I suggest you spread the information around your member groups so that the specialists in specific matters obtain the information and can contribute to the INGO Conference and I think it would be great if EN-RE's representative's was a younger more dynamic person than myself.

Former member of EN-RE and 8th May Movement, Gisela Hoeve, was at the Conference with Mary McHugh as representatives of Andante. Gisela asked me to send you her best wishes. Her last EN-RE meeting was Dachau.

My report starts with the programme for the Meetings of Working Groups so kindly click on the agendas in blue

I did not see this progamme and only arrived in Strasbourg on the evening of 8th April so I missed the Transversal Group on Poverty: Inequalities & Enjoyment of Rights and Preventing corruption by engaging civil society but sent them the text of the Spanish State Alliance against Tax Fraud and the and the short almost silent video comparing Spanish tax rates with the EU You need to click on the Youtube link at the bottom of the page. Click on Proposal for a Spanish State Alliance on Tax Fraud.

I also attended the Gender Perspectives in political and democratic processes WG and together with a training session on the work of Gender Rapporteurs since I am GR for the working group Europe of Heritage and Creation. The Rapporteur’s job is to ensure that all issues concerning women and LGBTI Q’s are addressed. There can also be issues concerning men.

Bettina Hahne, Chair of this WG, says other group members have complained about me sending gender information about religion so she suggested I join a sub-committee with Gabriela Frey (Buddhist) and James Barnett (Anglican). I get on very well with both of them. During the meeting James read an excerpt from his new book about the theological aspects of Gender Theory.

The Training for Gender Rapporteurs started with an allegory on gender inequality showing five animal-pupils facing their teacher: a monkey, an elephant, a snail, a seal and, a gold fish in its bowl.  The teacher says:  “You all have the same exam. Now, climb that tree!” 

How do you define sexism? (See also Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)1 Preventing & Combatting Sexism)

- Salary difference between men and women in Europe: 16% average

- Women have twice as much work in the home- 50% of women in Europe subject to sexual harassment since the age of 15;

- On average, women only represent 25% of the members in the lower houses of Parliament but the last Spanish government had more women ministers than men

- Women in Norway/Sweden feel freer to report sexism incidents to the police

- Sexism, harassment and violence in European parliaments (an 18 page report of the PACE based on a questionnaire answered by 123 women from 45 European countries:

- 85.2% had suffered psychological violence;

- 46.9% death, rape or beating threats;

- 58.2% target of online sexist attacks on social networks;

- 67.9% had received comments on their appearance based on gender stereotypes;

- 24.7% had suffered sexual violence

- 14.8% had suffered physical violence

Gender blindness starts on the school playground when boys prevent girls from playing football with them

- Questions on budgets for gender equality assessments:

- Does gender matter?

- Is its objective linked with inequality patterns, empowerment, resources, status & entitlements

How to write a gender rapporteur report? Check Gender Mainstreaming toolbox

What is Gender Mainstreaming? And Handbook for Gender Equality Rapporteurs

I missed the working group meetings of Participation in democratic decision making and Intercultural Cities because they coincided with the Side Event on the Istanbul Convention which included as speakers Neil DATTA of the EPF (European Parliamentary Forum on Population & Development) whose bulletin you can download in English & Polish by clicking on Restoring the Natural Order, (the French and Italian versions are also available on our website) and David PATERNOTTE author of the book The Anti-Gender Campaign in Europe; information I had researched in the joint EN-RE & WAC-I project against a supposed imminent new Vatican declaration against Gender Ideology and about which I had informed the INGO Conference.

The Anti-Gender Movement now includes Salvini, Marine Le Pen as well as others described in the EPF bulletin and they cooperate to promote Hate Speech against Gender Equality. Example given was a populist demand in Romania, which raised over 3 million signatures, to change Romania’s constitution and weaken womens’ rights due to Fake News about the Instanbul Convention. Hence the CoE bulletin Questions and Answers. See also CoE Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and gender violence for the full text of the Istanbul Convention.

Since the Anti-Gender Movement also contains the extreme right wing supporters of neoliberal capitalism, pre-conciliar churchmen, patriarchalists, policies to prevent immigration and keep women at home to have large numbers of children, EN-RE and WAC-I’s espousal of Liberation Theology and church reform should allow us to become an active ally against the Anti-Gender Movement in the ever increasing number of States where it is becoming active.

I think there are two ways of achieving this: Contacting the EPF delegations in the different EU States and also the university professors who wrote the articles in the David Paternotte’s Anti-Gender Campaigns in Europe. David said their email addresses will be available on internet.

Tatjana Andelić from Montenegro spoke of Gender Equality for Romas

Olivier Egèle said the 20% of European children witness violence from men in their homes. Sexual violence is in 70% of cases from a family member. Sexual violence has the effect of shrapnel bombs in its traumatic effect on womens’ bodies and senses.

The Istanbul Convention has been ratified by 34 Member States but there is a backward movement in some States like Romania where alleged traditions of wife beating and honour killing are allowed.

The Convention has 4 main elements:

1. Preventing domestic violence against women

2. Prosecuting criminal acts against women

3. Protection for potential victims

4. Commitment to an integrated comprehensive common policy towards zero tolerance of violence against women

Monitoring implementation is fundamental as in all recommendations of the CoE. We can check the situation in our own country by clicking on Country-monitoring work and then study how to participate to improve the situation.

I attended the WG Europe of Heritage & Creation which I coordinate with Noël Orsat and will be responsible for coordinating current European definitions of specific terminologies.

The programme consisted of of 3 short talks, a consultation on the validated definitions of the words “migration, dialogue, identity, diversity, populism + definitions of new identified words & concepts”

Alain Lamassoure’s presentation on the European Observatory for history teaching lasted 90 minutes so there was only time for Pierre Bedouelle’s abbreviated talk on the Impresssionism Routes as part of European cultural identity.

Finland will terminate its management of the Council of Europe presidency soon and France will take over so Mr. Lamassoure’s very interesting talk was about how he hoped France will dedicate time to making all Europeans aware of their history and creating compatible versions of common history of States that have been opposed to each other.

A proper report will be prepared by the Education & Culture Committee on their 3 working groups.

The other two are Intercultural Cities & Lifelong Learning.

From here onwards, my Report follows the programme for the committee meetings

Click on Human Rights Committee Agenda

This includes the 9 pages of the Synopsis of the HR Committee of 26th June 2018

You can check my notes below with the Synopsis for the HR Committee that will be available in about 4 months time or sooner

2a) Meyman Huseynov’s brother regretted that EU Commissioner MOGHERINI had not insisted on sending inspectors to review corruption and HR issues before signing a strategic alliance with Azerbaiyjan.

2b) Growing anti-semitism in France: hate speech, a combination of anti-Israel campaigns with negationists of the Holocaust + traditional aspects.

6) The Steering Committee on Human Rights CDDH produced Legal aspects & practice of effective alternatives to detention in the context of migration

7) There was considerable opposition in the Conference to a proposed modification to the Oviedo Convention about the enforced hospitalization of persons against their wishes but there had been only 27 replies to the questionnaire.

8) A questionnaire developed for persons in jail had been developed by Secours Catholique of Caritas France and distributed in Germany, Albania, Spain, France, Ireland, Kosovo, Lithuania and Portugal. The Spanish contact for the survey is Juan Antonio Almonacid.

9) Gulnara Akhundova insisted on the importance of a greater participation by INGOs in Freedom of Expresion and Human Rights Defenders

11) The draft recommendation on the Right to Decent Housing is very important since without a housing contract social services are unobtainable.

13) The Side Event on LGTB Rights and Freedom of Religion is an important issue for the EN-RE

WAC-I joint project in reaching out to Northern and Eastern European NGOs. I made a brief comment about EN-RE as there were no Catholic members on the platform for the Side Event: Orthodox, Protestant, Muslim. I will contact Willie Horst as I have his address. See also Concept Note

- Vocal Anti LGBT groups in Moldova, Russia, Romania (See Romanian referendum against Istanbul Convention) block access to family rights of LGBTs

- “Silence in the face of evil is evil”

- “Put a spoke in the wheel of injustice”

­ The Conference of European Churches was founded in Iron Curtain times

- Gays & Lesbians are considered as scapegoats

- ILGA (International Lesbians & Gays Association): 500 LGBT organizations in Europe & Asia

- Religious leaders should have training to avoid making Hate Speech

- Several narratives of Europe: Southern, Northern, Eastern

- escape false dichotomy, recognise family issues

- German Islamic LGBTs

- Requirement for Freedom of religious beliefs

­ LGBT migrants objects of hate speech

- Churches shape opinion with narratives attacking human rights

- Orthodox hate speech.  It was also stated that the Orthodox Church permits wife beating.

- Assembly, Association, Life, Security, Hate Crimes, Georgia, private family life – diversity

One of the themes of the Spring Conference was the need for greater cooperation between the INGO Conference and the Committee of Ministers and the PACE (Parliamentary Assembly) A Dutch colleague from Eurogeo advised that the Dutch ambassador had arranged a meeting between Dutch members of the INGO Conference and of the PACE and suggested we all contacted our ambassador to do the same. In any case, I propose to contact the new Spanish members of the PACE and the Congress of Municipal and Regional Authorities after the Spanish elections for Parliament, Regions and Municipalities (28th April 2019)

Click on Education & Culture Committee Agenda

8. CDPPE = Steering Committee for Education Policy & Practice

CDCPP = Steering Committee for Culture, Heritage & Landscape

Speakers were:

Spanish ambassador Manuel Montobbio de Balanza (whom several of us met in Warsaw) gave a long talk referring to the Matrioska Russian dolls as an expression of how different European concepts are inter-related.

He also used the Spanish Esperpento or the distorted view when looking at convex and concave mirrors depending from whether one had a western or eastern European frame of mind. His talk contained the following items:

- Identity and competences for democratic culture

- Majorities decide but Minorities also have rights

- Participation and Deliberation

- Traditional learning & ethics

- Teaching should be adapted to the age of the student

- Are identity and critical thinking compatible?

- Village, region, nation

- Language a tool for discussing the future and one’s identity

- Can I share your identity?

- Multi Perspectivity: Heroes & Villains, according to one’s affinity

- Why did the Holocaust happen?

- What kind of society do we want?

Francesc Pedro of Unesco talked of a Framework for Global Citizenship

- major upheavals due to climate change

- 70 million people have been displaced

- further displacements are the rate of 45,000 persons per day

- Xenophobia is fear of the unknown, therefore INGOs must explain why immigrants are people like us

- Need to understand our own cultures before discovering cultures of others

- As an alternative to Liberté, égalité, fraternité: Ubuntu, a southern African philosophy (See wikipedia)

- Global citizenship

- White supremacists in USA

- Local values must be shared

- Diversity/solidarity/shared sense of humanity


Marco Pasqualini of Unesco talked of:

- Focus on common values

- European & Global Democracy

- Local and global interconnectedness

- Implantation of common values and the need to recover a pluralist humanity

- Important to decrypt and analyse marginalised environment

- Leaders need to use an inclusive speech

- Education transforms lives

- European awareness and values


Jean-Christophe Fromartin:

- Encourage Belarus to become part of Europe. They still apply the death penalty

- Governments belong to citizens not citizens to governments

- Problem of isolation of persons in cities


Carlos Moreno:

 - The smart city of the Mayor of Paris

- The century of cities

- In tomorrow's age of Information Technology towns of tomorrow hospitality will no longer exist

- The population will prefer to live in villages, located 4 minutes away from medium sized towns which are located 90 minutes away from metropolitan centres

Click on Democracy, Social Cohesion & Global Challenges Committee Agenda

Luminata Petrescu discussed the benefits of IT (Information Technology) for democracy and citizenship whilst warning against the disadvantages of Fake News on social media and the possible manipulation of electronic voting. See CoE Report on Required Media Conditions. Alleged facts must be checked.

3.1 François Friederich: 5G provides improved simultaneous translation

3.2 Sebastien Fanti: Social media exists to ask its subscribers to provide their personal data so the media can sell it to, for example, medical insurance companies. I think he said this is forbidden in Europe but allowed in the US & Canada. This would allow the insurance companies to refuse policies or insist on very high premiums for specific sick persons.

 - the existence of a super IT attorney called Deep Mind

- See Watson on the Dangers of Arbitration by a Robot

- A dictatorship could become immortal via IT according to Elon Musk

- Sebastien recommends turning your mobile off when not using it so you cannot be traced and blocking access to personal data and cancelling all ???

- IT is decidedly anti-feminist and anti-whistleblowers

- Existing trials on Fake News voice manipulation (We already see it on TV)

4.1 Peter André: Working Paper on e-Democracy of November 2018

Democracy is not a spectator sport. It requires a framework of good governance

4.3 Rares Augustin Craiut: Youth perspective on e-participation/e-enabling/e-empowerment from the bottom upward.

- The importance of a youth friendly atmosphere with safe spaces online, a holistic approach, gender sensitivity & inclusive language.

Millenials mentioned. According to Research Maniacs:

The six generations of people still living have the following age groups:

- The Silent Generation (between 1914 & 1945 = my generation, as I was born in 1941)

- Baby Boomers: born between 1946 & 1964,

- Gen(eration) X between 1965 & 1980,

- Millenials between 1981 & 1996,

- Post-Millenials from 1997.

- Post-Millenials consider Facebook is for Millenials and other ancient people like us.

In the Plenary, all INGOs were recommended to bring a Post-Millenial or Millenial to the October 2019 session.

Plenary Meeting (Statutory business) of the INGO Conference Session 1


- The Synopsis of the June 2018 minutes (4),

- The 2018 Activity Report (5)

- The new code of conduct (6)

- The recommendation on the Right to Decent Housing (7): without a proper domicile, you cannot access social services

- The recommendation on Student Poverty (8)

- The Rules of Procedure (11)

- and the Recommendation preventing and combatting sexism (13)

were all adopted.

You can download and read them at your leisure!

See also adoption of Resolution on the The Future of the Council of Europe and Civil Society’s commitment. The photo shows Room G03 of the Agora but on 12th April we were in Room 1 of the Palais, not that that is important.

 INGO Conference Plenary interviews with the 2 remaining candidates for Secretary General

Ms Marija Pejcinović Burić was the first candidate to present her case to the INGO Conference. She promised full contact with the INGO Conference if elected but did not make any great impression.

Mr Didier Reynders, on the other hand, was an excellent promoter of his candidature, he was extremely proactive and supportive of the INGO Conference and created a very favourable impression for his dynamism and debating skills.

Ms Dora Bakoyannis & Mr Andrius Kubilius were not available.

Side Event on assistance and support to migrants & refugees

- Damien Careme spoke of how his commune, near Dunkirk, had encouraged the integration of refugees with the local population in spite of efforts by the sub-prefect to the contrary.

- Philippe de Botton said Médecins du Monde had a mobile clinic to treat refugees. Refugees crossing the Alps to reach Briançon had die of cold. Police violence affected health and had psychological consequences.

- Georgia Linardi of Sea Watch said their ship was now unable to put to sea to rescue refugees since their NGO had been accused of collusion with mafias and now there were excessive documents to be complied with to achieve permission to leave port. Previously Italian coastguards had directed them the compass coordinates to rescue refugees.

- Stephen Batt of Pax Romana: Interception at sea by Lybians means unlimited detention. The refugees who had taken over a ship to prevent their return to Lybia were accused of piracy.

There was a second plenary session on Friday 12th April

11. Karl Donert had a power point to describe Digital Civil Space and this will be available shortly

At the INGO-SERVICE Meeting the representatives of the INGOs adopted the Accounts for 2018 and the Budget for 2019.




Hugo Charles Castelli Eyre, 16th April 2019