Ministers' Deputies
    Notes on the Agenda

    CM/Notes/835/4.3 3 avril 2003
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    835 Meeting, 8 April 2003
    4 Human Rights


    4.3 Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities -

    Renewal of authorisations granted to the Advisory Committee for the first monitoring cycle

    Reference documents
    CM/Del/Dec(2003)832/4.1, 833/4.3 and GR-H(2003)7

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    Action

    To consider, with a view to their adoption, the attached draft decisions extending the authorisations given by the Deputies with regard to the gathering of information and holding of meetings with non-governmental bodies.

    1. The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will soon begin the second cycle of the monitoring procedure. For the first States Parties concerned, this process will begin in February 2004. At its 15th plenary meeting, held in Strasbourg from 9 to 13 September 2002, the Advisory Committee decided to ask the Ministers' Deputies to renew a number of authorisations that it had been granted in the context of the first monitoring cycle in order to carry out its task. On this occasion, it also considered the possibility of extending them to all future monitoring cycles.

    2. The Secretariat notes that the Advisory Committee's working methods are set out in Resolution 97 (10) and the Rules of Procedure adopted by the Advisory Committee, and in a series of other specific decisions taken by the Ministers' Deputies. These working methods include the possibility for the Advisory Committee to request information from non-governmental sources (see the decision taken by the Deputies at their 671st meeting on 19-20 May 1999, item 4.2 b) and to hold meetings with non-governmental bodies in the context of visits carried out at the invitation of the States Parties concerned (see the decision taken by the Deputies at their 708th meeting on 3 May 2000, item 4.1).
    3. These means are considered essential in order to enable the Advisory Committee to prepare high-quality opinions that take account of all the information available. The regular exchanges of views held between the Delegations and representatives of the Advisory Committee during GR-H meetings have indicated that the working methods in question have, to date, given satisfaction.

    4. The Rapporteur Group on Human Rights (GR-H) has examined these questions at its meetings on 16 January and 4 February 2003. At the latter meeting, the GR-H recommended that these authorisations be renewed, in a general manner, for all subsequent monitoring cycles, a possibility that in fact was already mentioned in the decision taken by the Deputies at their 708th meeting.
    5. With regard to meetings between the Advisory Committee and non-governmental bodies or independent institutions, it was also proposed that this possibility no longer be limited to visits carried out at the invitation of the States Parties. The GR-H proposed that the Deputies allow for such a possibility as a general rule, which would, for example, enable such meetings to be held in Strasbourg, in particular in the context of the Advisory Committee's plenary meetings, provided that the authorities of the states parties concerned were duly informed in advance of such meetings.
    6. The Secretariat was instructed to modify the draft decisions in the light of the debate held during the 832nd meeting of the Deputies (19 March 2003, item 4.1)

    7. At the 833rd meeting (26 March 2003), following a debate after which a delegation circulated a proposal for amendments (see Appendix to the present Notes), it was agreed to resume consideration of this item at the present meeting.

    Financing assured: YES

    DRAFT DECISIONS

    835th meeting – 8 April 2003

    Item 4.3

    Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities -
    Renewal of authorisations granted to the Advisory Committee for the first monitoring cycle
    (CM/Del/Dec(2003)832/4.1, 833/4.3 and GR-H(2003)7)

    Decisions

    The Deputies

    1. took note of the Advisory Committee's intention, as from the second reporting cycle and for subsequent cycles, to seek where appropriate information from international organisations, ombudsmen and national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights as well as from representatives of civil society and non-governmental organisations;

    2. authorised the Advisory Committee to hold meetings with non-governmental bodies and independent institutions as from the second reporting cycle and for subsequent cycles, with the understanding that outside the context of country-visits the Advisory Committee will notify the State Parties concerned of its intention to do so before the holding of such meetings, that such meetings should in principle be held in Strasbourg on the occasion of meetings of the Advisory Committee, and that such meetings have to be organised within the existing budgetary framework.

    Appendix

    Proposal of the Russian Federation

    Renewal of authorisations granted to the Advisory Committee for the first monitoring cycle

    Draft decision

    The Deputies

    1. took note of the Advisory Committee's intention, as from the second reporting cycle and for subsequent cycles, to seek where appropriate information from international organisations, ombudsmen and national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as from representatives of civil society and non-governmental organisations;

    2. authorised the Advisory Committee to hold meetings with non-governmental bodies and independent institutions in the context of visits conducted by the Advisory Committee upon invitation by the State Parties concerned as from the second reporting cycle and for subsequent cycles;

    3. authorised the Advisory Committee to hold meetings outside the context of country-visits with non-governmental bodies and independent institutions competent in the field of the protection of national minorities and representing various points of view with prior notification of the States Parties concerned during the second reporting cycle. Such meetings should in principle be held in Strasbourg on the occasion of meetings of the Advisory Committee and have to be organised within the existing budgetary resources.



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