Six ways parliaments can ensure human rights standards are better applied in member States

The latest in a series of parliamentary seminars aimed at helping national parliaments to implement the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights took place in Budapest on 26 November 2018 – this time with the participation of parliamentarians from Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Turkey.

Participants were provided with a “checklist” of six key conditions which enable parliaments to screen new draft laws to make sure they are “Convention-compliant” and propose changes if necessary, as well as ensure that governments execute judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

Parliaments were encouraged to set up permanent parliamentary structures, such as committees or sub-committees dealing on a regular basis with human rights issues and the execution of Strasbourg Court judgments.

They could also institute permanent mechanisms to oversee government action, such as requiring the government to present an annual report to parliament on how it is executing Court rulings. Parliaments should also seek to involve national human rights institutions and civil society in this work.

The seminar brought together experts from the Court itself, the Council of Europe department which supervises execution of the Court’s judgments and PACE members, including current or former rapporteurs dealing with the involvement of parliaments in implementing Convention standards, as well as parliamentarians from the eight invited countries.

This was the fourth such seminar on this topic in six years - after similar events in London, Warsaw and Madrid - organised by PACE’s Parliamentary Projects Support Division.