Reference texts

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  1. Council of Europe Conventions (legally binding texts)


. European Charter of Local Self-Government and additional protocol on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority. The Charter lays down common European standards for protecting and developing local authorities’ rights and freedoms.


. European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. This charter aims to affirm and support the role of historical regional or minority languages of Europe.


· Convention on the participation of foreigners in public life at local level. The Convention encourages giving foreigners the right to vote and stand in local elections. It guarantees foreigners the same freedom of opinion and expression as nationals, as well as the right to assembly, freedom of association and to get organised. Foreigners may also have representative organs at the local level, in particular to facilitate links with local communities.


  1. Committee of Ministers Recommendations


. Recommendation (2015)1 on intercultural integration. This recommendation recalls the pioneering work accomplished by the Council of Europe in the field of intercultural dialogue. It also invites the governments of member States to take note of the guide “The intercultural city step by step: Practical guide for applying the urban model of intercultural integration” and facilitate its dissemination.


. Recommendation (2010)7: Charter on education for democratic citizenship and Human Rights Education and its explanatory memorandum. The Charter highlights the significant role of education in promoting core values of the Council of Europe: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Education is seen as a defense against the rise of violence, racism, extremism, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance.


. Recommendation (2001)19 on the Participation of Citizens in Local Public Life. The recommendation lays out the basic principles of local democratic participation policies (Appendix I), steps and measures to encourage and reinforce citizens’ participation in local public life, elections, decision-making, and management of local affairs (Appendix II).


  1. Congress documents


. Resolution 375(2014) on Promoting diversity through intercultural education and communication strategy. This resolution recognizes the added value brought by diversity of intercultural cities. After reiterating its call to both local and regional authorities to develop proper policies to promote interculturalism in their areas, the Congress invites them to set up “local partnerships for diversity” – platforms for co-operation and coordination with the aforementioned stakeholders, in order to promote the advantages of diversity.


. Resolution 332(2011) on Education for democratic citizenship – tools for cities. The report proposes different strategies and frameworks for establishing and encouraging active civic and democratic position and full participation of citizens in decision-making processes. Personal behaviour and understanding are needed to develop democratic attitudes and to strengthen the citizen position in society.


. Resolution 326(2011) on Citizen participation at local and regional level in Europe. This resolution points out the importance of public participation at local and regional levels and the need of transparent and dynamic dialogue with elected representatives. In order to improve democratic participation, the document stresses the importance of comprehensive and accessible information, innovation and direct involvement.


. Resolution 280(2009) on Intercultural cities. This resolution encourages local authorities to manage diversity in a fair way by promoting the development of multiple cultural identities, by recognizing the actual role of migrants within the society’s development, and by ensuring dialogue among all actors at local level.


  1. Other Council of Europe documents


. European Youth Centre (EYC), HAVE YOUR SAY! (2008) Manual on the revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (2003). The revised charter has been designed as a tool to support young people, youth workers, organisations and local authorities in promoting and enhancing meaningful youth participation at local level across Europe. HAVE YOUR SAY! is a collection of reflections and questions that can help those working at local level to find their own ways of achieving the meaningful participation of young people.


· European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR). The C.L.E.A.R. diagnostic tool is meant to help local governments to self-evaluate public participation in their community.


. Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), Resolution 2043 (2015) on Democratic participation for migrants’ diasporas. It recognizes the prominent role of and the possibility for migrants to build bridges between their states of residence and of origin. Playing this role is only possible if their right to democratic participation is respected.


· Conference of INGOs, Code of good practice for civil participation in the decision-making process (2009). The Code offers a repertoire of good practices. It proposes guidelines to all actors in the democratic process stemming from concrete practical experience of dialogue and co-operation between NGOs and public authorities.