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Assembly strongly condemns human rights abuses committed by Franco regime

17/03/2006 | Standing Committee

The Parliamentary Assembly has strongly condemned the extensive and wide-ranging human rights abuses committed by the Franco regime in Spain from 1939 to 1975. In a recommendation adopted unanimously, the Standing Committee – which acts in the name of the Assembly between plenary sessions – called on the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers to adopt a similar declaration at international level and to designate the 18 July 2006 as an official day of condemnation of the Franco regime. The report, by Leo Brincat (Malta, SOC), lists executions, torture and political prisoners as among abuses committed by the regime.

Controversy over caricatures: debate on freedom of expression at the PACE Standing Committee

14/03/2006 | Standing Committee

Following the controversy over the caricatures recently published in Denmark and the violent reactions in a number of countries, the Standing Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) is poised to hold a debate (*) on the subject at its meeting on 17 March in Paris. In the view of PACE President René van der Linden, who will open the meeting at 9.30 am, "there cannot be a democratic society without the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information, but freedom of thought, conscience and religion constitutes one of the essential freedoms of individuals".

A border crossing at last for a village divided in 1945?

28/11/2005 | Standing Committee

The Parliamentary Assembly has called on Ukraine to respond favourably to Slovak proposals in order to create a new international border crossing in the village of Vel’ké Slemence/Mali Selmenci, on their common border, to end the consequences of the 1945 agreement which cut the village in two. According to a report adopted by the Assembly’s Standing Committee this week, Abolishing the last piece of the iron curtain in central Europe, “fifteen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, an uncrossable boundary – armed sentries, double fencing, barbed wire and electric alarm systems – still traverses the main street… and people have to make a 50-mile journey to go from one part of the village to the other”.

Violence against Women – statement by the PACE Standing Committee

25/11/2005 | Standing Committee

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), adopted the following statement at its meeting in Bucharest today: “Thousands of women face physical, sexual and psychological violence on a daily basis in Europe. Every day, one in five women in our continent is the victim of domestic abuse. The problem affects all member states of the Council of Europe and all socio-professional categories. Too many victims, however, suffer in silence and too many crimes go unpunished.

'NGOs need the Council of Europe to provide them with the legal weapons to fight the ill-treatment of...

01/09/2005 | Standing Committee

HRH the Princess of Hanover, who is President of the World Association of the Friends of Children, speaking today during the current affairs debate in Monaco on violence and all forms of child exploitation and abuse, said: "The Council of Europe needs the support of NGOs in the fight against the ill-treatment of children in the same way that we - as NGOs - cannot deal with prevention alone. This is why we need the help of your organisation to give us the legal weapons we need to fight ill-treatment of children, whether it is a question of organ trafficking, prostitution, paedophilia, cyber-crime involving children or child soldiers. Each time a child is treated badly, this is a crime against humanity."

Protecting the Curonian Spit in the event of an oil spill

01/09/2005 | Standing Committee

Russia and Lithuania should agree jointly on a strategy to protect the Curonian Spit – a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Baltic which stretches across the coasts of both countries – in the event of any oil spill, PACE’s Standing Committee said today. In June 2004 the Russian company Lukoil began extracting oil only 22 kilometres from the spit. The report by Daniel Goulet (France, ALDE), who chairs PACE’s Agriculture and Food Sub-committee, noted “the good operating conditions” of the Lukoil operation, including its modern technology and skilled staff, but recommended that both countries resolve the issue of who should pay compensation in the event of an accident – in line with the “polluter pays” principle – and do more to co-ordinate their accident response services.

PACE Standing Committee meeting opens in Monaco

01/09/2005 | Standing Committee

PACE President René van der Linden, speaking at today's opening of the Standing Committee meeting in Monaco, expressed his sympathy and solidarity with the families of victims of this summer’s calamities, in particular the terrorist bombings in London and Egypt, the air disasters, the floods and the devastation caused by fires, notably in France, Spain and Portugal, the hurricane in the United States and yesterday’s tragedy in Iraq. Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis aligned himself fully with the President’s statement.

HRH Princess of Hanover participates in debate on violence against children

26/08/2005 | Standing Committee

Strasbourg, 26.08.2005 – The Standing Committee of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) will be meeting in Monaco on 1 September – the first time the Council is organising a meeting in that country since admitting it to membership last October. As President of the World Association of Friends of Children HRH the Princess of Hanover will be participating in a current affairs debate on violence and all forms of exploitation and abuse of which children are the victims.

Standing Committee adopts text to help 'the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia'

06/06/2005 | Standing Committee

"The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" has succeeded in overcoming the crisis in 2001 and is about to finalise a legislative framework capable of ensuring internal stability, according to PACE’s Standing Committee. The country must, however, step up its efforts to remedy certain shortcomings in its democratic system, the parliamentarians said. Adopting a text this morning, the Committee called on the Council of Europe to help the authorities in Skopje strengthen democracy, pluralism and the rule of law and protect national minorities and social cohesion. According to the parliamentarians, the country should continue, in its foreign relations, to pursue the objective of closer integration with European and international organisations and address the outstanding problems with its neighbours, in particular the dispute with Greece over the question of its name and the final decision on where the border with Serbia and Montenegro (Kosovo) will lie.

Meeting of the PACE Standing Committee in Lisbon

02/06/2005 | Standing Committee

PACE's Standing Committee will be meeting in Lisbon on Monday 6 June 2005, at the invitation of the Portuguese Parliament. The meeting will be opened at 11 am by the President of the Assembly, René van der Linden, and the Speaker of the Portuguese Parliament, Jaime Gama. Members will hold an exchange of views with Diogo Freitas do Amaral, Portuguese Minister for Foreign Affairs and current Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the 46-member organisation. Discussion will focus on the priorities of the Portuguese chairmanship and the conclusions of the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Warsaw on 16 and 17 May 2005. Among the main items on the agenda are reports on: the economic implications of the right to strike in essential services, recent political developments in "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” in the context of regional stability, development challenges in Europe’s islands and protection of European deltas.

Draft Convention on action against trafficking

18/03/2005 | Standing Committee

The Standing Committee urgently recommended that the Committee of Ministers incorporate "seven key amendments" into the draft Convention on action against trafficking in human beings before it was opened for signature "to ensure the effective and sufficient protection of victims". In accordance with the proposals put forward by the rapporteur, Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold (Switzerland, SOC), the parliamentarians agreed that the draft Convention should contain provisions which gave greater protection to the rights of victims than community law gave them, especially if these provisions concerned rights already granted to victims under domestic or international law. The PACE expressed “deep” regret that, during the negotiations conducted by the CAHTEH (the Committee of Experts responsible for drafting the text), the European Commission had systematically refused to allow these provisions to be incorporated into the draft Convention.

Meeting of the PACE Standing Committee in Paris

14/03/2005 | Standing Committee

PACE's Standing Committee will be meeting in Paris on Friday 18 March. Members will hold an exchange of views on the Council of Europe Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held in Warsaw on 16 and 17 May 2005. A request for an urgent debate on the draft Council of Europe convention on trafficking in human beings has been submitted by PACE’s Equal Opportunities Committee. The rapporteur on the question, Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold (Switzerland, SOC), believes that the convention is far from guaranteeing adequate or effective protection for victims.