Statutes

Article1 [Preamble and Purpose]

Preamble
 
ISHR recognises as innate and inalienable the rights which protect the individual from arbitrary acts by the State and legal systems. ISHR's principal objective is to encourage international observance and respect for these fundamental rights of human beings, as laid out in binding international law, which protect the individual and group rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.
 
Purpose
 
The purposes of the International Society for Human Rights, hereinafter referred to as 'the Society', are:
(1)  To achieve universal respect for and observance of human rights and, in particular, to provide support and relief to politically, religiously and racially discriminated people. The society wishes to promote the international idea of tolerance in all fields of culture and the idea of understanding between people of other nationalities.
 
(2)  All measures of the Society shall both morally and legally be based on:
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, proclaimed on10th December 1948;
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 19th December 1966;
- European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, of 4th November 1950; and
- Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe 1975.
 
(3)  To provide support only to those people or associations who, in their struggle for human rights, refrain from the use of for or from proclaiming the use of force or from propagating a totalitarian state.

Article 2 [Relationship with International Organisations]

(1) The Society, as an international non-governmental organisation, which promotes the global acceptance and observance of human rights by peaceful means, should seek relationship with the United Nations in accordance with Article 71 of the Charter of the United Nations.
 
(2) The Society should also on matters within its objectives, seek consultation and co-operation with other inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Article 3 [Membership]

(1) Membership in the Society is obtained through membership in a National Section. Separation from a National Section terminates membership in the Society. Payment of a members fee is an obligation to the relevant National Section only.
 
(2) In countries in which no National Section exists, membership can be obtained through the International Secretariat (Individual Membership) if a Group or a Section of the Society cannot be established in the country for political reasons. The International Council shall decide on the amount of the individual membership fee. Separation from the Society is obtained by notification in writing to the International Secretariat. Individual members automatically become members of the national formations of the Society as soon as they are established according to the relevant national law.

Article 4 [Structure]

(1) The Society is composed of International Organs, National Sections, National Groups and Regional Committees.
 
(2) a) National Sections are, in compliance with their national law, independent legal bodies. They shall promote the establishment of as many working groups as possible on a community level.
      b) To keep the status of a National Section the section yearly has to prove the existence of an executing board and at least ten members. If the requirements are not fulfilled, the section automatically becomes a National Group pursuant to the following paragraph.
 
(3) National Groups are working groups of the Society in a country in which no National Section yet exists. If a National Group does not report any activities to the International Secretary for more than four years the Secretary General in accordance with the President shall prepare a decision on the closure of the National Group to the International Council.
 
(4) Regional Committees of the Society are composed of least three National Sections or National Groups in a geographical or cultural coherent region which are being created by initiative of the Vice-Presidents and a decision of the International Council. The membership in a Regional Committee is voluntary. The membership has to be confirmed by its members every year through a special declaration given to the International Secretary in the report according to Article 15 (3).
 

Article 5 [International Organs]

International organs of the Society are:
1.  The International Council
2.  The President
3.  The Board of the Society

Article 6 [International Council]

(1) The International Council is composed of the President, the Vice-Presidents, Secretary-General, the Treasurer and representatives of National Sections.
 
(2) The chairmen of the National Sections represent their country-sections on the International Council. Each National Section shall delegate such number of members to the International Council as the number of members of the National Section can be divided by 500. The number of each section's representatives is limited to three delegates and votes. If the annual contribution of the Section according to the Financial Order has not been paid, the number of representatives and votes is limited to one. For the purpose of this article the relevant number of members is identical with the number of members on which the annual financial contribution according to Article 17 is based on. For determining the number of seats in the International Council the fixed term is September 30 of the preceding year
 
(3) The membership of the International Council of representatives of National Sections shall cease,
  
a) after the President has been notified by the board of a National Section that the member will no  longer represent this National Section, or
  
b) the member has notified the President of his separation from office.

Article 7 [International Council - Competency]

(1) The International Council elects the President, five Vice Presidents and the Treasurer in separate ballots with the simple majority of the members present for a period of four years. As President such a personality may be elected who is not a members of a board of a National Section.
 
(2) The function of the International Council shall also be:
(a) To admit and to suspend National Sections and National Groups and the right to use the label of the Society;
(b) To establish the budget for the following two years;
(c) To decide on legal transactions in accordance with Article 18;
(d) Admission of the international honorary members;
(e) To establish special committees of members from several National Sections or Groups to coordinate  specific common activities or concepts;
(f) To decide on any other activities in accordance with the Statute;
(g) To decide on guidelines (including policy issues) of the Board of the Society.

Article 8 [International Council- Meetings, Decisions]

(1) The International Council shall meet upon one month's notice at least every two years and in the year between within a period of three months upon request of two thirds of the members of the International Council.
 
(2) One third of the members present at the International Council shall constitute a quorum or as provided as follows: Except the President and the Secretary-General, the members on the International Council may be represented by another member of the board of their National Sections, provided a written power of attorney has been submitted. A member of the International Council is entitled to vote on behalf of absent members of the same National Section, if a written power of attorney has been submitted. Representation by members of other National Sections shall not be accepted.
 
(3) Decisions of the International Council shall be taken by a two-thirds majority vote of those members present and voting, unless provided otherwise in the statutes. Members who abstain from voting shall be considered as not voting.
 
(4) In respect of arrears in contribution by a National Section in accordance with Article 17 for a period of longer than one year the representatives of such a National Section forfeit their right to vote on the International Council, unless the International Council waives this provision.
 
(5) Each session of the International Council shall be recorded and the protocol shall be signed by the President together with the recorder. The recorder will be appointed by the President and need not be a member of the International Council.
 
(6) If the President thinks it is appropriate, decisions of the International Council may be made by write-in ballot. Such a vote shall be considered valid if it has been received by the International Secretariat within a period predetermined by the President from the date at which the request voting has been mailed. The period must be at least four weeks. A decision reached by write-in is only valid, if, including expressive abstentions, at least half of the Members of the International Council have cast their votes in time.

Article 9 [The President]

(1) The President is the representative of the Society. He shall conduct relationships with international organisations.
 
(2) In accordance with the relevant decisions of the International Council the President shall take such steps necessary to bring the Society into relationship with the United Nations and other international organisations as provided in Article 2. Prior to significant decisions, the President may consult the Vice-Presidents.
 
(3) The President shall chair the meeting of the International Council. He shall supervise the conduct of business by the Secretary-General in accordance with Article 11. Before taking any decision of importance to the Society the President should consult the Board of the Society.

Article 10 [The Board of the Society]

(1) The President, the Vice-Presidents, and the Treasurer constitute the Board of the Society. The Boardof the Society meets at least once a year.

(2) The function of the board of the Society is:
(a) To co-ordinate the international activities of the National Sections and National Groups;
(b) To prepare guidelines of works;
(c) To appoint the Secretary General;
(d) To approve statutes and amendments to statutes of National Sections and National Groups in compliance with the international statutes;
(e) To determine the contribution to the budget of the International Secretariat by National Sections on the basis of financial estimates;
(f) To establish and administrate the "Fund of Mutual Assistance" to promote financial support to financially weaker National Sections by financially stronger National Sections;
(g) To decide on guide lines and the financial budget for the work of the International Secretariat.
 
(3) The Vice Presidents initiate and chair the Regional Committees with the consent of the Board of the Society. They take care for a mutual support and the exchange of information within the committee and with the International Secretariat. For that purpose the Vice Presidents initiate meetings between individuals, define common aims and direct common activities. If a Vice-President is not able to fully comply with the tasks towards the Regional Committee he may delegate them to one of the chairmen of the member groups or sections.

Article 11 [International Secretariat]

(1) The International Secretariat shall maintain all such records as may be necessary for the efficient discharge of the functions of the Society and shall accomplish the decisions of the International Council in respect of the international obligations of the Society. To this end the site of the International Secretariat shall be Frankfurt/Main. Such number of personnel shall be recruited to the International Secretariat as may be necessary.
 
(2) The International Secretariat shall, in particular, perform the following functions:
a) Investigation and documentation of violations of human rights in preparation of measures to be taken by the Society for the purpose of case-care;
b) central registry of cases supported by the Society;
c) to advise and to inform National Sections, National Groups or Working Groups;
d) edition and publication of an English language periodical and other brochures, leaflets and special publications;
e) planning and pursuance of central activities.

Article 12 [The Secretary-General]

(1) The Secretary-General shall be the chief administrator of the International Secretariat. He conducts the current business of the Society. He executes the decisions of the International Council and assists the President in performing his duties. The International Council may advise the Secretary-General in respect to the functions of the International Secretariat. The Secretary General is present at the meetings of the Board of the Society without the right to vote.
 
(2) The President may, at any time, request and receive from the Secretary-General any information he or she wishes concerning the conduct of business. If the President raises his or her concern in respect to the fulfilment of the Secretary-General's duties according to paragraph 1 the Secretary-General shall comply with the expressed concern.
 
(3) If the President raises his concern in respect to an action to be taken by the Secretary-General, such action shall be deferred until the International Council have decided otherwise. Regarding actions which require communication with international organisations the opinion of the President shall overrule any decision of the International Council not taken unanimously.
 
(4) Notwithstanding the Secretary-General's competencies according to this Statute the duties and competencies may also be object of an employment contract with a National Section. In this case the appointment of the Secretary General according to Art 10, para. 2 c) needs to be approved by the board of the employing section. The President may dispense the Secretary General from office if the employment contract has been terminated.
 
(5) If the Secretary-General is unable to conduct his office or in case of absence from office, the President may authorise a Member of the International Council or a staff member of the International Secretariat to take charge of the International Secretariat until the next regular session of the International Council. The President may himself take charge of the duties of the Secretary-General, partly or in total.

Article 13 [Honorary Office]

The offices of the President, the Vice Presidents and the Treasurer and of the representatives of National Sections on the International Council are honorary positions. Remuneration shall not be made unless the International Council has so decided. The International Council may decide on exceptional remuneration for one of its members, provided such a remuneration is justified by an extraordinary amount of work.

Article 14 [Recalling Officers]

The term of office of the President, the Secretary-General and the Treasurer may be terminated by the International Council upon request of half of its Members, provided, this decision has been taken by a two-thirds majority vote of the Members present. Such a decision cannot be made by write-in ballot.

Article 15 [National Sections and National Groups]

(1) National Sections and National Groups initiate their own work in compliance with the international organs and the basis of the working guidelines and aims of the Society as adopted by the International Council. The International Council may decide in accordance with the working guidelines which measures shall remain within the competence of the international organs.
 
(2) National Sections and National Groups shall be responsible that measures taken by their members comply with the purposes and with the working guidelines of the Society.
 
(3) The Secretary-General is entitled to request any information from the chairman of each National Section and National Group. The National Sections are obliged to send to the International Secretariat each year by the end of January an activity report and a copy of their current statute and a protocol of the last Annual Meeting. If a National Section fails to submit this report until two weeks before the next International Council Meeting the Section is suspended from any decision-making during the International Council Meeting.
 
(4) The Secretary-General shall express his concern about measures taken by National Sections and National Groups to their boards in respect to the compliance of such measures with the purpose and working guidelines of the Society. If no agreement can be reached, such contested measures must be discontinued until the International Council has decided upon them. In urgent cases the Secretary-General, in consultation with the President and the Treasurer may take appropriate action to interdict such measures and even provisionally suspend a National Section, National Group or Regional Committee from membership until the next meeting of the International Council.
 
(5) The International Council may suspend a National Section or National Group from membership in the Society if such a National Section or National Group despite earlier dissuasion by the Secretary-General from gross violation of the purposes, the working guidelines, the statutes of the Society or the principles of democratic procedures in the internal decision making process, continues such violation. The decision to suspend a National Section or National Group shall be carried out by a two-thirds majority of the members of the International Council present and shall not be made by write-in ballot.
 
(6) Upon the receipt of the decision of the International Council to suspend the National Section or National Group concerned from membership in the Society such a National Section or National Group is no longer entitled to use the full name or any other title which could be mistaken for the name of the Society.

Article 16 [Institutional membership/affiliation of other humanitarian organisations with ISHR]

(1) National Sections of the Society may accept related national humanitarian organisations or formal groups in their country as institutional members or affiliates. The final decision about such membership or affiliation can only be made after consulting the Secretary-General (in line with Article 15 of the statutes.) The rights and duties of such an organisation or group applying for membership of affiliation with a National Section have to be clearly defined (membership fee, voting rights in membership meeting, use of name of ISHR National Section on the stationary and other printed material, etc.)

 

(2) To protect or support related humanitarian organisations or groups, a status of affiliation can be provided through the Society on the international level. The International Council of the Society or, provisionally, the International Secretary General in the time between its meetings, decide about applications for affiliation. The cancellation of such a status of affiliation can only be decided in accordance with Article 15 (5) of the international statutes. Organisations or groups enjoying the status of affiliation should contribute to the Society on the international level through an annual fee.

 

(3) Groups enjoying affiliated status with the Society shall provide an annual activities report to the International Secretariat two months before the date of the International Council or be liable to disaffiliation without further notice at the following meeting of the International Council.

Article 17 [Finances]

National Sections contribute to the budget of the International Organs and to the working fund of the International Secretariat. Details shall be provided by the Financial Order adopted by the International Council.

Article 18 [Representation]

(1) The President and the Treasurer are, each of them on his own, entitled to represent the Society in transactions and in legal proceedings. They can authorize the Secretary General with single business transactions. Contracts representing a value in each single case representing a value of more than fifty thousand Euro (EUR) shall be concluded only by the President or by the Secretary-General together with the Treasurer. Contracts which commit the Society to pay in each single case more than one hundred thousand Euro (EUR) are binding for the Society only if the Board of the Society and the International Council have approved them. The provision of the preceding sentence is also applicable in respect of employment contracts with the Secretary-General and paid professional staff on the International Secretariat, as well as in respect to amendments of such contracts. The International Council may approve such contracts or amendments thereto prior to their conclusion.
 
(2) The President shall apply his power of substitution only subject to the provision of Article 12 or, after the Secretary-General has been suspended from such representation by law. The Treasurer shall only be entitled to apply his power of representation in urgent cases in which the President, the Board of the Society and the Secretary-General are prevented from representing the Society.
 
(3) In all contracts concluded on behalf of the Society only the property of the Society shall be liable as compensation.

Article 19 [Auditors]

The daily conduct of the business and the financial situation of the Society shall be reviewed by auditors at least every two years. The International Council shall appoint the auditors who are not members of the International Council.
 

Article 20 [Disbandment]

(1) The Society shall be disbanded upon the decision of the International Council by a two-thirds majority of its members present. The decision shall not be made by write-in ballot.
 
(2) In case of disbandment of the Society the property of the Society shall be apportioned among the existing National Sections in relation to their numbers of membership.
 

Article 21 [Amendments]

Amendments to the present statute shall be effected by the provisions of Article 15 (1).
 

Article 22 [Effective date]

The present statutes shall go into effect on the day after the International Council has decided on it.