CM (99) 75 ... Report to the 104th Session of the CM on the implementation of the action plan and the follow-up to the final declaration

Committee of Ministers

Comité des Ministres

104th Session

(Budapest, 6 - 7 May 1999)

Strasbourg, 29 April 1999

Unclassified

CM(99)75

REPORT

TO THE 104th SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACTION PLAN AND THE

FOLLOW-UP TO THE FINAL DECLARATION

 

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACTION PLAN

 

I.    DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

1.    European Court of Human Rights

Following the last ratification of Protocol No 11 to the European Convention on Human Rights on the eve of the Strasbourg Summit, the Heads of State and Government were able to start the countdown to the establishment of a permanent Court, to replace the former European Commission and European Court of Human Rights. Between October 1997 and October 1998, all necessary steps were taken to ensure that the new Court became operational once it had been formally inaugurated on 3 November 1998. In the meantime, on 5 May 1998 Russia has become a party to the Convention, which thus encompassed all the Council of Europe's member States.

The ambitious reform of the supervisory system of the European Convention on Human Rights, agreed at the Vienna Summit, has now become a reality. With the recent accession of Georgia, which has undertaken to ratify the Convention in the coming year, almost 800 million people throughout the Council of Europe's 41 member States will now be able to exercise their rights before the new Court of Human Rights.

2.    Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

The creation of the office of Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights is on the agenda of the Committee of Ministers' 104th session (see draft resolution in appendix 1 of the present report). This key development, which coincides with the Organisation's 50th anniversary, increases the Council of Europe's visibility in its most prominent area of activity as well as the protection of human rights throughout Europe. The role of the Commissioner, who should be elected by the Parliamentary Assembly in autumn and take up his or her duties no later than 1 January 2000, will complement that of the European Court of Human Rights and will be based on three main areas of responsibility: promoting human rights (through education and awareness-raising), advising member States and relevant Council of Europe bodies, and stimulating national human rights institutions and ombudsmen.

3. Compliance with member States' commitments

a.    Since the Strasbourg Summit, the Committee of Ministers has strengthened its procedure for monitoring compliance with commitments, established in conformity with its "Declaration on compliance with commitments accepted by member States of the Council of Europe" of 10 November 1994. It has continued its consideration of the situation in member States in the various "areas of concern" identified and has adopted conclusions and operational follow-up measures (including changes to the co-operation and assistance programmes for the countries concerned), for the themes "freedom of expression and information" (December 1997), "functioning of the judicial system" (September 1998), "local democracy" (November 1998) and functioning and protection of the democratic system" (March 1999). Work has started on the areas chosen for 1999: "capital punishment" and "police and security forces".

b.    The Parliamentary Assembly has held two debates – in April 1998 and April 1999 – on the development of its monitoring procedure, following the establishment of a special standing committee responsible for this activity in January 1997. The honouring of commitments by Ukraine (January 1999) and Croatia (April 1999) were the subject of debates in plenary session while information reports were issued on the situations in Russia (June 1998), Bulgaria (September 1998) and Turkey (January 1999). The dialogue between the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers has been strengthened: since January 1998, compliance with commitments is on a regular basis on the agenda of the Joint Committee and the Committee of Ministers has recently decided, at the Assembly's request, to declassify national contributions to the monitoring procedure; the Deputies and the Chair of the Assembly's Monitoring Committee will hold a general exchange of views on the two bodies' monitoring procedures on 1 and 2 June 1999.

c.    The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) has also continued to operate its monitoring procedure, concerned with member States' compliance with their undertakings in the field of local democracy (the main text on this subject being the European Charter of Local Self-Government). Following Moldova (November 1997), reports were adopted in June 1998 on the situations in Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. Further reports, on Germany, Finland, San Marino and the Netherlands, will be submitted to the Congress's 6th plenary session, on 15-17 June 1999.

4. Prohibition of the cloning of human beings

At its 101st Session (6 November 1998), the Committee of Ministers adopted the additional Protocol to the Convention for the protection of human rights and dignity of the human being with regard to the application of biology and medicine, on the prohibition of cloning human beings. This Protocol was opened to signature on 12 January 1998 in Paris and has so far been signed by 26 states. The Steering Committee is currently preparing a draft protocol on the protection of embryos and human foetuses, which includes the problem of the cloning of human embryos to obtain cells that can be used for therapeutic purposes.

5. Combating racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has started to implement is strengthened activities programme, which comprises three aspects. Firstly, the Commission is developing a procedure to monitor its recommendations on combating racism and intolerance in the various member States and assess specific issues in particular countries in more detail. The second aspect relates to work on general themes and involves the development of policy recommendations and guidelines, as well as the implementation of operational activities. The third aspect is entitled "ECRI and civil society": it aims at communicating the message of the Council of Europe to the general public and includes information and awareness-raising activities on questions related to combating racism and intolerance.

On 10 February 1999, the Council of Europe signed an agreement with the European Community on instituting close co-operation between the ECRI and the European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia.

6. Protecting national minorities

a.    The Framework Convention on the protection of national minorities came into force on 1 February 1998; it has so far been signed by 37 states, 27 of which (including one non-member State, Armenia) have ratified it. The advisory committee responsible for monitoring the Convention has been set up by the Committee of Ministers and started work in June 1998.

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages came into force on 1 March 1998. It has been signed by 19 Council of Europe member States, 8 of which have ratified it. The experts committee responsible for monitoring the Convention has been set up by the Committee of Ministers and also started work in June 1998.

b.    In response to the instruction given by the Summit "to complement the Council of Europe’s standard setting achievements through practical initiatives, such as confidence building measures and enhanced co-operation", the Confidence Building Measures (CBM) Programme has strengthened the Organisation's political and financial support to civil society initiatives aimed at fostering good relations between majority and minority communities footnote 1 . In addition, a new governmental committee, the DH-MIN, has been set up to act as a forum for the exchange of information, experience and views on policies and good practices, with a view to identifying and assessing means of further enhancing European co-operation in the field of protection of national minorities. Finally, a joint Council of Europe/European Commission programme for minorities in Europe was established in 1999, as a successor - on a pan-European scale - to the Joint Programme for Minorities in Central Europe operated in the framework of the Stability Pact in Europe.

 

II.    SOCIAL COHESION

1.    Promoting social rights

a.    The Parliamentary Assembly campaign for the signature and ratification of the European Social Charter, its protocols and the revised Charter has continued footnote 2 ; the Protocol providing for a system of collective complaints, which came into force on 1 July 1998, significantly strengthens the protection of economic and social rights in Europe by offering employers' and employees' representatives and NGOs new means of redress; following the Parliamentary Assembly's recommendation of January 1998 on the future of the European Social Charter, the Committee of Ministers has agreed to certain measures aimed at strengthening the Charter's supervisory machinery, and ensuring that its standards are better publicised.

b.    Following the 7th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Social Security in Valetta, Malta, from 12-14 May 1998, a series of measures was taken to promote the Council of Europe's legal instruments concerned with social security: the European Code of Social Security and the revised Code will be translated into languages other than the official ones and produced on CD-ROM; an explanatory report on the Interim Agreements on social security has been produced to assist accessions by the countries of central and eastern Europe.

2.    New social cohesion strategy

On 19 June 1998 the Ministers' Deputies set up the European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS), whose first achievement has been to present them with proposals for a social cohesion strategy. The CDCS, which replaced three steering committees footnote 3 , was instructed to co-ordinate, guide and stimulate co-operation between the member States with a view to promoting social cohesion in Europe, together with the social standards embodied in Council of Europe instruments such as the European Social Charter and the European Code of Social Security. Its activities are based on an interdisciplinary approach focusing on the main aspects of social cohesion, such as employment, social protection, housing, health and education; the Parliamentary Assembly, the CLRAE, employers' and employees' representatives and NGOs are involved in its activities.

A specialised unit for monitoring, comparing and handling problems relating to social cohesion was established in January 1999 as an operational adjunct of the CDCS; the Social Development Fund made a special grant in November 1998 of ECU 1,5 million for two years to finance projects forming part of the Council of Europe's social cohesion strategy.

3.    Programme for children

A programme for children, prepared on the initiative of Sweden and Norway, was launched by the Ministers at their 102nd Session (5 May 1998) and started in the summer. It seeks to advance the interests of children, encourage their participation in the society to which they belong and protect them from all forms of exploitation. The Parliamentary Assembly and the CLRAE are closely associated with the programme, as are other international organisations, particularly Unicef and the European Union, and NGOs. This approach, based on openness and partnership, is reflected in the "Forum for children" set up in November 1998, which operates under the auspices of the CDCS.

4.    Social Development Fund

In response to prompting from the Summit, the organs of the Social Development Fund have adapted their eligibility criteria for projects and their internal procedures with a view to increasing lending activities in the social sphere. The Fund has also decided to make an additional ECU 1 000 million available over three years to finance job creation projects. Discussions are under way concerning an increase in the Fund's capital to strengthen its financial basis and enable it to cope with the new responsibilities arising from the accession of a further 9 states since the Summit footnote 4 .

 

III.    SECURITY OF CITIZENS

1.    Combating terrorism

As noted in the Action Plan, the Parliamentary Assembly organised a conference in Strasbourg from 14-16 October 1998 on "European democracies facing up to terrorism". This brought together some 200 parliamentarians, government representatives and experts concerned with defining terrorism, possible preventive measures and ways of strengthening international co-operation to combat terrorism. Discussions on international co-operation in the fight against terrorism are continuing in the European Committee on Crime Problems.

2.    Fighting corruption and organised crime

At its 101st (6 November 1997) and 102nd (5 May 1998) Sessions respectively, the Committee of Ministers adopted 20 Guiding Principles for the fight against corruption, which contain the Council’s general principles to combat effectively these phenomena, as well as the Enlarged Partial Agreement establishing the Group of States against corruption (GRECO), which is a monitoring mechanism to follow-up compliance with the 20 Guiding Principles and with the other international legal instruments to be adopted in pursuance of the Programme of Action against corruption footnote 5 .

Furthermore, at the end of 1998, the Committee of Ministers adopted the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, which constitutes an important step toward an increased, rapid and well-functioning international co-operation in criminal matters and provides for a co-ordinated criminalisation of a wide range of corruption offences. This Convention has been open to signature on 27 January 1999 and signed so far by 26 States. It will be supplemented, before the end of 1999, by a Civil Law Convention on Corruption.

In November 1998, the Council of Europe and the European Commission agreed on a Joint Project for fighting corruption and organised crime in countries in transition (« Octopus II »). This Programme (which will be implemented in 1999 and 2000) aims at strengthening the legal and institutional framework of 16 Council of Europe member States in order to enable them to fight more effectively against corruption and organised crime.

3.    Preventing drug abuse

The Pompidou Group has increased to 31 member States with the accession of Estonia in 1998 and Russia in 1999. The guidelines laid down by the Summit are reflected in the activities programme for the next two years, in particular through the drafting of guidelines on outreach with groups of young people at risk, as well as the

preparation of handbooks on the work of handling with young drug users, the implementation of activities concerned with preventing HIV and reducing risks for intravenous drug users, and the prevention of drug taking related to the youth leisure scene.

4.    Child protection

In the light of the European follow-up conference to the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in Strasbourg on 28 and 29 April 1998, the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) has drawn up a list of activities already completed or currently under way in the Council of Europe and other international bodies and is examining possible ways of strengthening existing arrangements and machinery for providing international legal protection for children, without excluding the creation of a new body with the task of drafting a comprehensive legal instrument.

 

IV.    DEMOCRATIC VALUES AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY

1. Education for democratic citizenship

a.    The implementation of the Summit decisions concerning education for democratic citizenship was concerned firstly with organising the activities of the various sectors concerned in a coherent framework footnote 6 . In parallel, the Ministers' Deputies have produced, on the initiative of Bulgary, a draft Declaration and Programme on education for democratic citizenship based on the rights and responsibilities of citizens (see appendix II). The draft declaration and programme are submitted to the Committee of Ministers' 104th session for adoption.

b.    The youth exchange programme ("European Secondary School Student Exchange Programme" - ESSE), based on a Norwegian initiative, got under way at the start of the 1998/99 school year. In the first year, secondary school pupils from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Norway, the Russian Federation, the Slovak Republic and Switzerland have been accommodated by local families and attended school in the host countries. With the existing funding the programme can continue until 2002.

2. Enhancing the European heritage

The "Europe, a common heritage" campaign will take place from September 1999 to September 2000. Its aim is to raise the awareness of public opinion concerning the protection of the cultural and natural heritage of the European continent. The main lines of this campaign (message, content, organisational structures and provisional programme of activities) are resumed in Appendix III.

3. New information technologies

The Ministers' Deputies have drawn up, in close consultation with the relevant steering and/or experts committees, a draft Declaration for a European policy on new information technologies (see appendix IV). The draft declaration is submitted to the Committee of Ministers' 104th session for adoption.

 

V.    STRUCTURE AND WORKING METHODS

1.    Structural reform

At their 101st session (6 November 1997) the Ministers decided to set up a Committee of Wise Persons to draw up proposals for the structural reform of the Council of Europe. The committee, chaired by Mario Soares, took up its functions in January 1998 and presented its final report, entitled "Building Greater Europe without dividing lines", to the Committee of Ministers' 103rd session (4 November 1998). The Deputies have examined the wise persons' proposals in an ad hoc working group, whose report is presented to the Committee of Ministers' 104th session in CM(99)64.

2.    Implementation of the Action Plan

In parallel with the Committee of Wise Persons, the Ministers also decided to set up a Follow-Up Committee on the Second Summit, of which this is the final report. The Follow-Up Committee wishes to thank Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom for the voluntary contributions they have made with a view to implementing either certain parts of the Action Plan or the Summit decisions as a whole. It also welcomes the European Union's co-operation in the implementation of the Summit's decisions, via the joint Council of Europe/European Commission programmes, and the partnerships established for certain parts of the action Plan with the relevant intergovernmental or non-governmental organisations.

 

FOLLOW-UP ACTION TO THE FINAL DECLARATION

 

1.    Universal abolition of the death penalty and maintenance of existing moratoria on executions in Europe

Following the Summit's firm and solemn commitment on this subject, significant progress has been made towards achieving the objective set by the Heads of State and Government of a European area free of capital punishment footnote 7 . In the last eighteen months, leaving aside the special case of Chechnya, no executions have taken place in the Council of Europe's 41 member States, which represent practically all the countries of the continent. The year 1998 will therefore be the first in Europe's history with no "legal deaths", pending the eventual legal abolition of the death penalty throughout the continent.

2.    Preventing and combating torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

Following Russia’s and Lithuania’s ratification on 5 May and 26 November 1998 respectively, all member States of the Council of Europe footnote 8 have now ratified the European Convention for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This confirms the Convention’s status as one of the fundamental texts of the Organisation, the ratification of which is to be considered as a sine qua non for new members. The Committee of Ministers has consequently decided to reinforce the human and financial resources allocated to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) ; it has also urged member States which have not yet done so to ratify the two Protocols to the Convention and invited member States to promote awareness, at national and local level, of the CPT’s activities, tasks and powers.

3.    Equal opportunities for men and women

Following the adoption of the "Declaration on equality between women and men as a fundamental criterion of democracy", by the Istanbul Ministerial Conference in November 1997, the Ministers' Deputies adopted, on 7 October 1998, Recommendation No. R (98) 14 to member States on gender mainstreaming.

4.    Fundamental role of institutions of local democracy in preserving stability in Europe

Alongside local self-government, promoting regionalisation is a key element in the CLRAE’s efforts to build democratic stability in member States. The Chamber of Regions has therefore drawn up a draft convention, the European Charter of Regional Self-Government, which has been adopted by the CLRAE, and is currently being examined by the Steering Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR).

The local democracy agencies  footnote 9 ,created on the initiative of the CLRAE, encourage inter-ethnic dialogue, tolerance and the development of civil society. The Congress is continuing its deliberations on setting up a foundation (or association) of LDAs which, with the Council of Europe's agreement and support, would pursue and develop their action.

5.    Supporting democratic development in all the member States

Since the Strasbourg Summit confirmed the importance of the co-operation programmes aimed at helping to consolidate democratic institutions footnote 10 , the Committee of Ministers decided to open up these programmes to all member States and applicant states and to use them to ensure practical follow-up to the conclusions of the various procedures for monitoring compliance with commitments. In this new context, the Committee of Ministers systematically reviews the implementation of the programmes and the extent to which they match the Organisation's political objectives and priorities.

6.     Promoting an area of common legal standards throughout Europe

Since the Second Summit, in addition to the legal instruments already been mentioned, a number of other important conventions footnote 11 have been opened to signature, thereby extending the common legal area – now comprising 173 conventions – which constitutes one of the Council of Europe's principal achievements.

7. The role of sport in promoting social integration

Following the 15th Informal Meeting of Ministers of Sport in Nicosia (Cyprus) on 14-15 May 1998, the Committee of Ministers adopted on 22 April 1999, Recommendation R (99) 9 on the contribution of sport to social cohesion.

8. Understanding between the citizens of the North and the South

In accordance with the message delivered by the Summit, the Committee of Ministers decided to organise, ten years after the "North-South campaign" of 1988-89, a second Council of Europe campaign on global interdependence and solidarity, on the theme "Europe against Poverty and Social Exclusion". The Campaign was officially launched on 10 September 1998 during the Council of Europe Day at the Lisbon Universal Exhibition. It is intended to strengthen public support for European policies based on solidarity in an interdependent world, involve Europe and its citizens in joint discussions and actions on questions of general interest, and encourage educational programmes that develop a sense of "global citizenship". The campaign will continue in principle into the first half of the year 2000.

 

APPENDIX I

 

DRAFT RESOLUTION [(99) 50]

ON THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE

COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

 

The Committee of Ministers,

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is the achievement of greater unity between its Members and that one of the methods by which that aim is to be pursued is the maintenance and further realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms;

Having regard to the decisions taken by the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Council of Europe at their Second Summit (Strasbourg, 10-11 October 1997);

Considering also that the 50th Anniversary of the Council of Europe provides an occasion to enhance further the work undertaken since its creation,

Decides to institute the office of Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights ("the Commissioner") with the following terms of reference:

 

Article 1

1. The Commissioner shall be a non-judicial institution to promote education in, awareness of and respect for human rights, as embodied in the human rights instruments of the Council of Europe.

2. The Commissioner shall respect the competence of, and perform functions other than those fulfilled by, the supervisory bodies set up under the European Convention of Human Rights or under other human rights instruments of the Council of Europe. The Commissioner shall not take up individual complaints.

 

Article 2

The Commissioner shall function independently and impartially.

 

Article 3

The Commissioner shall:

a.

promote education in and awareness of human rights in the member States;

b.

contribute to the promotion of the effective observance and full enjoyment of human rights in the member States;

c.

provide advice and information on the protection of human rights and prevention of human rights violations. When dealing with the public, the Commissioner shall, wherever possible, make use of and co-operate with human rights structures in the member States. Where such structures do not exist, the Commissioner will encourage their establishment;

d.

facilitate the activities of national ombudsmen or similar institutions in the field of human rights;

e.

identify possible shortcomings in the law and practice of member States concerning the compliance with human rights as embodied in the instruments of the Council of Europe, promote the effective implementation of these standards by member States and assist them, with their agreement, in their efforts to remedy such shortcomings;

f.

address, whenever the Commissioner deems it appropriate, a report concerning a specific matter to the Committee of Ministers or to the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers;

g.

respond, in the manner the Commissioner deems appropriate, to requests made by the Committee of Ministers or the Parliamentary Assembly, in the context of their task of ensuring compliance with the human rights standards of the Council of Europe;

h.

submit an annual report to the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly;

i.

co-operate with other international institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights while avoiding unnecessary duplication of activities.

 

Article 4

The Commissioner shall take into account views expressed by the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe concerning the Commissioner's activities.

 

Article 5

1. The Commissioner may act on any information relevant to the Commissioner's functions. This will notably include information addressed to the Commissioner by governments, national parliaments, national ombudsmen or similar institutions in the field of human rights, individuals and organisations.

2. The gathering of information relevant to the Commissioner's functions shall not give rise to any general reporting system for member States.

 

Article 6

1. Member States shall facilitate the independent and effective performance by the Commissioner of his or her functions. In particular, they shall facilitate the Commissioner's contacts, including travel, in the context of the mission of the Commissioner and provide in good time information requested by the Commissioner.

2. The Commissioner shall be entitled, during the exercise of his or her functions, to the privileges and immunities provided for in Article 40 of the Statute of the Council of Europe and in the agreements made thereunder.

 

Article 7

The Commissioner may directly contact governments of member States of the Council of Europe.

 

Article 8

1. The Commissioner may issue recommendations, opinions and reports.

2. The Committee of Ministers may authorise the publication of any recommendation, opinion or report addressed to it.

 

Article 9

1. The Commissioner shall be elected by the Parliamentary Assembly by a majority of votes cast from a list of three candidates drawn up by the Committee of Ministers.

2. Member States may submit candidatures by letter addressed to the Secretary General. Candidates must be nationals of a member State of the Council of Europe.

 

Article 10

The candidates shall be eminent personalities of a high moral character having recognised expertise in the field of human rights, a public record of attachment to the values of the Council of Europe and the personal authority necessary to discharge the mission of the Commissioner effectively. During his or her term of office, the Commissioner shall not engage in any activity which is incompatible with the demands of a full-time office.

 

Article 11

The Commissioner shall be elected for a non-renewable term of office of six years.

 

Article 12

1. An Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights shall be established within the General Secretariat of the Council of Europe.

2. The expenditure on the Commissioner and the Office of the Commissioner shall be borne by the Council of Europe.

 

APPENDIX II

 

DRAFT DECLARATION AND PROGRAMME

ON EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP,

BASED ON THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

OF CITIZENS

 

The Committee of Ministers,

1. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Council of Europe,

2. Recalling the Council of Europe's mission to build a freer, more tolerant and just society based on solidarity, common values and a cultural heritage enriched by its diversity;

3. Reaffirming its attachment to the spiritual and moral values which are the true source of individual freedom, political pluralism and the rule of law, principles which form the basis of all genuine democracy;

4. Underlining the primary role of the European Convention on Human Rights and the other Council of Europe and United Nations fundamental instruments which guarantee to individuals the exercise of their inalienable rights;

5. Having regard to the Final Declaration and Action Plan adopted at the Second Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, which emphasise the need to develop education for democratic citizenship based on the rights and responsibilities of citizens;

6. Insisting on the urgency of strengthening individuals' awareness and understanding of their rights and responsibilities so that they develop a capacity to exercise these rights and respect the rights of others;

7. Stressing the fundamental role of education in promoting the active participation of all individuals in democratic life at all levels: local, regional and national;

8. Recognising the action of the Council of Europe in all areas that have a bearing on fostering responsible citizenship in democratic society;

9. Concerned by the development of violence, xenophobia, racism, aggressive nationalism and religious intolerance, which constitutes a major threat to the reinforcement of peace and democracy both at national and international level;

10. Conscious of the responsibilities towards present and future generations to safeguard a natural and man-made healthy and high quality environment,

11. DECLARES that EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP BASED ON THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF CITIZENS:

i. constitutes a lifelong learning experience and a participative process developed in various contexts: in the family, in educational institutions, in the workplace, through professional, political and non-governmental organisations, in local communities and through leisure and cultural activities and the media, as well as through activities for the protection and improvement of the natural and man-made environment;

ii. equips men and women to play an active part in public life and to shape in a responsible way their own destiny and that of their society;

iii. aims to instil a culture of human rights which will ensure full respect for those rights and understanding of responsibilities that flow from them;

iv. prepares people to live in a multicultural society and to deal with difference knowledgeably, sensibly, tolerantly and morally;

v. strengthens social cohesion, mutual understanding and solidarity;

vi. must be inclusive of all age groups and sectors of society;

12. EMPHASISES the importance of the current activities on education for democratic citizenship carried out as part of the Strasbourg Summit Action Plan;

13. CONSIDERS that further action is necessary to implement education for democratic citizenship (on a sustainable basis) at all levels and in all areas;

14. CALLS on member States to:

- promote democratic citizenship based on the maintenance and further realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms;

- make education for democratic citizenship based on the rights and responsibilities of citizens an essential component of all educational, training, cultural and youth policies and practices;

15. DECIDES to:

- give high priority to education for democratic citizenship based on citizens' rights and responsibilities in the Council of Europe work programme;

- adopt the Programme which is appended to this Declaration and agree to its co-ordinated implementation by the Council of Europe sectors concerned;

- adopt guidelines and recommendations to member States before the end of the year 2000 in the light of proposals made by relevant Conferences of Specialised Ministers.

 

PROGRAMME

ON EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP

BASED ON THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF CITIZENS

 

1. INTRODUCTION

The Heads of State and Government of the member States of the Council of Europe, meeting in Strasbourg for their Second Summit, expressed their "desire to develop education for democratic citizenship based on the rights and responsibilities of citizens, and the participation of young people in civil society" (Final Declaration).

 

2. OBJECTIVES

The Programme aims to implement the Final Declaration by providing a European framework for the strengthening of education for democratic citizenship at all levels. Based on its past and current activities, the Council of Europe, in the years to come, should step up its efforts to:

2.1 identify and develop novel and effective strategies, means and methods for the strengthening of the democratic fabric of society;

2.2 explore major issues regarding education for democratic citizenship based on citizens' rights and responsibilities;

2.3 exchange and disseminate knowledge, experience and good practice across Europe;

2.4 provide assistance for reforms of education and other relevant policies;

2.5 develop a platform for networking and partnerships;

2.6 foster public awareness of individuals' rights and understanding of their responsibilities.

 

3. KEY ISSUES

The following specific issues will be given attention within the Programme:

3.1 the evolving concept of democratic citizenship, in its political, legal, cultural and social dimensions;

3.2 human rights, including their social dimension and each person's obligation to respect the rights of others;

3.3 the relationships between rights and responsibilities as well as common responsibilities in combating social exclusion, marginalisation, civic apathy, intolerance and violence;

3.4 the core competencies for democratic citizenship based on citizens' rights and responsibilities;

3.5 the development of active citizenship through different innovative methods of active and participative learning in a lifelong learning perspective;

3.6 learning democracy in school and university life, including participation in decision-making and the associated structures of pupils, students and teachers;

3.7 partnerships between educational institutions, local communities, non-governmental organisations, and political authorities;

3.8 the nature of and links between the various approaches to Education for democratic citizenship based on citizens' rights and responsibilities such as human rights education, civic education, intercultural education, history teaching, democratic leadership training, conflict resolution and confidence building;

3.9 the role of the media and new information technologies in Education for democratic citizenship based on citizen's rights and responsibilities;

3.10 changing patterns of work and their implications for processes of socialisation;

3.11 forms of voluntary work and participation in civil society, particularly at local level;

3.12 young peoples' lifestyles and the different forms of their involvement in society.

 

4. ACTIVITIES

The main activities of the programme will be:

4.1 Policy-making

4.1.1 Draw up guidelines and recommendations on education for democratic citizenship based on citizens' rights and responsibilities to be presented to the forthcoming Conference of European Ministers of Education (Cracow, 2000) as well as to other appropriate ministerial conferences;

4.1.2 Provide assistance in the establishment of national plans for human rights education as part of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education;

4.1.3 Encourage the establishment of national plans for education for democratic citizenship based on citizens' rights and responsibilities in member States;

4.1.4 Provide assistance to member States in the reforms of the educational and training systems (curriculum and textbook development, teacher training), so as to include education for democratic citizenship based on citizens' rights and responsibilities in programmes at all levels;

4.1.5 Examine the setting up of instruments for the recognition of voluntary involvement in society and of informal learning periods as a means of promoting education for democratic citizenship based on citizens' rights and responsibilities.

4.2 Research and data collection

4.2.1 Explore the above-mentioned key issues in seminars, colloquies and through action research;

4.2.2 Survey, in the different countries, developments in education for democratic citizenship at national level in close co-operation with non-governmental organisations and civil society at large;

4.2.3 Provide expertise and information on available resources and projects in and outside the Council of Europe;

4.2.4 Collect and evaluate examples of good practice.

4.3 Training and awareness-raising

4.3.1 Produce training and educational tools in particular using audio-visual means and new technologies;

4.3.2 Develop a practitioners' forum through the Internet;

4.3.3 Increase and strengthen the organisation of and support for national, regional and local information and training workshops and seminars;

4.3.4 Relate existing Council of Europe training programmes to the above-mentioned key issues;

4.3.5 Prepare practical, action-oriented awareness-raising materials;

4.3.6 Make plans for the setting up of a European campaign for education for democratic citizenship based on citizens' rights and responsibilities.

 

5. WORKING METHODS

The activities should:

5.1 be both exploratory and operational, focusing on innovation, training and awareness-raising, and the transfer of knowledge and know-how;

5.2 be carried out through intersectorial and multidisciplinary co-ordination within the Council of Europe and in member States;

5.3 seek close co-operation and joint projects with other international organisations active in democratic citizenship education, such as the European Union, the United Nations, Unesco and the OSCE as well as with non-governmental organisations and the private sector;

5.4 rely on an interacting network of "focal points" to be established in member States;

5.5 develop, whenever possible, an action-research process in member States so as to ensure the participation of the people concerned as well as the involvement of grassroots in the use of research results.

 

APPENDIX III

EUROPE, A COMMON HERITAGE

 

The Second Summit of Heads of State and Government decided, as part of the Action Plan which it adopted, to launch a European campaign on the cultural heritage, under the title « Europe, a common heritage ».

The campaign will be launched in September 1999 – at an official ceremony – and will end in September 2000. The Republic of Slovenia has formally offered to host a session of the European Conference of Ministers responsible for the Cultural Heritage at the end of the campaign, in autumn 2000.

Invitations to participate in the campaign have been sent to the 47 States party to the European Cultural Convention, states with observer status under this convention, the European Union, and also international governmental and non-governmental organisations active in the field of cultural and natural heritage. Partnerships with industry and the financial sector are also being canvassed.

A joint Council of Europe/European Union programme will be organised as part of the campaign.

 

CAMPAIGN MESSAGE

The Council of Europe Summits, held in Vienna in 1993 and Strasbourg in 1997, both highlighted the importance of the role which awareness of a shared cultural heritage, enriched by its diversity, would play in the building of a vast area of democratic security in Europe.

This heritage, which comprises not only material assets, but also intellectual, ethical and spiritual values, should not become a source of self-assertion and conflict, but should help communities and individuals to discover and accept one another.

Projects supported under the "Europe, a common heritage" campaign should, by protecting the heritage, help to generate a sense of shared commitment to the values championed by the Council of Europe, and encourage young people to take part in cultural exchanges and discover other communities and countries.

By its very nature, the European Cultural Routes Programme provides an approach and serves as a particularly useful tool in conveying the campaign’s message and in promoting intercultural exchanges.

In this context, special emphasis will be placed on know-how and skills which make up the living facet of our heritage and ensure it is transmitted to future generations.

 

CAMPAIGN CONTENT

Campaign activities will fall into three main groups:

-    International events so far included on the programme:

September 1999

: official launching of the campaign

4 September 1999

 : Glasgow (United Kingdom) launching of the European Heritage Days

14-17 October 1999

 : Nice (France), international conference to launch the "Tourism Heritage" project

November 1999

 : Santander (Spain) international festival of documentary films on cultural and natural heritage

February-March 2000 :

Tbilissi (Georgia) conference on "Democratic Development, Market Economy and Cultural Heritage Protection"

May 2000

 : Spain, conference "Nature, a common European Heritage"

June 2000

 :  Edinburgh (United Kingdom) conference on "Tourism and cultural heritage"

September 2000

 : Bern (Switzerland) European Heritage Days

September 2000

 : Oslo (Norway), international congress on the voluntary sector in the field of heritage

Autumn 2000

 : Slovenia, Conference of European Ministers responsible for the Cultural Heritage.

-    Transnational projects, i.e.:

Major religious sites as a factor for intercultural dialogue

Ancient universities in Europe

Sibiu, European crossroads

Decorative arts manufactures in Europe (in partnership with the European Union)

Tourism and travel heritage

Capitals awaiting discovery

Little-known capitals

Panorama of the European musical heritage (in partnership with the European Union)

Development of the European Cultural Routes programme will be a particularly important part of the campaign.

-    local and regional projects, proposed by states and regions

, through the National Committees or similar working structures.

A number of activities conducted under the Council of Europe’s cultural heritage and environment programme will connect with the campaign, e.g. the European Heritage Days and Classes.

A project for a European Convention on landscape, proposed – with a view to the campaign – by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, is being studied.

 

ORGANISATION

The campaign is being organised by the Council of Europe, under Committee of Ministers auspices and in co-operation with the Cultural Heritage Committee, the Committee for the activities of the Council of Europe in the field of biological and landscape diversity and the Naturopa Centre. The Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe are also involved. During the preparatory stage, an International Guiding and Co-ordinating Group (GIOC) has acted as co-ordinator.

National committees or similar working structures are being set up in every state, and will take over co-ordination in spring 1999.

A sponsorship committee, with members drawn from the worlds of culture, politics, finance and industry, will be set up.

 

COMMUNICATION STRATEGY

An appropriate communication strategy is being set up to maximise the campaign’s impact.

 

APPENDIX IV

 

DRAFT DECLARATION OF THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

ON A EUROPEAN POLICY

FOR NEW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES

 

The Committee of Ministers,

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Council of Europe;

In response to the decision of the Council of Europe's Second Summit to develop a European policy for the application of new information technologies with a view to ensuring respect for human rights, promoting cultural diversity, fostering freedom of expression and information and maximising the educational and cultural potential of these technologies;

Taking into consideration all relevant international texts in this field, including those which have come into being since the Second Summit, notably the political texts adopted in Thessalonika by the 5th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy (December 1997) and Resolution 53/70 adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (December 1998);

Conscious of the profound changes brought about by the digitalisation, convergence and continuing globalisation of information networks;

Welcoming the opportunities offered by the new information technologies to promote freedom of expression and information, political pluralism and cultural diversity, and to contribute to a more democratic and sustainable information society;

Recognising the potential of new information technologies to improve openness, transparency and efficiency at all levels - national, regional and local - of the governance, administration and judicial systems of member States and hence to consolidate democratic stability;

Aware also of the potential risks involved in the use of these technologies for both individuals and democratic society;

Convinced that a clear regulatory framework will help to promote those opportunities and avoid those risks;

Acknowledging the important role of the private sector in the creation, development and use of the new information technologies and wishing to foster partnership between the public and private sectors to maximise the benefit of these technologies to their societies;

Convinced that a genuinely democratic information society based on the core values of the Council of Europe can be achieved through a policy framework encouraging Access and Participation, Competence and Empowerment, Creativity, Diversity and ensuring Protection;

Urges the governments of member States, acting, where appropriate, with public and private partners,

 

(i) With respect to Access to and Participation in new information technologies

- to promote the broadest possible access for all to the new information and communication services, for example through the development of widespread access points in public places;

- to enable all individuals to play a more active role in public life, at national, regional and local levels, by using the new information technologies to:

* provide easy access to information about and direct links to local, regional and national administrative and judicial services;

* make available official texts of local, regional and national laws and regulations, of international agreements and of the jurisprudence of national and international jurisdictions;

- to encourage the free flow of information, opinions and ideas through the use of the new information technologies;

- to encourage the development, production and distribution of cultural and educational material and its widespread dissemination;

- to encourage effective international co-operation to deliver the benefits of improved access and increased transparency;

-

to contribute towards equal possibilities in the use of new technologies for all European countries.

(ii) With respect to Competence and Empowerment with regard to new information technologies

- to promote broad understanding in all sectors of society of the new information technologies and their potential;

-     to help individuals to develop competence in the use of new information technologies:

* through training at all levels of the education system, formal and informal, and throughout life,

* through the definition of new professional profiles and training curricula;

- thereby to enable individuals to make active, critical and discerning use of these technologies;

-       to promote better and wider use of the new information technologies in teaching and learning, paying special attention to gender equality issues;

- to encourage use of information networks in the education field to promote mutual understanding between peoples, both on individual and institutional levels.

(iii) With respect to Creativity of individuals and of cultural industries

- to encourage the use of the new information technologies as a form of artistic and literary expression and as a means of forming creative partnerships, in particular between art, science and industry;

- to stimulate the innate creativity of each individual through media literacy and the development of educational programmes using new information technologies;

- to work, in the context of convergence and continuing globalisation of information networks, with the cultural industries to help ensure that their development enhances creativity;

- to encourage the European cultural industries to work together to increase their creativity and so provide a wide variety, while ensuring the quality of products and services in the information networks.

 

(iv) With respect to Diversity of content and language

- to encourage the development of a wide range of communication and information networks, as well as the diversity of content and language, so as to foster political pluralism, cultural diversity and sustainable development ;

- to promote the full use by all, including minorities, of the opportunities for exchange of opinion and self-expression offered by the new information technologies;

- to acknowledge the usefulness of these technologies in enabling all European countries and regions to express their cultural identities;

- to encourage the provision of cultural, educational and other products and services in an appropriate variety of languages and to promote the greatest possible diversity of these products and services;

- to ensure, as far as possible, that information systems, in the administrative and legal fields, offer material which takes account of regional and linguistic criteria and which meets the specific needs of concerned minorities.

(v) With respect to Protection of rights and freedoms

- to ensure respect for human rights and human dignity, notably freedom of expression, as well as the protection of minors, the protection of privacy and personal data, and the protection of the individual against all forms of racial discrimination in the use and development of new information technologies, through regulation and self-regulation, and through the development of technical standards and systems, codes of conduct and other measures;

- to adopt national and international measures for the effective investigation and punishment of information technology crimes and to combat the existence of safe havens for perpetrators of such crimes;

- to ensure the effective protection of the rights holders whose works are disseminated on the new information and communication services;

- to encourage the establishment of international standards and safeguards essential for the guarantee of authenticity of electronically transmitted documents and legally binding agreements;

- to enhance this framework of protection, including the development of codes of conduct embodying ethical principles for the use of the new information technologies.


1    Since the Summit, 106 new projects (60 of which are directly funded by the special CBM account) have been approved as confidence building measures, thus making a total of more than 350 approved projects, since the start of the programme in 1994.

2

The campaign, launched in May 1997, has the same goals as were set by the Summit: the fullest possible accession of member States to these treaties. In the last two years, 27 signatures and 13 ratifications of the Charter, of its Protocols or of the revised Social Charter have been obtained. The situation is now as follows: 38 member States have signed the Charter or the revised Charter, of which 22 have ratified the Charter and 2 have ratified the Social Charter.

3   The Steering Committee on Social Security (CDSS), the Steering Committee for Employment and Labour (CDEM) and the Steering Committee on Social Policy (CDPS).

4 Croatia, "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Hungary, Estonia, Moldova, Poland, Latvia, and Slovakia, Czech Republic.

5

The GRECO entered into force on 1st May 1999. It brings together 17 member States of the Council of Europe associated in the fight against corruption.

6

   The CDCC project on "education for democratic citizenship", the "young democratic leadership programme", human rights education, information and awareness raising activities, the Youth Directorate's training activities and the activities of the CLRAE.

7

Since the Summit, the number of Council of Europe member states that have signed Protocol no 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the abolition of the death penalty has risen from 32 to 36 (of whom 30 have ratified it).

8

  With the exception of the most recent one, Georgia.

9

    Local democracy agencies have been established in Subotica (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), Maribor (Slovenia), Brtonigla-Verteneglio, Sizak and Osijek (Croatia), Zavidovici, Mostar, Tuzla and Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Ohrid ("the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia").

10

    Activities for the development and consolidation of democratic stability (ADACS).

11

European Convention on Nationality of 6 November 1997, additional Protocol to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons of 18 December 1997, Protocol no. 2 to the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities, concerning inter-territorial co-operation of 5 May 1998, Convention on the Protection of the Environment through Criminal Law of 4 November 1998.

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