All branches of state power (the executive, legislature and
judiciary) are bound to ensure respect for human rights. National
parliaments are often overlooked in this context. Yet they are key
to the effective implementation of international human rights norms
at national level and are in an excellent position to protect human
rights through legislating, being involved in the ratification of
international human rights treaties, holding the executive to account
(in particular concerning the swift and effective implementation
of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights), liaising with
national human rights institutions and fostering the creation of a
pervasive human rights culture.
The report examines ways to better exploit parliaments’ potential
in this respect and proposes basic principles to be respected by
the parliaments of the Council of Europe member states.
National parliaments should establish appropriate parliamentary
structures to ensure rigorous and regular monitoring of compliance
with and supervision of international human rights obligations,
where possible through dedicated human rights committees whose remits
should be clearly defined and enshrined in law.