The Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) met successively on 12 and 13 October, then on 22 and 23 October, by video-conference. This “enlarged” meeting replaced the October part-session of PACE and allowed all PACE members to take the floor – however, only members of the Standing Committee had the right to vote.
Highlights of the meetings included debates on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of artificial intelligence, as well as an urgent debate on the “New crack down of political and social opposition in Turkey: how to safeguard human rights, fundamental freedoms and the protection of Turkish citizens by the European Court of Human Rights”, and a current affairs debate on “Armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, failure of peaceful conflict resolution and a risk to regional stability”.
Meeting of 12-13 October
On 12 October, after the opening of the meeting by PACE President Rik Daems, the parliamentarians held an exchange of views with Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. They continued with a second exchange of views with Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, and with a current affairs debate on “Armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, failure of peaceful conflict resolution and a risk to regional stability”.
On 13 October, Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, presented her annual activity report for 2019. The day was also devoted to a series of debates on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on democracies, human rights and the rule of law, equality, as well as on migrants and refugees.
Meeting of 22-23 October
On 22 October, several debates were held on the challenges of artificial intelligence, in particular: the need for democratic governance of AI; the role of AI in policing and criminal justice systems; discrimination caused by AI; threats to fundamental freedoms; medical, legal and ethical challenges in the field of health care; consequences on labour markets; and legal aspects of ‘autonomous vehicles’.
On the following day, discussions focused on an urgent debate on the “New crack down of political and social opposition in Turkey: how to safeguard human rights, fundamental freedoms and the protection of Turkish citizens by the European Court of Human Rights” and on the principles and guarantees of advocates; the gender dimension of foreign policy; and threats to academic freedom and autonomy of universities in Europe.
The meetings were streamed live in English, French, German, Italian and Russian.
The meetings were also streamed live on the YouTube Channel of the Parliamentary Assembly.
The Standing Committee, which acts on the Assembly’s behalf between plenary sessions, is made up of the President and Vice-Presidents of the Assembly, the chairpersons of political groups, the chairpersons of national delegations and the committee chairpersons, totalling some 60 parliamentarians from the Council of Europe's 47 member States.
Monday 12 October 2020
Doc. 15086 (Report) Drug policy and human rights in Europe: a baseline study Doc. 15114 (Committee Opinion) Drug policy and human rights in Europe: a baseline study Doc. 15116 (Report) Time to act: Europe’s political response to fighting the manipulation of sports competitions
Tuesday 13 October 2020
Doc. 15157 (Report) Democracies facing the Covid-19 pandemic Doc. 15164 (Committee Opinion) Democracies facing the Covid-19 pandemic Doc. 15139 (Report) The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on human rights and the rule of law Doc. 15158 (Committee Opinion) The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on human rights and the rule of law Doc. 15129 (Report) Upholding human rights in times of crisis and pandemics: gender, equality and non-discrimination Doc. 15142 (Report) Humanitarian consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic for migrants and refugees
Thursday 22 October 2020
Doc. 15150 (Report) Need for democratic governance of artificial intelligence Doc. 15156 (Report) Justice by algorithm – the role of artificial intelligence in policing and criminal justice systems Doc. 15151 (Report) Preventing discrimination caused by the use of artificial intelligence Doc. 15147 (Report) The brain-computer interface: new rights or new threats to fundamental freedoms? Doc. 15154 (Report) Artificial intelligence in health care: medical, legal and ethical challenges ahead Doc. 15159 (Report) Artificial intelligence and labour markets: friend or foe? Doc. 15143 (Report) Legal aspects of "autonomous" vehicles
Friday 23 October 2020
Doc. 15171 (Report) New crackdown on political opposition and civil dissent in Turkey: urgent need to safeguard Council of Europe standards Doc. 15152 (Report) The principles and guarantees of advocates Doc. 15122 (Report) The gender dimension of foreign policy Doc. 15167 (Report) Threats to academic freedom and autonomy of higher education institutions in Europe
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