Ministers’ Deputies

CM Documents

CM/AS(2013)7 30 September 2013



Communication on the activities of the Committee of Ministers

Report by the Chair of the Committee of Ministers to the Parliamentary Assembly
(June - September 2013)



Table of Content

Introduction
1. Human rights
a. European Convention on Human Rights
b. Execution of judgments
c. Other questions concerning human rights
2. Rule of law and judicial co-operation
3. Social cohesion
4. Education, culture, youth and sport
6. Specific co-operation
7. Organisational development and reform, programme and budget
8. Co-operation with other organisations and external relations

Introduction

1. This is the second and final report presented by the Armenian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers to the Parliamentary Assembly. Armenia is pleased that during its term of office, and with the contribution of the Assembly, major initiatives have been carried out to reinforce the Council of Europe’s action. For example, the adoption and opening for signature first of Protocol No. 15 to the European Convention on Human Rights at the last session of the Assembly and subsequently of Protocol No. 16 at the present session, are particularly worth underlining. Armenia firmly believes that the Parliamentary Assembly has a leading role to play alongside the Committee of Ministers in consolidating the acquis of the Organisation, in particular by promoting the rapid ratification of these two protocols.

1. Human rights

a. European Convention on Human Rights

2. On 10 July, the Committee of Ministers took note of the Parliamentary Assembly’s opinion on draft Protocol No. 16 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as well as of the opinion of the European Court of Human Rights. It adopted the Protocol and agreed to open it for signature in Strasbourg on 2 October 2013.

3. At its first meeting in September, the Committee of Ministers held an exchange of views with the President of the European Court of Human Rights, Mr Dean Spielmann. During this exchange, the situation of the Court was discussed in the light of the latest statistical information on its workload and output.

4. At the same meeting, the Committee took note of an interim report of the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) on the negotiations on the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights.

5. In the context of the follow-up to the Brighton Declaration, the Committee of Ministers adopted a “Toolkit” to inform public officials about the State’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and a Guide to Good Practice in respect of Domestic Remedies. It also took decisions on the translation and dissemination of these documents.

6. The Committee of Ministers also took note of a CDDH report containing conclusions and possible proposals for action on ways to resolve the large numbers of applications arising from systemic issues identified by the Court. It invited the Court and member States to consider the various proposals addressed to them in the report and to inform the Committee of Ministers of their response by 15 October 2014. The Committee would thereafter decide to consider whether further action would be required on this subject by the end of October 2015.

b. Execution of judgments

7. With regard to the supervision of the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, the Ministers' Deputies held their 1179th meeting (DH) in September 2013. On this occasion, they decided to close the examination of 51 decisions and judgments of the Court (780 cases closed since the beginning of the year). All the decisions adopted during the meeting are available at the following link:

https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=CM/Del/Dec%282013%291179&Language=lanFrench&Ver=immediat&Site=CM&BackColorInternet=DBDCF2&BackColorIntranet=FDC864&BackColorLogged=FDC864

c. Other questions concerning human rights

8. In the media field, in July, the Committee of Ministers adopted a number of decisions in relation to a report by the Secretary General on the implementation of the Committee’s Declaration on measures to promote the respect of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It welcomed the wide range of measures taken by the Secretary General for improved collection and sharing of information and enhanced co-ordination between the secretariats of the different Council of Europe bodies and institutions to promote respect of Article 10 of the Convention. The Committee further agreed that this work was to be given continued priority, in particular in relation to the rights of Internet users and Internet freedom and governance, protection of journalism and safety of journalists and combating hate speech.

9. In this context, it agreed on the usefulness of addressing an open invitation to interested media freedom organisations to report serious violations of media freedom to the relevant Council of Europe bodies via the Secretariat. It also agreed to reflect on the modalities for the creation of an Internet based platform aimed at facilitating the compilation, processing and dissemination of the information collected to the above-mentioned bodies and to the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.

10. In July, the Committee of Ministers adopted a reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2011 (2013) on “Trafficking of migrant workers for forced labour”.

11. In September, the Committee of Ministers took note of a CDDH study on the feasibility and added value of standard-setting or other work in the field of human rights in culturally diverse societies. It agreed to consider its follow-up in the context of the adoption of the terms of reference for the CDDH for the 2014-2015 biennium. On the same occasion, the Committee encouraged the organisation of assistance and capacity-building activities to facilitate the implementation by member States of relevant instruments and recommendations in the field of human rights in culturally diverse societies.

12. The Committee of Ministers also took note of a CDDH study on possible future priority areas for development and promotion of human rights in the Council of Europe and instructed the CDDH to study, by 31 December 2014, the feasibility of new activities, as well as of the revision of existing instruments, with regard to the impact of the economic crisis on human rights in Europe, and to formulate on this basis specific proposals.

13. On 17 September, the Committee of Ministers held a thematic debate on “The role of the Council of Europe in addressing the rise of extremisms in evolving societies”. These questions are considered to be particularly important by the Armenian Chairmanship, one of whose priorities is the fight against racism and xenophobia in Europe. In this context, Armenia will host a high-level conference on combating racism and xenophobia in Europe on 21-22 October.

14. On 18 September, the Committee of Ministers adopted a Declaration deploring the recent executions in Japan and in the United States of America, observer States to the Council of Europe.

2. Rule of law and judicial co-operation

15. In July, the Committee of Ministers decided to transmit the draft Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs and its Explanatory Report to the Parliamentary Assembly. It invited the Assembly to give its opinion on the draft Convention.

16. In September, the Committee of Ministers took note of the “Guidelines on the creation of judicial maps to support access to justice within a quality judicial system” elaborated by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ). It invited member States to ensure a wide dissemination of the Guidelines among the relevant political and judicial authorities, including through their translation into non-official languages of the Council of Europe. At the same meeting, the Committee agreed that states having observer status with the CEPEJ could participate in the CEPEJ cycle for evaluating judicial systems upon request, according to specific modalities to be decided by the CEPEJ and subject to a voluntary contribution of 5.000 euros per biennial cycle.

3. Social cohesion

17. At their meeting on 10 July, the Deputies, in their composition restricted to members of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on the Co-operation Group to combat drug abuse and illicit trafficking in drugs (the Pompidou Group)1, agreed to invite Israel to accede to this Enlarged Partial Agreement.

4. Education, culture, youth and sport

18. The Committee of Ministers has taken a number of decisions in the sphere of education, culture and sport.

19. It has examined the reports of the Secretary General on the 10th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers of Culture2 and the 24th Council of Europe Standing Conference of Ministers of Education3, held in April 2013, in Moscow and Helsinki respectively, and taken note of the Final Declarations adopted by these conferences. The Committee of Ministers agreed to bring these texts to the Parliamentary Assembly’s attention.

20. Negotiations on a possible Council of Europe Convention against manipulation of sports results and notably match-fixing are continuing and the Committee of Ministers has authorised Australia to take part in this process which is led by the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS).

21. Furthermore, on 2 and 3 September 2013, the Armenian Chairmanship hosted the 2013 Exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue in Yerevan, which focused on the theme “Freedom of religion in today’s world : challenges and guarantees”. The event was attended by representatives of religious communities and non-religious convictions, mainstream media professionals as well as experts, academics and delegates from international organisations and NGOs. The Exchange was opened by the Chair of the Committee of Ministers, Edward Nalbandian. The conclusions will soon be considered by the Committee of Ministers.

22. Finally, the Armenian Chairmanship is currently working on the organisation, in partnership with the European Union and the Council of Europe youth sector, of a youth policy symposium, which will be held in Yerevan on 13 and 14 November. The theme will be the role of activities for young people in the field of education in democratic citizenship and participation. It will be attended by around sixty key players from various countries in the region with expertise in the youth sector. The goal of the symposium will be to foster understanding and to demonstrate, illustrate and enhance the role of activities for and with young people in the field of education in democratic citizenship and participation.

5. Democracy

23. The Rapporteur Group on Democracy (GR-DEM) held at the beginning of September a discussion on the state of progress of preparations for the World Forum for Democracy, which will take place in Strasbourg from 27 to 29 November. The Group will continue to follow the preparations for the Forum.

24. In the field of local democracy, the Deputies held an exchange of views with the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in September. Furthermore, they examined the annual activity report of the Centre of Expertise on Local Government Reform for 2012. They welcomed the activities implemented by the Centre and encouraged member States to make use of its programmes and to contribute to their financing. They also agreed to transmit the annual report of the Centre to the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. Finally, the Deputies approved the Appendix to Protocol No. 3 to the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities concerning euroregional co-operation groupings (ECGs). It is recalled that the Protocol stipulates that in order to facilitate implementation, an appendix will provide the more detailed, but optional, provisions for the establishment and operation of ECGs.

6. Specific co-operation

25. On 3 July 2013, echoing the response it had made to Recommendation 2006 (2013) of the Parliamentary Assembly on “The situation in Kosovo4 and the role of the Council of Europe”, the Committee of Ministers took note of a report on the Council of Europe's co-operation activities in Kosovo4 and instructed the Secretariat to continue implementing these activities.

26. With regard to co-operation with the Russian Federation, the Committee of Ministers approved a new plan of activities for the Chechen Republic and took note of the results of the 2012 programme. In accordance with this new plan of activities, which was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 3 July 2013, co-operation activities will be conducted on the territory of the Chechen Republic.

27. Lastly, the Committee of Ministers has acceded to the request by Belarus for observer status with the Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law (CAHDI) on the understanding that the matter will be followed in the light of developments in Belarus with respect to Council of Europe values. The Committee has also pointed out that this decision should not be construed as an acknowledgement by the Committee of Ministers that the situation concerning respect for the principles of the rule of law in Belarus is satisfactory.

7. Organisational development and reform, programme and budget

28. On 31 August 2013, the Secretary General presented the draft Programme and Budget for 2014-2015. In accordance with the Deputies’ decision of 7 May 2013, a zero nominal growth (i.e. budget not adjusted to take account of inflation) was applied to this draft Programme and Budget. The Rapporteur Group on the Programme, Budget and Administration (GR-PBA) will be examining the draft Programme and Budget 2014-2015 over the next few weeks, with a view to its adoption by the Deputies at their 1185th (Budget) meeting on 19-21 November 2013.

29. Within the framework of the draft Programme and Budget, the Secretary General submitted the draft terms of reference of the intergovernmental committees for 2014-2015 for consideration by the relevant Rapporteur Groups. The adoption of the terms of reference by the Deputies is foreseen at the same meeting in November.

30. With regard to the external presence of the Council of Europe in the field, the Deputies decided that the Council of Europe offices and liaison offices established since 1 January 2010 under Resolution CM/Res(2010)5 will operate in accordance with the terms of reference defined in this same resolution until 31 December 2015. In December 2015, the Deputies will decide on the possible prolongation with respect to each office.

8. Co-operation with other organisations and external relations

31. An exchange of views between the Ministers’ Deputies and Mr Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the OSCE, on co-operation with the OSCE will be held on 9 October. Moreover, the state of co-operation between the two organisations in combating terrorism and preventing trafficking in human beings is to be reviewed in late October by the Council of Europe-OSCE co-ordination group.

32. With regard to the Council of Europe policy towards the neighbouring regions, on 10 July, the Deputies took note of interim reports on the implementation of co-operation priorities concerning Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan. They also called on the member States to consider the possibility of supplementing the financing of these priorities through voluntary contributions. They also decided to set up Council of Europe offices in Rabat and Tunis. The Rapporteur Group on External Relations (GR-EXT) is still considering the question of introducing a new status for non-member states of the Council of Europe.

1 Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Turkey.

2 CM(2013)77

3 CM(2013)78

4 “All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo”



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