From Polarisation to Participation

The accumulation of unresolved issues in matters of diversity and migration over the last several years have led to an intolerable level of Human Rights infringements in European countries.

In response to this the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe has elaborated a practical guide to conduct dialogues where they are most needed. The aim is to provide a hands-on concise, user-friendly Dialogue Toolkit. Its approach is not on the “high end culture”, but rather aims to help build social cohesion and the human rights based approach regarding diversity issues.

The Council of Europe NGO Forum of 23-25 March 2011 in Istanbul gave the opportunity to start work on the Toolkit. On 14 April 2011 the INGO Conference Standing Committee adopted the draft chapters of the Toolkit, gave the green light for the editing and writing and continued to oversee this work. The INGO Conference Plenary meeting of 21 June 2011 unanimously approved the overall content and approach.

The INGO Conference 

It is one of the Council of Europe statutory bodies. The voice of civil society is heard at the Council of Europe thanks to the Conference of International Non-governmental Organisations (INGOs).

The introduction of participatory status in 2003 has enabled INGOs to increase active participation in the policies and work programme of the Council of Europe, and to reinforce co-operation between the Council of Europe and the various associations in member States.

More recently the INGO Conference has developed a Code of Good Practice on Civil Participation in the Decision-Making Process and created the Expert Council on NGO Law. The Dialogue Toolkit presented here is the third such product made available for implementation to improve the practise of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

The Toolkit Team at the Istanbul Forum, from left to right: Anna Widegren, Denzil Nurse, Christoph Spreng, Luis Gomes, Yulia Zvereva, Romina Matei.