Countries of transit: meeting new migration and asylum challenges
Reply to Recommendation
| Doc. 14063
| 17 May 2016
- Committee of Ministers
at the 1255th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (4 May 2016). 2016 - Third part-session
- Reply to Recommendation
- : Recommendation 2078
The Committee of
Ministers has carefully examined Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2078 (2015)
on “Countries of transit: meeting new migration and asylum challenges”
and has forwarded it to the relevant committees and bodies for information
2. The Committee takes note of the call of Parliamentary Assembly
regarding the importance of respecting and protecting the human
rights of migrants and refugees in co-operation with transit countries.
It shares the view that the current challenges arising from the
refugee crisis require a co-ordinated response which is effective
and based on the prevention of human rights violations.
In the light of the deepening refugee crisis, the Committee
of Ministers held an in-depth debate on the question in September,
following which a number of operational decisions were adopted.Note
In particular, the Committee of
Ministers reiterated the obligations falling upon member States
under international law, and called on member States to intensify
their efforts to address the crisis in compliance with international
law. The Secretary General has also issued guidelines to the 47
member States of the Council of Europe regarding “The protection
of migrants and asylum seekers: States’ main legal obligations under
the Council of Europe conventions”.
4. The Committee of Ministers also emphasised, inter alia, that the Council of
Europe must continue to monitor the honouring of commitments and
obligations by its member States and asked the Secretary General to
follow and report on the developing situation, making full use of
existing monitoring mechanisms. It further underlined the importance
for the Council of Europe to provide assistance in its areas of
expertise to those member States which so wish.
5. The Committee of Ministers would inform the Assembly that
the Programme and Budget for 2016‑2017 aims to promote the social
inclusion of migrants by focusing on responses to the large-scale
arrival of migrants and on anti-discrimination and inclusion measures.
Legal and practical aspects of specific migration-related human
rights issues and challenges being faced by civil society in the
member States will be considered, in co-operation with other international
institutions. Furthermore, the Secretary General has recently appointed
a Special Representative on Migration and Refugees to drive the
assistance and support of the Organisation to member States and
to foster international co-operation in this area.
6. The Committee of Ministers would also recall the relevance
of the Guidelines on human rights protection in the context of accelerated
asylum procedures, adopted by the Committee of Ministers in 2009,
the purpose of which is to ensure the quality of asylum procedures
and of the negotiation of readmission agreements.
7. With regard to paragraph 3.2 of the Assembly’s recommendation,
the Committee of Ministers underlines that the principle of non-refoulement
constitutes a fundamental, well-established principle of international
law that underlies the reasoning of the European Court of Human
Rights in the case of Hirsi Jamaa v.
Italy (2012) in the context of refugees and asylum seekers,
referred to in the recommendation. It acknowledges that the case
is an important one, particularly in terms of the extraterritorial
applicability, only in exceptional cases, of the Convention. It
would recall that the Court held that, while Contracting Parties
are free to devise their own immigration policies, this right is
limited by Article 3 of the Convention (prohibition of torture or
inhuman or degrading treatment), where the removal of persons would
expose them to a real risk of facing such treatment in the receiving
country, irrespective of whether they were intercepted in territorial
waters and transferred aboard an official vessel. The Court reiterated
in cases referring to a group of persons the need for an assessment
of individual circumstances (prohibition of collective expulsion
of aliens, Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 to the Convention) and access
to an effective remedy (Article 13 of the Convention).
8. The Committee of Ministers is aware of the important issues
raised by the Assembly in this recommendation. It notes the comments
adopted by the CDDH at its meeting on 7 to 11 December 2015 that “in
the absence of case law of the Court in this respect, the Court’s
adjudication in the Hirsi Jamaa case
cannot be construed as being applicable to other distinct situations
cited in paragraph 10 of Resolution 2073 (2015) of the Parliamentary
Assembly on countries of transit.”
9. The Committee of Ministers will continue to monitor compliance
by member States with the principle of non-refoulement.