Doc. 10641

5 July 2005

Protection of human rights in emergency situations

Motion for a resolution

presented by Mrs Wohlwend and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

1.       The Assembly is deeply shocked by the bloodbath in Andijan (Usbekistan), where security forces opened fire on a large crowd killing hundreds of demonstrators.

2.       It strongly believes that such an act of repression must never be allowed to happen in a member state of the Council of Europe.

3.       It recalls that under Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) the suspension of Convention rights is permitted only when a public emergency threatens the life of the nation. Article 15, as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights, requires that a balance be struck, between the threat facing the State and the right of individuals as guaranteed under the ECHR.

4.       Under Article 15, even in the presence of an emergency situation, the following rights are non-derogable: right to life, prohibition of torture and slavery, and ‘no punishment without law’.

5.       Outside the scope of emergency situations threatening the life of the nation, state security forces can also be confronted with difficult situations during mass demonstrations or similar events. In order to deal with them in an acceptable way, they must have instructions founded on the respect for human rights and the rule of law.

6.       In this respect, the Assembly is worried about information from NGOs made public in the aftermath of events in Blagovashchensk (Bashkortostan) in December 2004 that a secret order allegedly allows Russian interior forces indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force against demonstrators and setting up of so-called ‘filtration centres’.

7.       The recent brutal dispersal of a peaceful women's demonstration in Ankara also points to the need for clarification of instructions to police in such situations.

8.       The Assembly therefore resolves to examine more closely the legislation and practical instructions to state security forces in place in the Council of Europe's member states, and to ask the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) to update its 1995 study on this subject in view of recent events.

Signed (see overleaf)

Signed 1:

WOHLWEND, Renate, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD

BINDIG, Rudolf, Germany, SOC

CILEVIČS, Boriss, Latvia, SOC


EÖRSI, Mátyás, Hungary, ALDE

ERR, Lydie, Luxembourg, SOC


EXNER, Václav, Czech Republic, UEL

HOLOVATY, Serhiy, Ukraine, ALDE

IVANOV, Sergei, Estonia, ALDE

JURGENS, Erik, Netherlands, SOC


1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party

      ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group