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PACE sets out steps to curb ‘transnational repression’

Christopher CHOPE (Royaume-Uni, CE/AD)
©Council of Europe

PACE has condemned all forms of transnational repression – the assassination, intimidation or harassment by a state of its perceived enemies living abroad – as a growing threat to the rule of law and human rights.

Approving a report on the topic by Sir Christopher Chope (United Kingdom, EC/DA), the Assembly pointed to Russia’s attacks on dissidents living in other countries – such as the Litvinenko and Skripal poisonings in the UK – as “the most egregious example”.

Belarus is also reported to be responsible for around 31 per cent of transnational repression incidents in 2021 – including the use of a false bomb threat to cause the forced landing of a Ryanair flight to Minsk, in order to arrest an opposition activist.

The Assembly also expressed concerned about Turkiye’s use of some transnational repression tools, particularly following the July 2016 coup attempt, and its consistent pursuit of anyone allegedly related to the “Gülen movement”. Azerbaijan has also been accused of using such techniques, it said.

States should protect individuals within their jurisdiction from transnational repression, and refrain from rendering, transferring, deporting or extraditing those facing it, the parliamentarians said. They called for an official definition of the practice, a mechanism to report and track it, as well as a series of steps to prevent it, including:

  • additional vetting of extradition requests, Red Notices and other forms if interstate legal assistance from countries known to engage in transnational repression;
  • expelling or declining to accredit diplomats involved in transnational repression;
  • sanctions on perpetrators and enablers of the practice;
    restricting the export of surveillance technology to countries which engage in it.