The ‘negative tenor’ of the Copenhagen draft declaration risks undermining human rights protection

On 12-13 April 2018, in Copenhagen, the Danish chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers will hold a high-level conference on the European human rights system in the future Europe. A first draft declaration was issued on 5 February 2018.

According to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), meeting today in Paris at Standing Committee level, whilst this draft contains welcome expressions of commitment to the Convention system, its “negative tenor risks undermining human rights protection in Europe”.

The draft declaration, the Assembly believes, puts into question the universality of the rights protected by the Convention; the independence of the European Court of Human Rights, free from political influence; the scope of the Court’s jurisdiction over all matters concerning interpretation and application of the Convention; and the States Parties’ unconditional obligation to implement the Court’s judgments.

According to the Assembly, the Committee of Ministers “should continue to focus on the main challenges to the Convention system”, namely the Court’s case-load and its principal cause, which is “inadequate national implementation of the Convention in many States”.