The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on human rights and the rule of law
- Parliamentary Assembly
adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of
the Assembly, on 13 October 2020 (see Doc. 15139, report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human
Rights, rapporteur: Mr Vladimir Vardanyan, and Doc. 15158, opinion of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education
and Media, rapporteur: Mr Bogusław Sonik).
The Assembly refers to its Resolution 2338 (2020)
the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on human rights and the rule
of law. It refers further to its Resolution 2209 (2018)
and Recommendation 2125 (2018)
“State of emergency: proportionality issues concerning derogations
under Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights”, and
recalls the Committee of Ministers’ reply to that recommendation.
2 The Assembly considers that derogations to the European Convention
on Human Rights (ETS No. 5, the Convention) may pose a risk to the
maintenance of common minimum human rights standards across Europe.
It recalls that the aim of its 2018 proposals was to assist national
authorities in understanding the legal complexities in this area
and to encourage a more harmonised approach in future.
3 The Assembly notes that an unprecedented number of 10 States
derogated from the Convention in respect of measures taken in response
to the Covid-19 pandemic, showing a notable lack of consistency
in national practice in important areas. Whilst accepting that a
perfectly uniform approach is neither necessary, feasible nor desirable,
the Assembly considers that this situation underlines the need for
guidance and harmonisation.
The Assembly therefore invites the Committee of Ministers
to reconsider the recommendation that it examine State practice
in relation to derogations from the Convention, in the light of
the requirements of Article 15 and the case law of the European
Court of Human Rights, the requirements of international law and
the Assembly’s findings and recommendations in its Resolutions 2209 (2018)
2338 (2020), with a view to identifying legal standards and good
practice and, on that basis, adopting a recommendation to member
States on the matter.
5 The Assembly further invites the Committee of Ministers to
give terms of reference to the appropriate intergovernmental committee
or committees to review national experience in responding to the
Covid-19 pandemic, with a view to pooling knowledge and experience
and identifying good practice on how to ensure an effective response
to public health emergencies that respects human rights and the
rule of law. The results of this review could form the basis for
future Committee of Ministers’ recommendations or guidelines.