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Safeguarding and promoting genuine democracy

PACE today expressed its concern about a clear democratic backsliding across the world – including in Europe – which has resulted in a weakening in checks and balances and the role of the opposition, obstacles to freedom of expression, assembly and association, and an erosion of the rule of law.

Faced with this alarming situation, PACE called on member States to “renew their commitment to safeguarding and promoting genuine democracy”, based on the principles of individual freedom, political liberty and the rule of law. “It is only genuine democracies which can guarantee democratic security and achieve peace-building, based on justice and international co-operation,” the parliamentarians underlined.

In adopting a resolution, based on the report by Marie-Christine Dalloz (France, EPP/CD), PACE therefore called on member States to guarantee: the right to freedom of thought and expression; freedom of assembly and association; and the safety of human rights defenders, including journalists, lawyers and members of NGOs.

PACE also called for the independence and pluralism of the media; the right to free and fair elections; an effective, impartial and independent judicial system; an inclusive legislative process; and good democratic governance.

The Assembly also recommended that the Committee of Ministers set up “a permanent platform on democracy, which would be based on the expertise of various Council of Europe bodies and structures” and which would serve as a platform for the exchange of information and good practices for the benefit of member States’ public authorities and also political parties, NGOs and civil society representatives.