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Restrictions on NGO activities in Council of Europe member States

Recommendation 2194 (2021)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 27 January 2021 (6th Sitting) (see Doc. 15205, report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Ms Alexandra Louis). Text adopted by the Assembly on 27 January 2021 (6th Sitting).
1. Referring to its Resolution 2362 (2021) on restrictions on NGO activities in Council of Europe member States, the Parliamentary Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
1.1 fully implement its decision “A shared responsibility for democratic security in Europe – The need to strengthen the protection and promotion of civil society space in Europe”, adopted at its 129th session, in Helsinki on 17 May 2019;
1.2 call on the member States to implement its recommendations CM/Rec(2007)14 on the legal status of non-governmental organisations in Europe and CM/Rec(2018)11 on the need to strengthen the protection and promotion of civil society space in Europe;
1.3 take stock of the progress achieved in implementing these two recommendations;
1.4 organise regular exchanges of views with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the field of human rights protection and facilitate these organisations’ access to information on the Council of Europe’s activities and to events that it organises;
1.5 continue to strengthen synergies between all the stakeholders concerned within the Council of Europe, in particular the Secretary General, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations, the Assembly and, where appropriate, relevant expert bodies, and establish a working group composed of representatives of these entities;
1.6 give priority to judgments arising from systemic problems concerning the rights and freedoms of NGOs embodied in Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5, the Convention) when supervising the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights;
1.7 establish an alert mechanism for receiving warnings of possible new restrictions on the right to freedom of association and other rights and freedoms of NGOs embodied in the Convention in member States, and for assessing this information and responding accordingly;
1.8 continue to promote European and international standards to protect civil society space and exchange information on good practices in this area, particularly in co-operation with other international organisations such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the European Union.