Ensuring unlimited access of human rights monitoring bodies to member States

“Member States should fully co-operate with the Council of Europe and United Nations human rights monitoring mechanisms and ensure their unimpeded access to their territory,” said the Committee on Legal Affairs meeting today in Paris. “These monitoring bodies must also be able to access ‘grey zones', namely territories under the control of de facto authorities,” the committee added, welcoming the visits by the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) in Transnistria and Abkhazia.

In adopting the report by Frank Schwabe (Germany, SOC), the committee expressed support for an approach whereby States are presumed to consent to visits by human rights monitoring bodies “in circumstances where there is reason to believe that there are serious violations of fundamental human rights and dignity”. States could rebut this presumption exceptionally and deny access for reasons of national defense or public safety, the parliamentarians said.

Finally, the committee recommended strengthening cooperation between United Nations and Council of Europe human rights monitoring bodies with a view to improving their effectiveness.