Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 275

CEC at the celebration of World NGO Day at Council of Europe

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 9 marzo 2019

At the World NGO Day, observed on 27 February, CEC Executive Secretary Rev. Sören Lenz participated in a debate on “Why do we need NGOs? – (I)NGO contribution to the work and to the mandate of the Council of Europe” in Strasbourg. The high level conference was organised by the Conference of International NGOs at the Council of Europe and gathered many official NGO representatives with participatory status at the Council of Europe.
“We as Conference of European Churches represent a large part of the European people and we have the advantage of having an enormous diversity among our Member Churches,” said Rev. Sören Lenz, based at the CEC office in Strasbourg. “We not only deal with issues related to trade unions or human rights as NGO do, but we as churches are confronted with all problems and questions modern society is dealing with,” he added.“We need to be present with and try to work together with other NGOs because we have a responsibility for civil society, not only in social matters but also in area of human right.”“When the prophet Jeremy says to the Exiles in Babylon: ‘But seek the welfare of the city!’ (Jeremiah 29,7), he doesn’t talk about conditions to be fulfilled or the distinction to be made between those to be helped and those not to be helped. Seeking the welfare of the city means that God calls us to participate in the shaping of an equal and just society. NGOs, even if they do not always hold the same positions, are reliable partners, especially in the work at the Council of Europe, where they have an important role to play,” added Rev. Lenz.Claudia Luciani, Director of Democratic Governance and Anti-Discrimination, Council of Europe was stressed the need for a political dialogue between NGOs and the governments, and the most important question to be discussed, she said, is how to initiate this dialogue?One important point was made at the event, when several speakers remembered that, unlike other international organisations such as UN, NGOs have a full participatory status in the Council of Europe, adding to the importance of European Institution of Human rights, Rule of Law and Democracy.“The crucial role of NGOs is to connect citizens to policy makers,” stressed Peter Verhaege, representative of CARITAS, during his speech.

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