Valid as of 25 February 2014
I – Mission Statement
- EPRID, the European Platform against Religious Intolerance and Discrimination, is a diverse network of civil society organisations (CSOs), including religious and non-religious (non-confessional) associations operating at the European level.
- The objective of EPRID is to collectively promote freedom of religion or belief in the world as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and other international human rights instruments.
II – Operating guidelines
- EPRID membership is open to civil society organisations (CSOs), including religious and non-religious associations, that adhere to the Platform’s objectives. EPRID does not represent any particular belief system. It will seek to ensure diverse membership. Members are understood as the member organisation belonging to EPRID – not the individuals representing the organisation in question.
Principles of Membership
- Members of EPRID
- advocate for the protection and promotion of freedom of religion or belief in the world;
- proactively participate in the Platform’s activities by appointing a representative mandated to take decisions, share relevant information and ideas, and volunteer for administrative tasks on behalf of his/her organisation;
- attend the Annual Meeting and at least one regular meeting per calendar year;
- show due respect to all Platform members and work together in an atmosphere of mutual trust, respect and cooperation, regardless of differences of conviction;
- will not undertake or be involved in any action that undermines those of the Platform;
- must have legal status and/or be in good legal standing in the EU member states;
- pay an annual membership fee fixed at each Annual Meeting in due time.
- Coalitions of diverse organisations are not eligible for membership in EPRID.
- Membership applications should be sent by the legal representative of the applicant association to firstname.lastname@example.org. He/she should briefly explain the activities of the association, the reasons for wishing to join and the added value this would bring to the Platform. The legal representative of the applicant association is required to provide a copy of its by-laws, the name of the person to be appointed as representative, a written statement by which the applicant association accepts and adheres to the present Founding Principles of EPRID.
- The board of coordinators will share completed application requests with current EPRID members and organise a consultation at the following EPRID meeting. Silence shall be interpreted as acceptance. Decisions on new membership shall be made by unanimity. The board of coordinators shall notify applicants of its final decision within two weeks following EPRID’s decision. Applications received between June and August will be considered as if received in September.
- Voluntary Renunciation of Membership:
Any member wishing to leave EPRID is free to do so at any time by informing the board of coordinators of its decision by email or any other written form. By leaving EPRID, the organisation accepts that any information shared by members during its membership period will not be disclosed.
- Cancellation of Membership:
In case of an alleged serious breach of any organisational principle or membership requirement, the board of coordinators will request a written explanation by contacting the member in question. Such explanation shall be shared among EPRID members and put on the agenda of the next EPRID meeting. Any conflicts of interest are first addressed through dialogue between board members and all concerned parties. If, however, this discussion does not lead to a mutually acceptable solution, the matter will be brought to the attention of other Platform members. Decision to withdraw membership is made by qualified majority of two-thirds of the votes expressed.
B. Mandates and Responsibilities
Decision-making and implementation bodies
- The Platform is EPRID’s decision-making body. In principle, decisions shall be made by consensus. Decisions may be made by qualified majority of two-thirds of the votes expressed if requested by at least one member, unless otherwise specified in the Rules of Engagement. In case a vote is to be taken, members attending the meeting and having a proxy (not more than one per member) will vote. Qualifying votes will be counted, whilst abstainers will not be counted as expressing any vote, except for statistics and records.
- A board of coordinators is elected by the Platform. It is in charge of the administrative management of EPRID and the implementation of the decisions taken by the Platform.
- Its missions are mainly:
- to coordinate the Platform’s overall activities, facilitate cooperation and communication between members, settle cases of dispute between members that affect the Platform’s activities or regarding prospective membership;
- to organise regular and annual meetings, to propose a draft agenda that can be completed by the members of the Platform, to distribute the final version of the agenda to the members, to finalise minutes for meetings, and to suggest a budget, when applicable;
- to ensure representation and liaison with institutional interlocutors and third parties, and keep the Platform informed of such contacts and meeting opportunities and events.
Election procedure of the board of coordinators
- All representatives of members (with special regard to Paragraph 4(g)), including members not physically represented, are eligible by default onto the EPRID board of coordinators at all elections. Those representatives, who for specific reasons cannot become board members, should indicate it at least two weeks before the Annual Meeting or any other relevant meeting.
- Absentees may be represented by an EPRID member by use of a proxy. Present representatives may only carry one proxy per organisation.
- Voting is by secret ballot for a maximum of three members. When voting, members should bear in mind the principles of continuity, diversity and, especially, rotation.
- In principle, the board of coordinators shall consist of three members. At least one board member should be Brussels-based. In case there is no Brussels-based board member, a fourth board member may be elected on that basis.
C. Working Methods
- All meetings are recorded in writing under a principle of non-attribution, unless otherwise agreed.
- An Annual Meeting is organised before 1 March of each calendar year with the aim of reviewing the past year, proposing future activities and confirming board set-up. The board of coordinators confirms the annual meeting date at least four weeks in advance, in order to facilitate participation in person. Preparatory documents and statements will be distributed at least five working days before the proposed date.
- Regular meetings will be held throughout the year, at least every third month. The board will communicate the date of the meeting preferably at least two weeks in advance. The meetings will start with the approval of the minutes and decisions of the previous meeting or of their amended version.
External representation and use of EPRID name and logo
- The board of coordinators will keep the members informed of any external meetings with institutions, policy officials and diplomats to which EPRID is invited. The board of coordinators will consult with members as to who should represent the Platform at any given meeting. It is recommended to include both a member and a non-member of the board of coordinators in meetings.
- Concerning participation as speaker or panellist in public events or in any activity on behalf of EPRID, prior approval of the representative by the Platform is required. The board of coordinators will consult with the members of the Platform for possible candidates. The Platform logo shall only be used for EPRID activities or otherwise by consensus of the Platform.
Communication, and cooperation
- Communication between EPRID members:
The principal communication between members is via the Platform’s internal emailing system.
- Communication with third parties:
The board of coordinators, on behalf of the Platform and within its agreed mandate, will communicate with third parties on a case-by-case basis. All principled or policy documents by EPRID for external use need to be agreed upon by the Platform. Any joint communications will be issued with a list of the member associations of EPRID. General communication and public relations documents must be supported by all members of EPRID.
Cooperation with third parties
- Any ad hoc cooperation with non-members – be that organisations, platforms or networks – needs to be agreed upon by EPRID members. EPRID can exchange views with and/or take advice from experts, like-minded organisations and other relevant stakeholders. Invitations to meetings can be extended to external actors on a case-by-case basis, with due respect for the status of members as opposed to non-members, including in terms of access to or disclosure of information.
- Financial operations shall be carried out by a number of appointed persons, subject to agreement by the Platform.
Amendments to EPRID’s Rules of Engagement
- Members can agree to modify the Rules of Engagement and agree upon any changes – both requiring a qualified majority of two-thirds of the votes expressed at the Annual Meeting. In the process of revision, the current Rules of Engagement shall apply until the new ones have been adopted.
- A decision with the aim of changing the internal structures, rules or core functioning of the Platform can only be taken with a three-fourth majority support of the Platform members.
 EPRID was founded in September 2006 as a civil-society active affirmation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, adopted in 1981 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Its name reflects this historical connexion and the Platform’s adhesion to the spirit and commitments of this global declaration. Article 2(2) claims that “For the purposes of the present Declaration, the expression ‘intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief’ means any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on religion or belief and having as its purpose or as its effect nullification or impairment of the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis.”