Morning of the 15th Plenary 1 : An exchange with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejćinović Burić who pointed out the importance of the full integration of the Conference into the projects of the Council of Europe.

A Conference declaration on the role of civil society in the defence of human rights, democracy and the rule of law was discussed, followed by a discussion on the Conference 2019 activity report

The plenary adopted CONF/PLE(2020)REC1:A recommendation and contribution of the Conference of INGOs to the statutory review process of the Pompidou Group (Cooperation Group on Cooperation to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking)

Afternoon of the 15th dedicated to the programmes of the three thematic committees:

Human Rights Committee: the proposal to set up a working group on Human Rights and the Environment.

A recommendation to support the Istanbul Convention (to prevent violence against women) was then discussed due to the refusal of some States to ratify the Convention.The recommendation was adopted with two abstentions with the designation CONF/PLE(2020)REC2.

Education and Culture Committee: The weakening of civil liberties due to confinement during the pandemic was discussed: some States are taking advantage of the pandemic to increase control of the population.

Resolution CONF/PLE (2020)RES1 on access to digital technology in Europe and the responsibility of the Member States was presented. The resolution was adopted unanimously.

Democracy, Social Cohesion and Global Challenges Committee: The main topic was: What system of governance and what tools do we have against the risks of the Covid-19 Pandemic?

A draft recommendation was discussed: Covid Pandemic 19: Call for Ethical and Human Rights Friendly Management

Speaker Laurence Lwolf of the Council of Europe's Bioethics Committee recalled the Secretary General's statement of 15 September:

Friday Morning 16 October Plenary 2 devoted almost exclusively to the situation in Belarus a

A number of situations were discussed:

- the demonstration by women after the first arrests diminished the level of repression;

- the students arrested are fined 160 euros; this is a heavy amount when the scholarship is only 25 euros per month;

- there are no official investigations into police brutality;

- absence of fair trials in Belarus where defence lawyers are threatened;

-official student unions only allow the regime's ideology and there is no freedom of expression;

INGO Conference President, Anna Rurka, proposed a support group for democracy in Belarus

Afternoon of the 16th dedicated to the International Day for the Elimination of Poverty.

I was impressed by two videos: a British one about the incomprehension of the civil servants responsible for delivering aid: If a poor person is late for an appointment, the aid is cancelled. Many poor people do not have a computer and do not understand how to manage the benefits they are entitled to.

The second video was Polish and was very proactive: the officials spoke to the poor to understand the problems of the aid applicants and proposed the creation of an ombudsman to act as an arbitrator for these circumstances.

Full details will be available later in English and French and a summary will be available in Spanish

There will be a second part of the Webinar on December 15th and 16th

Translated with (free version)