From 23 to 27 January 2017, the international non-governmental organisations enjoying participatory status with the Council of Europe met in Strasbourg for their Winter Session.
The three broad scope committees on “Education and Culture”, “Democracy, Social Cohesion and World Issues” and “Human Rights” held their meetings before the Plenary Conference of the INGOs, which gathers all INGOs.
Jean-Jacques Kuster represented the EUR before the Human Rights Committee and before the Plenary Conference.
Several issues were addressed and several documents were adopted. They may be found on the Council of Europe’s website: http://www.coe.int/en/web/ingo/-/highlights-from-the-winter-session-of-the-conference-of-ingos.
Among the most noteworthy items are a recommendation on the necessity of norms protecting the attorneys’ professional secret and a debate on handicap and the notion of legal incapacity that should be rebranded as an aid to the decision of “otherwise capable persons”.
Visit reports on the situation of INGOs in Poland, Germany, Romania and Turkey were presented. Concerning the latter, the INGOs adopted a resolution on the protection of freedom of speech and freedom of association. A thematic debate on “information society – progress and threats for public authorities and NGOs” led to productive discussions.
Anna Rurka, President of the INGO Conference recalled on the occasion of the Conference’s 40th anniversary the NGOs contribution and national and international to the fulfilment of the Council of Europe’s statutory goal which aims at “implementing an ever closer union between its members in order to safeguard and promote the ideals and principles that are their common heritage and favour their economical and social progress”.