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For unlimited access to member States by human rights monitoring bodies

PACE today recalled the obligation of member States to “co-operate fully and in good faith” with human rights monitoring mechanisms, including those of the Council of Europe and the United Nations, and ensure them access to their territory.

The Assembly welcomed instances where these monitoring bodies have obtained access to “grey zones” (territories of States that are under the control of de facto authorities), citing in particular visits by the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) to Transnistria and Abkhazia. However, the activities of human rights monitoring bodies regarding territories under the control of de facto authorities, do not constitute a recognition of those authorities’ legitimacy under international law, the parliamentarians stressed.

In a resolution adopted today, on the basis of the report by Frank Schwabe (Germany, SOC), PACE recommended an approach whereby States are presumed to consent to visits by human rights monitoring bodies in cases where there is reason to believe that there are serious human rights violations.

Finally, PACE called 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.