ACCESS is currently focusing its activities on the following areas:
- Social rights of persons with disabilities (Armenia)
ACCESS and its partner Pyunic (the Armenian association for the disabled) have designed a project to improve the protection of social rights of persons with disabilities in Armenia. This will be achieved by diversifying the skills and tools of civil society through both a top-down approach of the monitoring procedures of the CoE and bottom-up grassroots advocacy. The action sets different layers of activities to raise awareness on the standards and mechanisms available to promote social rights and the rights of persons with disabilities through the CoE; increase the capacity of civil society to use such mechanisms, with a focus on the European Committee of Social Rights; develop lobbying strategies for the promotion of the ratification of additional relevant provisions and instruments; and highlight issues of multiple discrimination.
- Protection of Internally Displaces Persons’ rights under the Convention system and the Council of Europe standards (Ukraine)
ACCESS’ team has researched and compiled the standards of the Council of Europe on the protection of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and contributed to CoE publications on this topic. ACCESS has thereafter been invited in the framework of the CoE project on strengthening the protection of IDPs’ rights in Ukraine to train lawyers during training on trainers (ToT) seminars in Kyiv; as well as by the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine, to train judges in Kramatorsk (Donetsk Oblast).
- Transnational project on the protection of social rights of refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants (FYROM, Greece, Turkey)
With its main partner organisations in FYROM, Greece and Turkey, ACCESS is setting up a transnational project to promote the protection of the social rights of refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants on the so-called “migrants route”. We aim to raise-awareness and train civil society organisations on the Council of Europe standards and reinforce their capacity to engage with the Council of Europe mechanisms, in particular the European Committee of Social Rights. The project further seeks to improve information sharing and communication cross-border through informal networks of volunteers, service providers and members of the civil society, while also facilitating the dialogue with local authorities and national human rights institutions domestically. The action includes a thematic and intersectional approach highlighting the particular needs of groups with heightened vulnerability amongst the refugees – women and girls, unaccompanied minors, victims of trafficking in human beings, victims of torture, persons with disabilities, LGBTI persons, etc.
- Prevention of torture
ACCESS, together with the Institute of Political Science of Grenoble (IEP Grenoble), has co-authored a study proposing a system of assessment of the effectiveness of NPMs and their impact on torture prevention, through a series of criteria and indicators, as well as an observation tool. The study and proposed tool have been discussed during two expert consultation meetings in Grenoble (including members of NPMs, the SPT and of the CPT Secretariat, as well as experts from the civil society and academia), and organised jointly by the Council of Europe, the IEP and ACCESS, in January and March 2016.
As of 2016, ACCESS is the editor of the European NPM Newsletter, published bimonthly by the Council of Europe. The Newsletter provides a platform for exchanges of news from the European NPMs and relevant international and regional bodies, as well as for thematic discussions on particular issues related to torture prevention and the work of the NPMs. >> Read the newsletters
- Women’s human rights and violence against women
ACCESS is engaging thematically on women’s human rights and violence against women. The organisation has been raising awareness through different fora (INGO Conference meetings; expert round tables; youth organisations seminars) highlighting the critical role of NGOs in the monitoring process of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention). On May 4, 2015, the monitoring body of the Convention, the GREVIO, and the first questionnaire has been made public, launching the first monitoring cycle. ACCESS will work with national NGO partners to prepare NGO alternative reports to contribute to the monitoring of the implementation of states’ obligations under this first legally-binding instrument in Europe on violence against women.
- Diversity, Inclusion and Intersectionality
Through its activities, ACCESS is prioritising working with national NGO partners to strengthen the dialogue between local authorities and civil society in order to find political and practical solutions to institutional discrimination and foster the inclusion of minorities and vulnerable groups. Through training seminars and expert roundtables, such exchanges aim to adopt an intersectional approach and offer a forum to discuss multiple discrimination based on socio-economic status, migration status, sexual orientation, genders, age, (dis)ability, and racial and ethnic identity, aiming to promote the building of European communities that fully embrace and protect diversity.