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Catalog

Newsletter

epub - A democratic renewal for Europe - Annual Report by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (2021)

Annual activity report
049021GBR_epub
Type of document :
Report
Format :
Epub
Language :
English
Number of pages :
148
Annual Report by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Free
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Democracy is in distress! The Secretary General of the 47-nation Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, has highlighted a “clear and worrying degree of democratic backsliding” in her latest annual report on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law across the continent.

“In many cases, the problems we are seeing predate the coronavirus pandemic but there is no doubt that legitimate actions taken by national authorities in response to Covid-19 have compounded the situation. The danger is that our democratic culture will not fully recover,” said the Secretary General.

“Our member states now face a choice. They can continue to permit or facilitate this democratic backsliding or they can work together to reverse this trend, to reinforce and renew European democracy and to create an environment in which human rights and the rule of law flourish.

“This is the right option for the 830 million people who live in the Council of Europe area.”

Based on the findings of different Council of Europe bodies, including the European Court of Human Rights, the Secretary General’s report assesses recent developments in areas including political institutions and judicial independence, freedom of expression and association, human dignity, anti-discrimination and democratic participation.

The report encourages member states to use existing and future Council of Europe mechanisms to address many of the challenges identified, on the basis of the following key principles:
- National authorities should return to fundamental democratic principles and recommit to Council of Europe legal standards, including the implementation of judgments from the European Court of Human Rights;
- Member states should fully embrace the multilateralism embodied by the Council of Europe for more than 70 years;
- Covid-related restrictions and measures must not only be necessary and proportionate, but also limited in duration;
- National authorities should embrace democratic culture, recognising where their words, activities or legislation have diminished that culture by reducing civic space, by intimidating or preventing individuals, organisations and NGOs from exercising their freedom of speech or assembly, or by excluding people from participating fully in society.
A PREFACE BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL 
KEY FINDINGS OF THE REPORT 
GUIDE TO THE REPORT 
PART I – DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS 
CHAPTER 1 – EFFICIENT, IMPARTIAL AND INDEPENDENT JUDICIARIES 
Introduction 
Judicial independence 
Judicial accountability 
Efficiency of judicial systems 
CHAPTER 2 – FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION 
Introduction 
Legal guarantees for freedom of expression 
Safety of journalists and others who speak up 
Independent and pluralistic media environment 
Reliability and trust in information 
CHAPTER 3 – FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION 
Introduction 
Freedom of assembly 
Freedom of association 
CHAPTER 4 – POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS 
Introduction 
Functioning of democratic institutions 
Local and regional democracy 
Good governance at all levels 
Free and fair elections 
CHAPTER 5 – INTEGRITY OF INSTITUTIONS 
Introduction 
Institutional integrity frameworks 
Standards of conduct for public officials 
Integrity, effectiveness and impact of accountability and enforcement mechanisms 
Criminal and non-criminal enforcement mechanisms 
PART II – DEMOCRATIC ENVIRONMENT 
CHAPTER 6 – HUMAN DIGNITY 
Introduction 
Combating trafficking in human beings 
Promoting and protecting women’s rights 
Human rights and dignity of children 
Social rights 
Humane detention conditions 
CHAPTER 7 – ANTI-DISCRIMINATION, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION 
Introduction 
Anti-discrimination 
Diversity and inclusion 
CHAPTER 8 – DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION 
Introduction 
Education for democracy 
Youth for democracy 
Culture and cultural heritage