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PACE Committee urges action against transnational repression as a growing threat to human rights and the rule of law

Jamal Khashoggi

Since 2014, there have been 854 reported incidents of physical transnational repression carried out by 38 governments in 91 countries worldwide. PACE Legal Affairs Committee is alarmed about the number and gravity of acts of transnational repression committed in Europe.

Russia, recently excluded from the Council of Europe, is the most extreme among these countries. Using its state-sponsored programme to pursue dissidents abroad, including through targeted assassinations, it has now the unrestricted ability to target anti-war protesters and those fleeing forced military service seeking asylum in Europe. The committee expressed its concern about the fact that “Türkiye has also used some of the tools of transnational repression”, and noted that Azerbaijan has also been accused of “using certain transnational repression techniques”.

Unanimously adopting a draft resolution based on a report by Christopher Chope (United Kingdom, EC/DA), the committee strongly condemned all forms and practices of transnational repression, stressing that they “violate numerous non-derogable and fundamental human rights of the individuals targeted” as well as “undermine the values and principles which the Council of Europe stands for”.

The parliamentarians called on member states to carry out effective investigations into allegations of transnational repression, ensure victims receive adequate reparation, strengthen oversight and accountability mechanisms over intelligence agencies, establish an official definition of transnational repression, impose targeted sanctions on perpetrators, and cooperate in transnational cases involving serious human rights breaches, amongst other measures.

Finally, the committee invited the European Court of Human Rights to fully apply and, if need be, expand its case-law on extraterritorial jurisdiction to address all acts of transnational repression in member States. “There should be no protection gap against transnational repression committed within the Convention legal space”, they concluded.