Charter of the Middle East and North Africa Civil Society Network for Displacement
Chapter I: Purposes and Principles
Article 1 – Vision. The MENA CSND envisages a region that respects and implements policies related to displacement and refugees that are based on international and regional human rights instruments, responsibility sharing and social inclusion; and where partnerships to respond to protection and assistance needs are inclusive.
Article 2 – Mission. The Middle East and North Africa Civil Society Network for Displacement (hereinafter referred to as MENA CSND) works together to widen the protection and assistance space for displaced persons and refugees in a more effective and comprehensive manner, in partnership with all interested parties in agreement with international law for human rights, international humanitarian law, relevant regional laws, and customary international humanitarian law.
Article 3 – Principles. The MENA CSND and its Members, in pursuit of the purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following principles:
- The MENA CSND is based on the principle of the equality of all its Members;
- All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter;
- The MENA CSND will be guided by the principles of non-discrimination, neutrality, impartiality, humanity, diversity, solidarity, accountability and do no harm;
- The MENA CSND and its Members will uphold the rights of all persons, in particular refugees and forcibly displaced persons, in accordance with international human rights law, international humanitarian law, relevant national and regional instruments and international customary law;
Article 4 – Objectives. The objectives of the MENA CSND are:
- To provide a regional platform for consultation and cooperation among MENA CSND members on issues of common interest related to displacement, refugees and humanitarian action;
- To exchange information of common interest and strengthen the capacity of MENA CSND Members that will enable MENA CSND Members to take informed decisions and improve humanitarian delivery;
- To influence and develop policy making;
- To carry out joint advocacy and outreach for the rights of refugees and displaced persons;
- To develop strategies to widen the protection space and assistance in the region for displaced persons;
- To facilitate and promote inclusive partnerships across the Middle East and North Africa;
- Advancing the rights of displaced persons and refugees.
Chapter II: ORGANS
Article 5 – Organs of the MENA CSND. The MENA CSND is structured as follows:
- General Forum, a Steering Committee, and a Secretariat.
- National Committees and sub-regional working groups as may be found necessary may be established in accordance with the present Charter.
Article 6 – Functions of the General Forum.
- Terms of reference:
- Responsible for deciding on policy and programme priorities;
- The General Forum will meet annually;
- Adopts, reviews and implements multi-year strategic plan;
- Elect the Steering Committee using secret (confidential) ballot. MENA CSND members not represented at the General Forum may submit their votes for the Steering Committee electronically or by proxy;
- Receive, review and assess reports from the Steering Committee;
- Amend the present Charter.
- The Forum is made up of one representative from each member organization;
- Where a nominated representative is not available, a member may be represented by an alternative person or a proxy duly communicated to the Steering Committee.
Article 7 – Composition of the Steering Committee.
- The Steering Committee is composed of twelve members, representing each country (The Middle East: Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt; North Africa: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania; and the Gulf Cooperation Council: KSA, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar) with the following conditions:
- The Steering Committee reflects gender diversity (with no less than 5 of the Steering Committee members being represented by women) and programmatic diversity.
- Terms of reference:
- Willingness and ability of the representative to devote necessary time and energy to serve on the Steering Committee;
- Make his/her professional competence available to perform certain functions in the Steering Committee;
- The rotation of Members serving on the Steering Committee, with no longer than two consecutive terms.
Article 8 – Functions of the Steering Committee.
- The Steering Committee will meet at minimum every six months, either virtually or physically;
- The Steering Committee will ensure that the MENA CSND follows its mission;
- Provides approval of policy and strategy, as well as monitoring of the Network’s strategic and annual Plans;
- Establish any necessary bylaws in accordance with the Charter;
- Elect a Chair, Vice-Chair and Treasurer, when possible by consensus;
- Review and decide upon applications for membership in the MENA CSND;
- Suspend or terminate Members in accordance with Article 15 of the present Charter;
- Appoint the Executive Director;
- Agree by consensus on one member to take over the responsibilities of the Secretariat for a minimum of one year.
Article 9 – Composition of the Secretariat. The MENA CSND will be supported by the Secretariat whom works to help implement strategic plans and promote the work of the MENA CSND and its Members. The Secretariat is composed of an Executive Director and other staff as authorized by the Steering Committee and in accordance with the annual budget. The Executive Director, who holds the responsibility for the performance of the Secretariat, reports to the Steering Committee.
Article 10 – Functions of the Secretariat.
The Secretariat will perform the following:
- Provide members with services in the areas of information, policy, advocacy and coordination;
- Facilitate the formulation of and lead on the implementation of the Strategic and annual Plans as approved by the General Forum and the Steering Committee, respectively;
- Manage the activities of the MENA CSND and report to the Steering Committee regularly;
- Facilitate and support the work of the General Forum and the Steering Committee;
- Mobilize and manage financial resources reporting regularly to the Steering Committee Treasurer.
Article 11 – Accounting and Auditing. Proper accounts of the MENA CSND shall be kept by its Secretariat for all income and expenditure and shall be audited annually by a qualified Accountant. The audited financial accounts shall be approved by The MENA CSND Treasurer, endorsed and reviewed by the Steering Committee and the General Forum.
Chapter III: Membership
Article 12 – Membership criteria and status.
- Membership in the MENA CSND is open to all Middle East and North Africa civil society organizations committed to advocating for the rights of refugees and displaced persons in the Middle East and North Africa, which accept the responsibilities contained in the present Charter;
- All Members are required to adhere to the core principles of the MENA CSND outlined above. Members are also required to adhere to any additional codes of conduct endorsed by the MENA CSND;
- The concept of “civil society organizations” is inclusive, and should be extended to cover media outlets, national and regional human rights institutions, education institutions, foundations, and economic sector, regional and national networks, among others;
- Individuals will be considered as observers or experts on an ad-hoc basis;
- They do not have the right to nominate, vote or stand for elections.
Article 13 – New membership.
- Prospective Members will apply for membership by filling out the relevant Application for Membership form;
- The admission of any civil society actor to membership in the MENA CSND will be ratified by the Steering Committee upon the recommendation of two founding members, and subject to the due diligence processes for new members undertaken by the Secretariat and in accordance with the following criteria:
- Works for the protection and assistance of refugees and displaced persons in the MENA region as well as advocates for their rights;
- Commits to the contents of the charter and the code of conduct
- An application for membership may be rejected if:
- Not enough information is provided by the applicant;
- Existing members have valid objections
- The national committee has valid objections or if there is no compliance with the membership criteria.
- Rejected applicants will be notified in writing of the reasons for their rejection.
Article 14 – Independence of Member Organizations. Members retain their independence, including the right of withdrawal from the MENA CSND.
Article 15 –Termination of Membership. Membership of the MENA CSND may be terminated by the Steering Committee of the following grounds:
- Upon the request of the Member;
- If a member is found to be in breach of the criteria for membership;
- If a member has violated the Principles contained in the present Charter;
- A member’s membership may be terminated by the two thirds of the Steering Committee upon the formal request of three existing MENA CSND members or the Steering Committee itself;
- The decision to terminate a membership shall be communicated in writing to the member concerned and will be subject to an appeal process;
- A comprehensive appeals and complaints procedure shall be developed by the Secretariat and approved by the Steering Committee.
Chapter IV: General
Article 16 – Languages. The working languages of the MENA CSND shall be English, Arabic and French.
Article 17 – Amendment of the Charter. Proposals for amendments to the present Charter will be delivered to the Steering Committee in writing. Final decision on amendments shall be made by the General Forum with the approval of two-thirds of the members present at the General Forum meeting.
Article 18 – Dissolution. The MENA CSND can be dissolved by two-thirds majority of its members. In case of dissolution, the affairs of the MENA CSND shall be concluded by the Steering Committee.