Strasbourg, 24 July 2000
[ecri\conférence 2000-2001\26-27 June 2000\e-euroconf ngo(2000)2] PREP-EUROCONF/NGO (2000)2
THE EUROPEAN CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM
ALL DIFFERENT ALL EQUAL: FROM PRINCIPLE TO PRACTICE
EUROPEAN CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE
FOURTH MEETING OF THE NGO RESOURCE GROUP
Strasbourg, 26-27 June 2000
This document contains the report of the fourth meeting of the NGO resource group constituted to contribute to the preparations for the European Conference against racism and accompanying NGO Forum which will take place, respectively, 11 - 13 October 2000 and 10 11 October 2000, in advance of the World Conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
The list of participants is contained in Appendix I and the agenda of the meeting, as adopted, in Appendix II. Appendix III contains a note from the NGO resource group on frequently asked questions about the contribution of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to the European preparatory process for the world conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
Item 1 Adoption of the agenda
- The agenda, as adopted by the meeting, appears in Appendix II.
Item 2 Communication from the Secretariat
Item 3 Communication from resource group members, including information about preparations at national level for the European and World Conferences against racism
- The Secretariat provided information about developments concerning preparations for the European Conference against racism, summarising in particular the outcome of the third meeting of the technical working group (TWG), which took place on 23-25 May 2000 in Strasbourg. The TWG concluded its drafting of elements for a Political Declaration, to be adopted at the end of the Conference by Ministers of the member States of the Council of Europe. The draft will subsequently be finalised by the Committee of Ministers Deputies. The TWG also started to draft the General Conclusions of the European Conference. An open-ended drafting group, to complete the draft of the General Conclusions, will meet on 11-12 July 2000.
- With regard to the World Conference, the NGO resource group members discussed developments at the first session of the Prep Com of the World Conference (1-5 May 2000, in Geneva).
- In the context of the preparations for the European and World Conferences, the resource group welcomed the outcome of the European Youth Conference against racism organised by UNITED for Intercultural Action at the European Youth Centre of the Council of Europe on 28 May 4 June 2000, in Strasbourg. This meeting brought together about 70 young persons who represented active anti-racist groups.
Item 4 Designation of the Greek NGO to participate in the European Conference
- At its third meeting (23-25 May 2000), the technical working group agreed to the list of 80 NGOs proposed by the NGO resource group to participate in the European Conference, with one exception (see PREP-EUROCONF/NGO (2000) 1, Appendix V). With regard to the Greek national NGO to invite, the Chair of the technical working group requested the NGO resource group to reconsider this matter in the light of the discussion in the technical working group. The NGO resource group reaffirmed the decision taken at its previous meeting concerning NGO participation in the European Conference. It further decided to write to the relevant Greek NGOs.
Item 5 Preparations for the Forum for Non-Governmental Organisations
- With regard to the drafting of the concluding document of the NGO Forum to be presented to the European Conference, the NGO resource group decided that Veronika SZENTE and Nathalie PROUVEZ would draft a text of approximatively 5 pages which will contain a set of recommandations to States and to the other institutions participating in the European Conference (especially to national specialised bodies). This text will also take into account the themes of the World Conference. In order to have this draft circulated in advance to NGOs interested in the Forum and European Conference, the draft text will be put on the Internet, to solicit comments. The NGO resource group will endeavour to incorporate comments to the text in advance of the NGO Forum, so that a revised version will be available at the opening of the Forum. This draft will then be amended following the discussions at the NGO Forum. It will be adopted by the NGO Forum and made available to the European Conference.
- As for other documentation which may be circulated in advance of or on registration for the NGO Forum, the resource group proposed to provide the following documents to participants: the explanatory note on the NGO Forum, the discussion papers written by experts for the four working groups of the European Conference, a specific document to be written on the theme of the fifth working group, relevant documentation on the UN World Conference, a short guide to the main international and European legal instruments concerning racism and racial discrimination, and a CDRom provided by UNITED for Intercultural Action containing addresses of the members of UNITEDs network as well as contacts and important addresses UNITED has been able to collect in its database.
- Nathalie PROUVEZ proposed to contact possible experts to write a paper on the theme of the fifth working group (Immigration and Asylum policies in Europe). This document should follow the main lines of the four papers written by the introductory speakers of the working groups of the European Conference. It should be prepared by 1 September 2000. The five papers will then be put on the Internet for NGOs to be able to react to them before the NGO Forum.
- The short guide to the main international and European legal instruments will contain a brief presentation of each of the relevant conventions. An intern with the International Commission of Jurists will work on this document during the summer.
- As for the participation of the NGOs in the Forum, the NGO resource group decided to extend registration for the NGO Forum until 8 September 2000. All NGOs which return a nomination/application form will receive a formal invitation letter to send one representative to participate in the NGO Forum. They will then need to fill in and return the registration form before 8 September 2000 in order to participate. NGOs may have access to Council of Europe premises to attend the plenary sessions of the European Conference, either in the public gallery to the hemicycle or in a meeting room to which the plenary sessions will be retransmitted. However only the 80 NGOs invited to participate in the European Conference will have access to the sessions of the working groups.
- Concerning the designation of the Chair and of the General Rapporteur of the Forum, the NGO resource group decided to include a specific question on the registration form asking NGO representatives if they are interested in being considered for either Chair or General Rapporteur of the NGO Forum. A decision will be made by the NGO resource group on these two positions in mid September 2000.
- Concerning the chairs and rapporteurs of the working groups, the NGO resource group decided that each working group will elect these from among the participants at the beginning of the working group session. The rapporteurs of the five working groups will be expected to prepare a short written text after the meeting.
- As for an expert to present the theme of each working group, the NGO resource group considered that these persons need to be designated before the opening of the NGO Forum. They should have a specific knowledge of the issues and present the working group theme during plenary session II. The NGO resource group decided on a number of persons to approach as experts.
- The NGO representative who will address plenary session I will be chosen after the Chair and General Rapporteur have been designated.
Item 6 Preparations for the European Conference against racism
- It was agreed that Saskia DARU and Nuria VIVES FERRER would participate on behalf of the NGO resource group in the open-ended drafting group (11-12 July 2000). Other members of the NGO resource group proposed to send their comments on the draft general conclusions to them in advance of the meeting. At the request of the NGO resource group the Chair of the technical working group agreed that the draft general conclusions could be put on the Internet (see http://www.ecri.coe.int or http://www.icare.to)
Item 7 Any other business
- The NGO resource group adopted an information note for NGOs to answer frequently asked questions about NGO input to the European preparatory process for the world conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. (see appendix III and Internet sites http://ecri.coe.int and http://www.icare.to).
- The NGO resource group underlined the importance of assisting NGOs wishing to organise fringe meetings in parallel to the European Conference. The Secretariat of the European Conference cannot provide interpretation or any other service but will endeavour to reserve two rooms for this purpose. Reservation of rooms will need to be made directly to the Secretariat on the basis "first come first served".
- The NGO resource group decided to meet immediately prior to the NGO Forum address remaining questions. This meeting will take place on Monday 9 October 2000 from 9.00 onwards.