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Rights and obligations of NGOs assisting refugees and migrants in Europe

Recommendation 2192 (2020)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 4 December 2020 (see Doc. 15161, report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, rapporteur: Mr Domagoj Hajduković; and Doc. 15174, opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Ms Alexandra Louis).
1 Recalling its Resolution 2356 (2020) on the rights and obligations of NGOs assisting refugees and migrants in Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly emphasises the importance of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for member States in assisting refugees and migrants.
2 Referring to the European Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental Organisations (ETS No. 124), Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14 of the Committee of Ministers on the legal status of non-governmental organisations in Europe, the Joint Guidelines on Freedom of Association adopted by the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR) and the Guidelines on Protecting NGO Work in Support of Refugees and Other Migrants prepared by the Expert Council on NGO Law of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers prepare common standards to facilitate the international work of NGOs providing humanitarian assistance for migrants, refugees and displaced persons. Particular attention should be given to facilitating:
2.1 the establishment of local field offices;
2.2 entry visas and residence permits for NGOs’ staff members;
2.3 the transport and distribution of humanitarian goods;
2.4 the provision of humanitarian services by NGOs’ staff members;
2.5 the recognition of professional qualifications of NGOs’ staff members, such as medical qualifications;
2.6 international bank transfers of funds for humanitarian action;
2.7 tax privileges for international and national donations and their humanitarian use.
3 Referring to the European Charter on the Rights and Responsibilities of Volunteers of the European Youth Forum, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers prepare legally binding standards for volunteers, with due regard to the European Social Charter (ETS Nos. 35 and 163).