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National parliaments as guarantors of human rights in Europe – new handbook published

A handbook for parliamentarians from all over Europe published today by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) sets out ways and means to protect and implement human rights, within a democracy underpinned by the rule of law.

“The system established under the European Convention on Human Rights is today subject to various sovereigntist attacks, some of which are voiced by founding members of our Organisation. But whatever the challenges – whether simple mistrust, attempts to limit its scope or even suspending application of the Convention – we must respond firmly but also constructively in order to find solutions together,” said PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier.

It is the “legislative and supervisory functions of national parliaments [that] make them guarantors of human rights”, added Evangelos Venizelos, the Assembly’s Rapporteur on the Implementation of Judgements of the European Court of Human Rights, in a foreword to the handbook.

This handbook is intended to equip parliamentarians to fulfil their responsibilities by reviewing institutional structures, working methods and examples of best practices drawn from a number of parliaments in Europe, which enable them to verify most effectively the compatibility of national legislation and practices with European human rights standards.