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Upholding human rights: a national task as well as one for the Strasbourg Court

PACE has congratulated the European Court of Human Rights on reducing its backlog of cases and becoming even more efficient, but urged states to match this progress by “reinforcing the principle of subsidiarity” and upholding European Convention standards better at national level.

In a resolution based on a report by Yves Pozzo di Borgo (France, EPP/CD), the Assembly warned that repeated applications on the same issue and ongoing serious underlying structural human rights problems in some states were still adding to the challenges facing the Court.

States had recognised their “shared responsibility”, along with the Court, to implement the European Convention effectively, but some were still failing to fulfil their Convention obligations, the parliamentarians pointed out.

Hailing the Court for its “extraordinary contribution” to the protection of human rights in Europe for half a century, the Assembly said it was “the most advanced regional human rights protection mechanism in the world”.

But it could not be solely responsible for enforcing human rights standards across Europe. The Assembly urged national parliaments, in particular, to use their powers to oversee Convention standards by screening new laws for human rights compatibility and by pressing governments to abide by the Court’s rulings.