THE PARLIAMENT OF GEORGIA TO SHARE THE OPEN GOVERNANCE EXPERIENCE WITH MOROCCO

Published in Politics
Friday, 29 April 2022 09:37

Within the PACE Spring Session, the member of the Parliamentary Delegation, Givi Mikanadze held a meeting with the representatives of the PACE Parliamentary Support Project.

CoE, funded by the EU, implements the project in Morocco facilitating the set-up of the Open Governance Council. The parties discussed the experience of the Georgian Parliament.

G. Mikanadze introduced the main directions concerning the cooperation of the Parliament with the civil society, Parliamentary openness, transparency and civic engagement.

The CoE representatives gave a positive assessment to the experience of the Georgian Parliament and expressed their will to reflect the successful practice of the Georgian Parliament in their survey, as well as to arrange the exchange visits for MPs. The parties agreed on further cooperation and exchange of additional information and organization of the visits.

PACE spring session: the consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine

Published in World
Thursday, 14 April 2022 11:47

Strasbourg, 14.04.2022 - A general policy debate on the consequences of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine will be at the centre of the spring plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), to be held in hybrid format from 25 to 28 April 2022.

In the context of this aggression, there has also been a request for an urgent debate on ensuring accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic, is due to address the Assembly at midday on Wednesday, and will answer questions from the parliamentarians. 

The Assembly also debates reports on strengthening the strategic partnership between the Council of Europe and the EU, safeguarding and promoting genuine democracy in Europe, and on how to put confiscated criminal assets to good use.

Also on the agenda are reports on combating children’s exposure to pornographic content, on the deinstitutionalisation of persons with disabilities, on preventing excessive and unjustified use of force by law enforcement officers, on tackling discrimination based on social origin, and on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Georgia.

Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, will also present her annual activity report for 2021, and take questions from the parliamentarians. Marija Pejčinović Burić, the Council of Europe Secretary General, holds the usual question time with PACE members.

Benedetto Della Vedova, Undersecretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, will present the Communication from the Committee of Ministers in the framework of Italy’s Council of Europe Presidency.

The Assembly will decide its final agenda on the first day of the session.

Special session page

PRESS RELEASE
Communication Division
of the PACE

 

PACE President reacts to reports of civilian killings by Russian forces around Kyiv

Published in World
Tuesday, 05 April 2022 12:31

Strasbourg, 04.04.2022 – PACE President Tiny Kox has expressed shock and horror at reports of civilian killings by Russian forces withdrawing from Bucha and other towns around Kyiv.

“These horrible crimes need to be thoroughly investigated, and the perpetrators of any war crimes in this terrible war brought to justice,” he said.

The Russian Federation can no longer be a member State of the Council of Europe, PACE says

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 16 March 2022 10:00

Strasbourg, 15.03.2022 - The Russian Federation “committed grave violations of the Council of Europe Statute incompatible with the status of a member State, does not bear its undertakings before the Council of Europe and does not comply with the commitments before it”. Therefore, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) considers that the Russian Federation “can no longer be a member State of the Organisation”.

In the Assembly’s opinion, the Committee of Ministers should request the Russian Federation “to immediately withdraw from the Council of Europe”. If the country does not comply with the request, the Assembly suggests that the Committee of Ministers “determines the immediate possible date” from which the Russian Federation would cease to be a member.

The text, adopted unanimously at the end of an extraordinary plenary session, expresses solidarity with Ukraine, the Ukrainian people and PACE’s Ukrainian members, reaffirming “unwavering support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders”.

The Assembly is deeply disturbed by evidence of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Russian Federation, including attacks against civilian targets and humanitarian corridors, “indiscriminate use of artillery, missiles, and bombing” as well as hostage taking. It notes with shock the “reckless attacks” by Russian armed forces on nuclear facilities in Ukraine. Accordingly, it supports “all efforts aimed at ensuring accountability”.

The parliamentarians applauded the generosity and solidarity shown by neighbouring countries, who continue to take in hundreds of thousands of refugees, most of them women and children, while in the Russian Federation anti-war protests are harshly repressed, freedom of expression and assembly curtailed, and almost all independent news organisations closed.

In the event that the Russian Federation ceases to be a member of the Organisation, the Council of Europe should, according to PACE, envisage initiatives to be able to continue “to support and engage with human rights defenders, democratic forces, free media and independent civil society”.

In view of the participation of Belarus in the aggression, PACE Bureau should “suspend relations” between the Assembly and the country’s authorities in all its activities.

At the end of the seating, PACE President Tiny Kox stated: “we are sad that today we had to ask to expel a State which has been a member of our Organisation for over 25 years, but I’m glad that we dared to do it. There is no place in this Organisation for those who cross red lines.”

Note to editors

On 10 March last, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decided to consult the Assembly on potential further measures to be taken, after suspending the Russian Federation's rights of representation under Article 8 (*) of the Organisation's Statute on 25 February in response to "serious violations" of its statutory obligations as a member State.

According to Article 8, any member of the Council of Europe which has seriously violated Article 3 may be suspended from its right of representation and requested by the Committee of Ministers to withdraw under Article 7. If such member does not comply with this request, the Committee may decide that it has ceased to be a member of the Council from such date as the Committee may determine.

Session special page:  Ingjerd Schou’s report, adopted text, voting results, Session’s special page (verbatim of the debate, videos, pictures…)

Council of Europe leaders make joint statement on the exclusion of the Russian Federation from the Council of Europe

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 16 March 2022 09:53

The Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Chair of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers, Luigi Di Maio, the President of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, Tiny Kox, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, have made the following statement:

“As leaders of the Council of Europe we expressed on several occasions our firm condemnation of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine. This unjustified and unprovoked aggression led to the decision of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly to initiate the procedure of expulsion of the Russian Federation from the Council of Europe provided under Article 8 of the Statute.

In this framework, tonight, the Parliamentary Assembly unanimously considered that the Russian Federation should no longer be a member State of the Organisation. The Committee of Ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting tomorrow morning also in the light of today’s notification by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation of the Russian leadership’s decision to withdraw from the Council of Europe.

Through their actions in Ukraine the Russian authorities deprive the Russian people of the benefit of the most advanced human rights protection system in the world, including the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights and our vast convention system.

We express solidarity with the Russian people who, we firmly believe, share democratic values and aspire to remain part of the European family where they belong.

We remain determined to use all means at our disposal to provide support, relief and legal remedies to the Ukrainian people in their fight against the aggressor and to continue the pursuit of peace based on justice and international co-operation.

It is important in these difficult times for Europe to stand strong and united by Ukraine, its authorities and the Ukrainian people."

Tiny Kox elected PACE President

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 25 January 2022 12:06

Strasbourg, 24.01.2022 - Tiny Kox (Netherlands, UEL) has been elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Taking over from Rik Daems (Belgium, ALDE), he is PACE’s 34th President since 1949 and the third Dutch to hold this office.

He obtained an absolute majority in the first round of voting with 164 votes to 80 for the other candidate, Mariia Mezentseva (Ukraine, EPP/CD). Under the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, the President serves for a one-year term of office, which may be renewed once.

In his opening speech the newly-elected President urged the Assembly to realise the agenda it set out last year in its resolution on the strategic priorities for the Council of Europe. “This organisation must remain the pillar of democratic security, the guarantor of human rights and rule of law, as well as a platform for effective multilateralism in Europe, and to preserve and reaffirm our own identity as an independent forum for comprehensive and inclusive political dialogue and co-operation,” he said.

“Human rights, with the implementation of the Convention in all member States, must remain our top priority. To achieve this, in-depth dialogue in and with all member States and member parliaments is absolutely needed. Because only then we can uphold the authority of the European Court of Human Rights. Accession of the European Union to the Convention has also been declared by our Assembly as a strategic priority, as well as stronger emphasis on the protection of social and economic rights, and the signature and ratification of the European Social Charter. Among other priorities he stressed the importance of ratification and effective implementation of the Istanbul Convention, support for including the right to a safe, healthy and sustainable environment in the legal framework of fundamental rights, the need for democratic governance of artificial intelligence, and fighting corruption, money laundering, terrorism and violent extremism, “which all destabilise our societies”.

He recalled that “to realise our agenda, we need synergy between our activities and those of the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe and our Human Rights Commissioner. Alone we tend to be rather weak, whereas together we could show the strength one might expect from Europe’s oldest and broadest treaty-based organisation, which involves citizens from Reykjavik to Vladivostok, and from the North Pole to the Mediterranean Sea. It is a unique and most precious format.”

“It is our common obligation to help to achieve greater unity between our member states for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are our common heritage and facilitating our economic and social progress,” he stressed.

“We live in risky times. Tensions are on the rise and respect for the rule of law, human rights and democratic values is waning. Instead of greater unity, created since the fall of the Berlin Wall, we see the real and present danger of new dividing lines in Europe, at the cost of the security of our citizens. Especially now, Europe is in dire need of a meeting point, an Agora for effective governmental and inter-parliamentary diplomacy.

I am convinced that our Parliamentary Assembly should and could be today’s Agora of Europe, to discuss the fundamental affairs of Europe and its 47 member States, aimed at the benefit of our 830 million citizens. Let’s make sure that we don’t disappoint them,” Tiny Kox concluded.

PACE rapporteurs call upon all political forces to overcome extremely polarised political climate

Published in Politics
Saturday, 18 December 2021 12:26

Strasbourg, 17.12.2021 - Following their visit to the country from 8 to 10 December 2021, the  rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the Monitoring Procedure in respect of Georgia, Mr Titus Corlatean (Romania, SOC) and Mr Claude Kern (France, ALDE),  expressed their serious concern about the extremely polarised political climate in the country which is foreclosing any political co-operation and dialogue. This is undermining the political stability  and democratic consolidation of the country, putting at risk the considerable  progress made by Georgia in this respect over the years. The rapporteurs emphasised that democratic consolidation and Euro-Atlantic integration are the shared responsibility of all political forces in the country and therefore urged them, in particular the two largest parties, Georgian Dream and the United National Movement, to place the common good of the nation over any narrow party-political strategies.

The rapporteurs noted that the October 2021 local elections had, as they had feared, been  a de facto plebiscite on the ruling majority, and had resulted in an increasingly harsh and contentious electoral environment.  That said, they welcomed that, as a result of the consensual reform of the electoral code earlier this year, the legal framework for elections had considerably improved, which had benefited the organisation of the election process . At the same time they expressed their concern about the many reports of abuse of administrative resources and pressure on voters, as well as incidents of violence. They called upon the authorities to fully and transparently investigate, and where necessary address,  all allegations and reports of electoral misconduct.

The establishment of a genuinely  independent and impartial judiciary that has the full trust of Georgian citizens is an essential condition for the further democratic consolidation of the country. Recognising  the progress made in this respect, the rapporteurs urged the authorities to conduct the comprehensive and independent evaluation of the third and fourth wave that was agreed upon in the Michel agreement. Such an comprehensive evaluation, which needs to be conducted independently to ensure public trust, should identify areas of success as well as remaining shortcomings and should guide future reforms. The rapporteurs felt that the Venice Commission should play an important role in such an independent evaluation. In this respect the rapporteurs deeply regretted that the parliament had continued to appoint new Supreme Court judges, despite the calls from the international community not to..  For the rapporteurs this also underscores the need for further reform of the High Council of Justice, whose functioning remains an obstacle for the establishment of a genuinely independent and trusted judiciary.

On the occasion of their visit the rapporteurs also focussed on developments with regard to  minorities  in Georgia. In this respect they welcomed that  the Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention on National Minorities had noted the greatly improved legal framework for national minority and anti-discrimination issues. However, the rapporteurs underscored the need,  expressed by the Advisory Committee to further strengthen the quality of education for minorities as well as minority language education, and urged the authorities to do this as a priority. With regard to LGBTI issues, the rapporteurs expressed their concern about the increasing public expressions of homophobia and intolerance towards the LGBTI community. In this context they condemned the violent attacks and counter demonstrations that had occurred during Gay Pride Week in July 2021. The rapporteurs  urged the authorities to fully investigate these violent actions, and bring perpetrators to justice, including with regard to the organisers of these  violent actions and those forces enticing them.

The rapporteurs will present their report on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Georgia to the Assembly in the first half of 2022. 

PRESS RELEASE
of the PACE Communication Division

 

PACE co-rapporteurs to make monitoring visit to Georgia

Published in World
Monday, 06 December 2021 16:59

Strasbourg, 6.12.2021 – Titus Corlăţean (Romania, SOC) and Claude Kern (France, ALDE), co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of obligations and commitments by Georgia, will make a fact-finding visit to the country from 8 to 10 December 2021.

Discussions will mainly focus on the recent political developments, the October 2021 local elections, the reform of the judiciary, and the issue of minorities (ethnic and religious minorities, and the LGTBI)

In Tbilisi, Mr Corlăţean and M. Kern will have high-level meetings with representatives of the Georgian authorities, the Georgian delegation to PACE and the political factions in the Parliament.

The co-rapporteurs are also due to meet representatives of the judicial authorities, the Coalition for an independent and transparent judiciary, the Ethnic Minorities Council, the State Agency for Religious Issues, as well as representatives of the LGTBI community, the diplomatic community and NGOs.

PACE President makes working visit to Georgia

Published in Politics
Saturday, 24 July 2021 10:32

Strasbourg, 23.07.2021 – Rik Daems, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), is to make a working visit to Georgia on 27 and 28 July 2021.

In Tbilisi he is due to meet the Speaker of Parliament and Prime Minister, as well as the Foreign, Justice and Internal Affairs Ministers. Meetings are also planned with the chairs of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee and the Permanent Parliamentary Gender Equality Council, and with members of the Georgian parliamentary delegation to PACE.

The Assembly brings together 324 members from the national parliaments of the 47 member states. President: Rik Daems (Belgium, ALDE) - Secretary General of the Assembly: Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis. Political groups: SOC (Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group); EPP/CD (Group of the European People's Party); EC/DA (European Conservatives Group & Democratic Alliance); ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe); UEL (Group of the Unified European Left).

Georgian delegation to participate in PACE session

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 23 June 2021 10:26

The Summer Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) takes place on June 21-24 in Strasbourg. The Permanent Delegation members of Georgian Parliament Irakli Chikovani and Tamar Taliashvili are participating in the session.

The delegation members will join the debates and hold bilateral meetings with various delegations’ heads and PACE officials.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will mark the 10th anniversary of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention) with an event on this topic at its Summer plenary session, taking place from 21 to 24 June 2021 in a hybrid format, allowing members to participate remotely or attend in person in Strasbourg.

This event, an initiative of PACE President Rik Daems, will include speeches by: Nadia Murad, winner of the 2016 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize and the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize; Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe; Alexander de Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium; Anca Dana Dragu, President of the Romanian Senate; Elisabeth Moreno, French Minister for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities; and Dubravka Šimonovic, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences. Zita Gurmai, PACE General Rapporteur on violence against women, will highlight the way forward to make progress with the signature, ratification and effective implementation of the Istanbul Convention.

The Assembly will also hold current affairs debates on "The situation in Belarus: a threat to the whole of Europe", and “The need for an effective solidarity mechanism between European countries to relieve migratory pressure on front line countries”, with the participation of Panagiotis Mitarachis, Minister of Migration and Asylum of Greece.

In addition, the Assembly will discuss the protection of fundamental rights and the legal implications of Covid passes or certificates; the socio-economic crisis sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic; and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children’s rights.

The agenda also includes debates on ‘Should politicians be prosecuted for statements made in the exercise of their mandate?’, ‘Transparency and regulation of donations to political parties and electoral campaigns from foreign donors’, and on ‘Enhancing participation of women from under-represented groups in political and public decision-making’.

The parliamentarians will debate media freedom, the situation of the Crimean Tatars, public trust and the people’s right to know, as well as the European policy on diasporas, with the participation of the Director General of the International Organization for Migration António Vitorino. The fight against Afrophobia in Europe is also on the agenda, with the participation of E. Tendayi Achiume, the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

In the framework of the Hungarian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó will address the Assembly and answer questions. Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić will also take part in a question and answer session.

Reports on the recent parliamentary elections in Bulgaria and Albania will be discussed. PACE will also elect a judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Croatia.

 

 

 
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