1048th meeting – 11-12 February 2009

Appendix 6
(Item 4.4c)

Terms of reference of the Committee of Experts for the development of human rights (DH-DEV)

Fact sheet

Name of Committee:

Committee of Experts for the development of human rights (DH-DEV)

Compliance with Resolution Res(2005)47:

YES

Programme of Activities: project(s)

2008/DGHL/1408 “Coherence and synergies in the development of human rights law and policy of different fora (UN, EU, OSCE)”
2008/DGHL/1409 “Substantive legal analysis of human rights issues and input in the development of Council of Europe policies on such issues”

Project relevance:

The Action Plan of the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Warsaw, 16-17 May 2005, CM(2005)80 final, 17 May 2005), notably chapters I.2 “Protecting and promoting human rights through the other Council of Europe institutions and mechanisms” and III.6 “Fostering intercultural dialogue”.

The Statute of the Council of Europe (1949, ETS No. 001) – Contribution to core values: protection and promotion of human rights, rule of law and democratic pluralist system.

The source of political justification and framework of the current work of the DH-DEV stem also from the political texts adopted at the European Ministerial Conference on Human Rights (Rome, 3-4 November 2000): Declaration “The European Convention on Human Rights at 50: what future for the protection of human rights in Europe?”; Resolution II “Respect for human rights, a key factor for democratic stability and cohesion in Europe: current issues”.

Project added value:

The Council of Europe is the most suitable European body to achieve intergovernmental co-operation work in the field of human rights. Under the authority of the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH), the work of the DH-DEV contributes to the elaboration, promotion and implementation of Council of Europe standards in the field of human rights, in full compliance with the core values of the Organisation; for instance, Protocols No. 12 (general prohibition of discrimination) and No. 13 (abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances) to the ECHR.

Having particular regard to the evolving case law of the European Court of Human Rights and emerging new challenges and issues, the DH-DEV plays a key role in examining these issues (for example: recently published manual on human rights and the environment; examination underway of questions related to the protection of human rights in a multicultural society, in particular problems posed by hate speech and the wearing of religious symbols in public areas).

Work carried out by the DH-DEV lends itself to partnerships with other international organisations, governmental or otherwise, which are represented at its meetings. It pays particular attention to avoiding any duplication and providing contributions from its own specific “human rights” perspective with particular reference to standards coming from the case law of the Court (see also Project 2008/DGHL/1408 mentioned above).

Financial information:

The DH-DEV (47 members + president) meets once or twice a year, depending on the need of its agenda and other priorities of the CDDH.

The maximum yearly cost is about €121 000 = €90 000 (experts’ costs) + €20 000 (interpretation costs) + €4 000 (translation costs) + €4 000 (production of documents) + €3 000 (publication costs).

Minimum yearly cost (one meeting): about €61 000.

Terms of reference of the Committee of Experts for the development of human rights (DH-DEV)

1.

Name of Committee:

Committee of Experts for the development of human rights (DH-DEV)

2.

Type of Committee:

Committee of Experts

3.

Source of terms of reference:

Committee of Ministers on the proposal of the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH)

4.

Terms of reference:

 

Having regard to:

-

the Resolution Res(2005)47 on committees and subordinate bodies, their terms of reference and working methods;

-

the Declaration and the Action Plan adopted at the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe member states (Warsaw, 16-17 May 2005, CM(2005)80 final, 17 May 2005), in particular chapters I.2 “Protecting and promoting human rights through the other Council of Europe institutions and mechanisms” and III.6 “Fostering intercultural dialogue”;

-

the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950, ETS No. 005) and the European Social Charter revised (1996, ETS No. 163).

 

Under the authority of the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) and in relation to Projects 2008/DGHL/1408 “Coherence and synergies in the development of human rights law and policy of different fora (UN, EU, OSCE)” and 2008/DGHL/1409 “Substantive legal analysis of human rights issues and input in the development of Council of Europe policies on such issues” of the Programme of Activities, the Committee is instructed to:

i.

contribute to the strengthening, extension and promotion of the rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights through the preparation of appropriate instruments (e.g. conventions, protocols, recommendations, declarations or guidelines) or documents (e.g. reports or surveys);

ii.

carry out any other activity which the CDDH might submit to it in the execution of its own terms of reference.

5.

Composition of the Committee:

5.A.

Members

Governments of member states are entitled to appoint representatives with the relevant qualifications in human rights law and policy.

The Council of Europe budget will bear the travel and subsistence expenses of one representative from each member state (two in the case of the state whose expert has been elected chairperson).

5.B.

Participants

i.

The Parliamentary Assembly may send (a) representative(s) to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote and at the expense of its administrative budget.

ii.

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights may send (a) representative(s) to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote and at the expense of its administrative budget.

iii.

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) may send (a) representative(s) to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote and at the expense of its administrative budget.

iv.

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe may send (a) representative(s) to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote and at the expense of the body that they represent.

5.C.

Other participants

i.

The European Commission and the Council of the European Union may send (a) representative(s) to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

ii.

States with observer status of the Council of Europe (Canada, Holy See, Japan, Mexico, United States of America) may send (a) representative(s) to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

iii.

The following intergovernmental organisations may send (a) representative(s) to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses:

- the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) / the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR);
- the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

5.D.

Observers

The following non member state:

- Belarus;

and the following non-governmental organisations:

- Amnesty International;
- International Commission of Jurists (CIJ);
- International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH);
- European Roma and Travellers Forum;
- European Group of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights;

may send (a) representative(s) to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

6.

Working methods and structures:

i.

Within the limits of available budgetary appropriations and to expedite the progress of its work, the Committee may entrust specific tasks to ad hoc advisory groups (e.g. groups of specialists, of limited composition, not necessarily drawn from the parent committee) and may, where necessary, call on external experts or consultants.

ii.

Depending on its agenda and within the limits of available budgetary appropriations, the Committee may invite to its meetings or organise hearings with representatives of NGOs and of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (NHRIs), as well as any other third party in a position to contribute to its work.

7.

Duration:

 

These terms of reference will expire on 31 December 2009.



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