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Committee proposes explicit ban on sexual harassment or misconduct by PACE members

PACE’s Rules Committee has proposed to revise the Assembly’s Code of Conduct for members to explicitly prohibit “sexism, harassment and sexual violence and misconduct”, and has outlined a procedure for investigating any cases of this behaviour.

Approving a report by Thorhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir (Iceland, SOC), the committee proposed that any cases brought against a member on these grounds under the Council of Europe’s current or future anti-harassment procedure should be investigated, and any recommendation or decision taken under the procedure should be forwarded to the Assembly’s Rules Committee “for final determination of the case”. The committee has a range of sanctions it may decide to apply in cases of breaches of the Code of Conduct.

The committee also took the opportunity to again urge national parliaments to draft or revise codes of conduct to explicitly ban sexist speech, sexist acts and sexual harassment, with sanctions for breaches, and to put in place appropriate complaint mechanisms.

The Assembly should be “at the forefront and serve as a model and as a reference for national parliaments” in how to handle cases of sexual harassment, the committee pointed out, recalling the Assembly’s recent #NotInMyParliament initiative to counter sexism against women in parliaments.

The Assembly’s Standing Committee is due to debate the proposals during its meeting in Rome on 25-26th November 2021.

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