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PACE decides on an explicit ban on sexual harassment or misconduct by its members

Thórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir (Iceland, SOC)

PACE has revised its 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.

Adopting a resolution based on a report by Thorhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir (Iceland, SOC), the Assembly's Standing 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 Standing 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 Standing Committee pointed out, recalling the Assembly’s recent #NotInMyParliament initiative to counter sexism against women in parliaments.