Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
GR-H
Rapporteur Group on Human Rights

GR-H(2008)CB8 23 June 20081
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Synopsis
Meeting of 17 June 2008

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1. The Rapporteur Group on Human Rights (GR-H) met on 17 June 2008 with Ambassador C. Oldenburg, Permanent Representative of Denmark, in the chair. The following items were discussed:

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities –
Debate on the draft resolutions on the implementation of the Convention by:

08/17 - Cyprus (GR-H(2008)10 rev)

2. Following a debate during which compromise solutions were sought for an outstanding terminological difficulty, the Chairman noted that agreement had been reached on the text, and that the GR-H agreed to forward it to the Deputies for adoption without further debate at a forthcoming meeting.

08/19 - “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

    GR-H(2008)6, DD(2008)186, DD(2008)317, DD(2008)318

3. During the debate, the Chairman noted that no delegation supported amendments proposed by two delegations and that in these circumstances, the GR-H agreed to forward it to the Deputies for adoption without further debate at a forthcoming meeting.

08/20 - the United Kingdom (GR-H(2008)17)

4. The Chairman noted that the GR-H approved the draft resolution, which would be placed on the agenda of a forthcoming meeting of the Deputies with a view to its adoption without further debate.

08/29 European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) – Election of a member of the CPT in respect of Poland

    CM(2008)82, AS/Bur(2008)30

5. Following an exchange of views, the Chairman noted the information provided by the Polish delegation as regards the recent change of post of the first candidate on the list transmitted by the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly, as well as the preference expressed by the Polish delegation, and agreed to transmit the list to the Deputies, in the order of candidates as drawn up by the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly, with a view to the election of a member in respect of Poland at their 1030th meeting (18 June 2008).

08/30 European Social Charter – European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) – Procedure for the election of five members

    GR-H(2008)16

6. The Group considered the details for the procedure regarding the election of 5 members of the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), as contained in document GR-H(2008)16, and agreed to transmit the document to the Deputies for adoption of the relevant decisions at their 1031st meeting on 2 July 2008.

08/31 Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation: Possible action by the Committee of Ministers

    - Draft terms of reference for the CDDH
    - Draft instructions to the CDCJ
    - Draft message from the Committee of Ministers to all Steering Committees

SG/Inf(2008)4, GR-H(2008)19

7. The GR-H considered the draft texts contained in document GR-H(2008)19 with a view to forming a recommendation to the Deputies concerning their adoption.

Regarding the draft terms of reference for the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH), which appear in Appendix I of document GR-H(2008)19: Many delegations welcomed the draft terms of reference as presented and considered that non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation was a topical issue in terms of human rights and tolerance which deserved to be specifically addressed. One delegation, while welcoming the document, considered that it was premature to entrust the Steering Committee with the drafting of a recommendation and that it would be more appropriate to first ask the CDDH to carry out a feasibility study. According to that delegation, emphasis should be put on the implementation of existing instruments and mechanisms. However, this delegation indicated that it would not object to the transmission of the draft to the Deputies. While condemning discrimination in general, another delegation did not consider this issue as a priority and considered that the draft terms of reference would need to be improved. After discussion, the Chairman noted that, with the exception of two delegations, the group supported the draft as presented and indicated that it would be transmitted to the Deputies for adoption of the relevant decisions at their 1031st meeting, on 2 July 2008.

Regarding the draft instructions to the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), which appear in Appendix II of document GR-H(2008)19, after a preliminary discussion, the delegations, on a proposal of the Chair, decided to transmit them, with amendments suggested by some delegations (two phrases were placed in square brackets), to the GR-J for consideration at its meeting on 1 July.

Regarding the draft message from the Committee of Ministers to all steering committees, which appears in Appendix III of document GR-H(2008)19: The Group, with the exception of one delegation, was in favour of transmitting the text to the Deputies for adoption of the relevant decisions at their 1031st meeting, on 2 July 2008.

07/25 “Rights of national minorities in Latvia” – Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1772 (2006) – Draft reply

    REC_1772 (2006)

8. The Chairman indicated that he was still not in a position to submit a text following his consultations with the delegations concerned and accordingly proposed to postpone consideration of the draft reply until the next meeting.

08/32 “Respect for the principle of gender equality in civil law” – Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1798 (2007) – Draft reply

    REC_1798 (2007), CM/AS(2008)Rec1798 prov, DD(2008)375

9. The Chairman noted that the draft reply prepared by the TC-EG contained in document CM/AS(2008)Rec1798 prov, could be submitted, as amended (see document CM/AS(2008)Rec1798 prov2), to the Deputies for adoption at their 1030th meeting (18 June 2008) without further debate.

08/33 “Assessment of transit and processing centres as a response to mixed flows of migrants and asylum seekers” – Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1808 (2007) – Draft reply

    REC_1808 (2007), CM/AS(2008)Rec1808 prov, DD(2008)382

10. The Chairman indicated that a proposal for amendment had been distributed at the beginning of the meeting by a delegation (DD(2008)382). As delegations did not have instructions regarding the proposed amendments, the Group agreed to postpone examination of this item to its next meeting (9 September 2008).

08/34 “United Nations Security Council and European Union blacklists” – Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1824 (2008) – Draft reply

    REC_1824 (2008), CM/AS(2008)Rec1824 prov, DD(2008)370, DD(2008)374, DD(2008)379

11. The GR-H considered the draft reply contained in document CM/AS(2008)Rec1824 prov, in the light of three proposals for amendment presented by the delegations and contained in documents DD(2008)370, DD(2008)374 and DD(2008)379. After a debate, the Group agreed to transmit the revised draft reply, as it appears in document CM/AS(2008)Rec1824 prov2, to the GR-J for examination at its meeting on 1 July 2008.

08/35 Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) – Draft Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)… of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the role of women and men in conflict prevention and resolution and in peace building

    CM(2008)36 Appendix 2, CM(2008)36 add, CM/Del/Dec(2008)1022/4.4, DD(2008)309, DD(2008)358, DD(2008)364

12. This item was postponed to the next GR-H meeting.

- Any other business

- Date of the next meeting

Tuesday, 9 September 2008 at 3 p.m.

Appendix

Intervention by the Representative of Albania
on item 08/19 – Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities –
Debate on the draft resolution on the implementation of the Convention by “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

“In order to shed further light to the Albanian delegation proposals I would like to make the following statement;

Regarding the issue on the need for a new law, after the Constitutional Court decision, on 24 October 2007, to ban the use of flags, the Albanian delegation proposal is not running counter to “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” laws, at all, as the law on the use of flags was approved in 2005, as an obligation of the Ohrid Agreement.

In paragraph 7, expression of identity, the Ohrid Agreement reads as follows:

    7.1. With respect to emblems, next to the emblem of the Republic of Macedonia, local authorities will be free to place on front of local public buildings emblems marking the identity of the community in the majority in the municipality, respecting international rules and usages.

Whereas regarding the second amendment on the new law on languages I would simply like to repeat, as a matter of fact not as the only ground on which the proposal is made, to what the President of the Advisory Committee Mr Phillips said on 11 December 2007, that at the time of the Advisory Committee’s visit important initiatives were being discussed in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, and these included the possible adoption of a new law on languages.

The third amendment relates to a higher representation of Albanians and other communities in the administration, yes, we understand that it is a long process which needs continuing efforts but why not task “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” to report the difference on the figures from now to the next Report, as we all know time passes by quickly.

I would like to remind that not long ago, an agreement was reached, between the two main partners in the governing coalition, Prime Minister Gruevski and Mr Thaçi, chair of Albanian Democratic Party, to start the work on the new law on the use of flags, and use of languages.

The fact that these issues become part of political agreements between important factors in the country, representatives of different ethnicities, shows that the problem exists and needs an accepted solution by the sides in the Framework of the Ohrid Agreement.

And before I bring my intervention to an end I would like, on behalf of my authorities, to call on all political forces in the country to enter into dialogue, and to fully implement the Ohrid Framework Agreement and to ensure that the country continues to make progress towards consolidating democracy, human rights and the rule of law, so as to secure its further European integration.

In a nutshell, our proposals go in line with the Council of Europe core values, full implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement.”

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue; it will be declassified in accordance with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.


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