Unlimited access to member States, including “grey zones”, by Council of Europe and United Nations human rights monitoring bodies
- Parliamentary Assembly
- Assembly debate on 10 October 2018
(33rd Sitting) (see Doc. 14619,
report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur:
Mr Frank Schwabe). Text adopted by the
Assembly on 10 October 2018 (33rd Sitting).
The Parliamentary Assembly recalls
its Resolution 2240 (2018)
unlimited access to member States, including “grey zones”, by Council
of Europe and United Nations human rights monitoring bodies.
2 The Assembly calls on the Committee of Ministers to hold an
urgent discussion whenever a Council of Europe human rights monitoring
body is denied access, or allowed access only on conditions that
are politically unacceptable or incompatible with the body’s mandate,
to all or part of a member State’s territory. Such a discussion
should aim at finding rapid, effective solutions to such situations,
where appropriate by applying diplomatic pressure on the responsible
authorities, including, where applicable, through the State exercising effective
control over a territory and its de facto authorities.
3 The Assembly also calls on the Committee of Ministers to consider
the introduction within the Council of Europe of a presumption that
all member States consent to visits by Council of Europe and United
Nations human rights monitoring bodies in circumstances where there
is reason to believe that there are serious violations of fundamental
human rights and dignity such as threats to life, torture, inhuman
or degrading treatment or denial of basic humanitarian needs. Such
a presumption could be rebuttable in exceptional circumstances,
for instance where denial of access is necessary for reasons relating
to national defence, public safety or serious local public disorder.
It would, however, be for the State concerned to raise such objections upon
being informed of a monitoring body’s intention to visit in circumstances
that invoke the presumption of consent.
4 The Assembly further calls on the Committee of Ministers to
undertake a detailed, systematic review of the state of co-operation
between Council of Europe and United Nations human rights monitoring
mechanisms, in co-operation with the United Nations, with a view
to enhancing co-ordination and maximising synergies. Such a review
should include exploration of the possibilities for reinforcing
the overall human rights monitoring of “grey zones” (States’ territories
that are under the control of de facto authorities)
within Council of Europe member States, including through joint
activities of bodies responsible for monitoring comparable human
rights issues, whilst respecting the particularities of those bodies’
mandates, composition, structures and working methods. This review
could also engage with relevant monitoring mechanisms of other international organisations,
including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.