The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, has issued a toolkit for governments across Europe on respecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law during the COVID-19 crisis
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, has issued a toolkit for governments across Europe on respecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Information Document was sent to all 47 Council of Europe member states yesterday.
The toolkit is designed to help ensure that measures taken by member states during the current crisis remain proportional to the threat posed by the spread of the virus and are limited in time.
The document covers four key areas:
• Derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights in times of emergency
• Respect for the rule of law and democratic principles in times of emergency, including limits on the scope and duration of emergency measures
• Fundamental human rights standards including freedom of expression, privacy and data protection, protection of vulnerable groups from discrimination and the right to education
• Protection from crime and the protection of victims of crime, in particular regarding gender-based violence.
The Information Document also refers to new advice from the Committee of the Parties of the Council of Europe’s MEDICRIME Convention on the counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes.
Prime Minister of Georgia meets Co-Rapporteurs for the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
The key directions of cooperation between Georgia and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the agenda of Georgia’s ongoing and implemented democratic reforms were the main topics discussed at today’s meeting between Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Co-Rapporteurs for the Monitoring Committee of PACE.In the meeting held at the Government Administration, special emphasis was placed on the constructive work of the PACE Monitoring Committee’s Co-Rapporteurs for the monitoring of Georgia. The Head of Government thanked the Parliamentary Assembly’s delegation for productive cooperation.The conversation also touched on the security environment and challenges in the region and worldwide.The topics discussed included the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories. The role of support from the Council of Europe for peaceful conflict resolution was underlined. Irakli Garibashvili thanked PACE for firmly supporting Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.The meeting was attended by Co-Rapporteurs for the PACE Monitoring Committee Claude Kern and Edite Estrela, also by Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia Natalia Voutova, Georgia’s Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili, and Head of the Government Administration Revaz Javelidze.
THE PARLIAMENT HEARD THE ACTIVITY REPORT FOR 2022 OF THE PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION TO PACE
At the plenary session, MPs heard the Activity Report for 2022 of the Parliamentary Delegation to PACE, introduced by the Head of the Delegation, Irakli Chikovani.
“One of the acute issues for the PACE and for us was the devastation in Ukraine entailed by the Russian aggression and the decision made on the exclusion of Russia from the Coe and the preparation for a new Summit that is scheduled in May 2023 and that shall be dedicated to the planning of the further steps of the organization”, - he stated.
According to him, the Georgian Delegation was one of the main Delegations that approved the exclusion of Russia at the emergency session convened by the CoE. As noted, sundry resolutions have been adopted in 2022 related to the situation in Ukraine, where the Georgian Delegation in full composition, including the Majority and the Opposition MPs, unanimously approved the documents except one resolution providing the record about the third President of Georgia.
“This Resolution was connected neither to Georgia nor the situation in Georgia or the democratic reforms; it was an attempt, which by the way was quite successfully conducted by the EPP members and the rapporteur of the Resolution”, - he noted and added that the Resolution on Georgia initiated by the Monitoring Committee and adopted by the PACE reflects the immense progress achieved by Georgia in the democracy, rule of law and human rights protection directions.
“This progress is clearly underlined and which is unambiguously confirmed by the CoE as a whole, though it also provides the challenges in Georgia being addressed by the Government”, - the reporter ended his speech.
GLOBALink | China sees first export of 50-meter steel rails to Europe
China saw its first export of 50-meter steel rails to Europe. A total of 22,000 tonnes of rails will be shipped to support the construction of the Hungary-Serbia Railway. #GLOBALink
Produced by Xinhua Global Service
Georgian draft law on de-oligarchisation: Supporting the goal of limiting excessive influence of oligarchs, Venice Commission calls for systemic reforms
Strasbourg, 14.03.2023 – In its interim opinion on the draft law of Georgia on de-oligarchisation published today, the Council of Europe’s body of constitutional experts, the Venice Commission, called on the Georgian authorities to adopt systemic reforms rather than targeting specific individuals, in order to achieve “de-oligarchisation”.
“Oligarchisation” is the result of a combination of non-transparent exercise of political power without a political mandate, influence on parliaments, governments, political parties, judiciary and law enforcement bodies; ownership or influence on the media; decisive, if not monopolistic, influence on a number of areas, such as energy, mining, oil and gas, metallurgy, real estate. Eliminating such excessive influence of vested interests in economic, political and public life is a novel and very complex issue.
The Venice Commission noted that while Ukraine was the first country to adopt specific de-oligarchisation legislation, the commitment to eliminate the excessive influence of vested interests in economic, political and public life was also the object of a specific European Commission recommendation to Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. Georgia has since prepared a draft law which is very closely modelled on Ukrainian Law. Each country, however, presents specificities.
The Venice Commission supported the goal of eliminating or at least limiting the influence of oligarchs in political, economic and public life. It highlighted, however, that the choice of the means to achieve such a legitimate goal is of decisive importance if the system is to be effective while respecting democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights. Any such measures should be commensurate to the goal pursued of achieving a level playing field for all actors in society.
The Commission stressed that de-oligarchisation should be ensured through a systemic approach, which has a preventative effect and targets numerous fields, such as legislation relating to media, anti-monopoly, political parties, elections, taxation, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering, etc.
The Georgian draft law instead focuses on a so-called “personal” (punitive) approach, seeking to identify so-called “oligarchs” through specific criteria, such as wealth and media ownership, to publicly label them as “oligarchs” and to subject them to series of blanket limitations that include exclusion from the financing of political parties or activities, exclusion from privatisations of public property, etc. This approach, in the opinion of the Venice Commission, carries high risks of human rights violations and arbitrary application, potentially harming political pluralism. At the very least, the Commission recommended transferring the power to designate a person as an “oligarch” to another body than the Government, removing the broad discretion of the Government in interpreting and applying these criteria and providing strong guarantees for human rights, due process and effective remedies.
The Venice Commission has prepared the current opinion as an interim one, with a view of pursuing its analysis of possible solutions to this matter and taking into account further legislative developments when they are available.
Intercontinental Conference for Peace Education Held Online
Strategies for the Practice and Development of Peace Education
On January 27, HWPL held an online New Year's Conference for Peace Education with 37 participants from 6 countries. This New Year's Conference, with attendees from each continent, including Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, was promoted to share the activities of 2022, communicate with each other, and emphasize the need for active movement by peace teachers. There have been 43 peace educators in the MENA region, with 26 MOU and 2 MOAs contracted until now.
HWPL is an international peace NGO seeking ways to help students become leaders who create global harmony and achieve peace by interacting with global educators and UNESCO ambassadors as promoting a culture of peace and non-violence through education is one of UNESCO’s core missions. HWPL has its own Peace Education Curriculum from which students learn about the meaning of peace and its value and how to be qualified as a citizen of peace.
The peace activities of the countries cooperated with HWPL Global 2 branch, and the peace goals for this year were shared useful in overcoming to overcome difficulties in education that occurred in each country, such as the prolonged pandemic and educational inequality, and seek directions for development.
Iraq's Dr. Muayad Tahseen Yousif Altawi, Lecturer of the University of Mosul also shared action plans and strategies, and said “What we want is to have further cooperation with constant talks about the Peace Education. Of course, with SNS promotion of HWPL and its work" expressing his desire to create tangible results in 2023.
Mr. Elias Gudissa, a Consultant of Ethiopian Civil Service University, who had conducted peace education together, expressed her welcoming feelings about the peace initiatives continuing despite the pandemic crisis. “I can’t wait to affiliate with other universities through the Peace Education of HWPL. If there is a chance of taking part in activities of HWPL other than peace education, then I am willing to join as well” The attendees were online, but they were willing to open up about what they learned and felt and resolved to overcome the pandemic and share better examples next year.
Since having established designated HWPL Peace Academies in Israel and India School in Israel for the first time in 2015, HWPL has signed MOUs with 314 institutions and schools and MOAs with 13 countries, to prepare peace education at the government level.
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