The conference bringing together international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), enjoying participatory status with the Council of Europe, held its plenary meeting on 24 and 26 January 2018. Jean-Jacques Kuster represented the EUR
President Anna Rurka presented the report of the 2017 activities of the conference and its substantial contribution to the fields of activity of the Council of Europe in the field of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and equality between women and men. It also covered interactions with the other pillars of the Council of Europe and other international partners.
This report concluded her term as Chair.
Several elections for the Standing Committee took place during this meeting. Anna Rurka was re-elected for a term of 3 years as President, Robert Bergougnan, Anne Kraus and Christophe Spreng were elected as Vice Presidents. Rares-Augustin Craiut, Richard Pirolt and Katarzyna Sokolowka were elected as rapporteurs.
Ms Claudia Luciani, Director of Democratic Governance and Anti-Discrimination at the Council of Europe, stressed the intense collaboration of the Conference with the Council of Europe, but also the difficult situation of NGOs in some countries. Finally, she referred to the difficult budgetary situation of the Council of Europe.
Mrs Dunja Mijatovic, elected Commissioner for Human Rights by the Parliamentary Assembly on 24 January 2018, assured that she would give her support and attention to the INGOs as soon as she takes office in April 2018.
The conference took note of the report of visits to Estonia and Serbia to meet civil society and government representatives.
The Conference’s expert council on NGO law presented two opinions on the situation of NGOs in Romania and on the worrisome situation in Turkey.
The report published by the Agency for Fundamental Rights of the European Union entitled Challenges facing civil society organisations working on human rights in the EU was presented to the Conference. It traces the difficulties faced by organizations of civil society active in the field of human rights in the EU and explores the different forms that these difficulties take. It reveals:
- Threats, physical and verbal aggression against activists, as well as smear campaigns;
- Legal changes that have a negative effect on civil society, such as restrictions on freedom of assembly, a frequent consequence of legislation on counterterrorism;
- Shrinking budgets and growing difficulties in obtaining funding;
- Insufficient adequate participation of civil society in legislative and political proceedings.
The reports and texts adopted by the conference can be found on the website: http://www.coe.int/fr/web/ingo/home