Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on the COVID-19 pandemic

Published in World
Thursday, 23 April 2020 14:56

David ZalkalianiPresident of the Committee of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Georgia, has expressed his satisfaction following the Committee of Ministers’ adoption of a Declaration on the COVID-19 pandemic.

"During this very difficult time we are living through, I am pleased that the 47 member States of the Council of Europe have agreed on the need to continue to co-operate to fight the pandemic together, without ever losing sight of the Organisation's values and standards," he said.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, in which all of its 47 member States are represented, expresses its deep sadness at the suffering and bereavement caused in Europe and elsewhere in the world by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It expresses its profound gratitude to all those who, at the risk of their own health, are fighting to overcome this terrible disease and bring relief and care for those who are seriously ill. It also expresses its deep gratitude to all those who continue to work in order to ensure that people’s basic material needs can be met.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the worst health crisis since the Organisation was founded in 1949, and authorities at all levels must do their utmost to protect people's health in all circumstances, including the most vulnerable members of our societies.

The challenge we face today is unprecedented. The Committee of Ministers recalls its deep and constant attachment to its core values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as expressed in the Statute of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights. It also recalls that measures to combat the disease and its wider consequences must be taken in accordance with the Organisation's principles and the commitments entered into by member States. The Secretary General’s information document on “Respecting democracy, rule of law and human rights in the framework of the Covid-19 sanitary crisis: a toolkit for member States” provides useful guidance in this respect.

The Committee of Ministers considers that solidarity and co-operation between States is essential to deal effectively with the pandemic, and underlines that the Council of Europe, including its Development Bank, will continue to make every effort to assist its member States during this crisis and its aftermath.

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    Upcoming two sessions to underscore China’s most important political event returning to normal following COVID adjustment: experts

    By Chen Qingqing

    The list of the members of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) was unveiled with a new sector - the environment and resources sector - added, which some experts said has great significance as environmental protection constitutes a fundamental part in pursuing Chinese modernization. 
    Meanwhile, with the adjustment and optimization of the country's epidemic prevention and control measures, this year's "two sessions," one of the most important annual political events, is expected to return to normal, experts said. 
    There are 2,172 members from 34 sectors, with 85 from the newly established environment and resources sector, media reported on Wednesday. 
    The first session of the 14th National Committee of the CPPCC will start on March 4 and the 14th National People's Congress will kick off its first session on March 5, the country's top legislature announced on December 30.  
    In line with the guidelines of enhancing and improving the work of the CPPCC issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the 13th National Committee of the CPPCC has been pushing forward the establishment of the environment and resources sector.
    In recent years, some regional committees of the CPPCC began adding this new sector and regional committees across the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have added the new sector, called the environment and resources or resources and the environment. 
    "No matter whether it's about the comprehensive economic and social development or Chinese modernization, environmental and resource protection, as an important part of the Five-Pronged Overall Approach since the 18th National Congress, conveys great significance," Zhu Lijia, a professor of public management at the Chinese Academy of Governance, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 
    To pursue Chinese modernization, environmental protection and construction is fundamental, and setting up this new sector could help policy makers and advisors play bigger roles in formulating environment-related policies and measures, Zhu said. 
    Li Zhenhan, a member of the regional committee of the CPPCC in East China's Shandong Province, was quoted as saying in media reports on Wednesday that setting up this new sector could help allocate resources and bring members with various backgrounds in the environment, resources and energy who used to work in different sectors together. 
    Environmental protection will continue being a major focus of the work of the CPC in the future. In a report delivered by General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping to the 20th National Congress of the CPC in October 2022, Xi pointed out that we will advance the Beautiful China Initiative and take a holistic and systematic approach to the conservation and improvement of mountains, waters, forests, farmlands, grasslands and deserts. 
    "We will carry out coordinated industrial restructuring, pollution control, ecological conservation and climate response, and promote concerted efforts to cut carbon emissions, reduce pollution, expand green development and pursue economic growth, he said. We will prioritize environmental protection, conserve resources and use them efficiently, and pursue green and low-carbon development," Xi said. 
    This year's two sessions will also be the first annual gatherings for the country's two main political bodies to set priorities and plans involving the economy, military, trade, diplomacy and the environment for the next year since the country downgraded its COVID-19 management. 
    Some experts believed that as the country's social and economic activities have been brought gradually back to normal following the adjustment and optimization of the epidemic prevention and control measures, the country's most important annual political activities are also expected to go to back to normal. 
    Some experts considered that the economic recovery and China's population decline would be major focuses of this year's two sessions, especially when many observers and analysts remain bullish on China's economic prospects. Also, the Chinese mainland's population declined for the first time in 61 years, which attracted the world's attention. 
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    "How to turn China's demographic dividend into a talent dividend will also be a major focus of this year's meetings," he said.

    Source: https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202301/1284039.shtml

  • Two Georgia v. Russia interstate cases: Committee of Ministers says Russia must execute the European Court’s judgments, despite its exclusion from the Council of Europe

    Strasbourg, 09.12.2022 – The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has deeply deplored again the absence of response of the Russian authorities to its earlier appeals to implement the Georgia v. Russia (I) judgment from the European Court of Human Rights concerning the arrest, detention and collective expulsion of Georgian nationals in 2006-2007, and strongly exhorted the Russian authorities to pay the long-overdue just satisfaction. The Committee has also urged the Russian authorities to start executing the judgment in the case Georgia v. Russia (II) related to the armed conflict in Georgia in 2008.

    In the Interim Resolution (*) published today on the Georgia v. Russia (I) case the Committee of Ministers recalled that, despite ceasing to be a member of the Council of Europe on 16 March 2022, the Russian Federation is still required to implement judgments of the European Court, and the Committee of Ministers continues to supervise their execution.

    According to the European Court’s judgment of January 2019, Russia inter alia had to pay to the Georgian government 10 million euros in respect of non-pecuniary damage suffered by a group of at least 1,500 Georgian nationals. The Committee deeply deplored the continued absence of the information from the Russian authorities and reiterated again its most profound concern that the payment of the just satisfaction and default interest accrued has not been made despite the passage of over three years since the deadline for payment expired on 30 April 2019.

    The Secretariat of the Committee of Ministers will create and publish a register of just satisfaction owing in all inter-state cases against the Russian Federation and will keep it regularly updated as regards the default interest accrued so that both the issue and the sums due can remain under close public scrutiny.

    The Committee of Ministers has also adopted the Interim Resolution on the second interstate case, Georgia v. Russia (II). The European Court’s judgment on this case has become final in October 2021 and concerned various violations in the context of the armed conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation in August 2008.

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    -------
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  • MONEYVAL report on Georgia: improvements in the Financial Monitoring Service powers to disseminate information to law enforcement authorities, but other deficiencies remain

    Georgia has improved its measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing; it has demonstrated good progress and has been upgraded from “partially compliant” to “largely compliant” with the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Recommendation 29, related to Financial Intelligence Units, concludes the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering body MONEYVAL in a follow-up report released today.

    By enhancing the powers of the Financial Monitoring Service (Financial Intelligence Unit of Georgia) to disseminate information and results of analyses upon request and without a court order to all law enforcement authorities, Georgia has addressed a significant shortcoming earlier identified. Only minor shortcomings remain regarding a lack of explicit reference to require the Financial Monitoring Service to conduct operational and strategic analysis and the scope of the money laundering definition.

    The report also examines a range of legislative, regulatory, and institutional measures, such as introducing a central electronic reporting for online casinos, requiring a clean criminal record for beneficial owners of casinos, making sanctions for AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism) breaches applicable to casinos, as well introducing a broad regulatory framework for the investment fund sector. However, these measures were not sufficient to upgrade the ratings of Recommendations 22, 28 or 35, as moderate deficiencies in relation to the scope of covered designated non-financial businesses and professions and the sanctioning regimes remain.

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  • First report on implementation of Istanbul Convention by Georgia welcomes steps on legislation, calls for more services for victims and dissuasive sanctions for perpetrators

    Strasbourg, 22.11.2022 – The Council of Europe’s monitoring body GREVIO in its first report on Georgia released today welcomed the many steps taken by the Georgian authorities to align its laws, policies and institutional framework with the standards of the Istanbul Convention. However, further legal amendments are needed, more domestic violence shelters and sexual violence crisis referral centres should be established across the country, bureaucratic obstacles related to obtaining victim status should be addressed, and steps must be urgently taken to increase women’s equal status in the Georgian society where patriarchal attitudes still prevail. The comments of the Georgian government were equally published.

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    In its report, GREVIO also urges the Georgian authorities to ensure that women victims of violence who are in need of protection, regardless of their status or residence, shall not be returned under any circumstances to any country where their life would be at risk or where they might be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

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    GREVIO and Georgia

  • ​The First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has met with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe

    As part of his visit to Strasbourg, on 16 November, the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Lasha Darsalia, held a meeting with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić.
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