The first few days of the conference are a preparation for the last day in which the voting takes place. As the UWE is on the Standing Committee we are part of a group that can help decide what should be the agenda of the conference. The Conference however decides.
New Vice President
A new candidate for Vice Presidency of the UWE (Vera has done this intensive work September 2014 over six years) to participate in the INGO of the Council of Europe needs to be fluent in English en preferably also speak French as some meetings are in French and not always translated into English. The documents of the INGO and the meetings can be found on the website of the Council of Europe http://www.coe.int/t/ngo/default_en.asp to find out more about the Committees look under structure where you will find the documentation.