24 April 1995

Doc. 7286

COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

Reply to Recommendation 1252 (1994) on relations between the Council of Europe and the United Nations (adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 20 April 1995 at the 535th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)


      The Committee of Ministers thanks the Parliamentary Assembly for its contribution, in Recommendation 1252 (1994) on the relations between the Council of Europe and the United Nations, to current reflections and efforts to render the relations in question as concrete and efficient as possible.

      The Committee shares, in particular, the Assembly's view that the possibilities offered to the Council of Europe by the observer status with the United Nations General Assembly, granted by the latter's Resolution 44/6 of 17 October 1989, should be better exploited, sharing also the view that the solutions to be sought should be pragmatic. Possible solutions are currently under discussion, taking account of the Organisation's fields of activity, limited resources, as well as its primarily pan-European vocation, confirmed at the Vienna Summit. Such solutions should certainly include providing the permanent delegations of the member states in New York with details of current activities at the Council of Europe which are directly relevant to issues on the agenda of the Security Council or the General Assembly.

      It is recalled that sustained and regular dialogue in the field of human rights takes place at Secretariat level in New York and Geneva. Moreover, in January 1995, as at the same period in previous years, an informal exchange of views between the Ministers' Deputies and experts from capitals, took place in Strasbourg, on the eve of the opening in Geneva of the six-week session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

      In this context, it is a permanent concern of the Committee of Ministers to uphold the universal and indivisible character of human rights and to prevent any erosion in their standards of protection. With this in view, the Secretariat maintains contact notably with the Geneva-based United Nations' Centre for Human Rights and High Commissioner for Human Rights, an office created following the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna, June 1993).

      In the interest of optimising complementarity between the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the OSCE, periodic "tripartite" meetings are also held at Secretariat level, alternating between Geneva (at the invitation of the Deputy Secretary General who heads the United Nations Office there), Strasbourg and the capital of the country holding the Chairmanship of the OSCE. The last such meeting took place in Budapest on 17 February 1995.

      The Committee of Ministers is also concerned to maintain, and where possible, improve contact with the relevant United Nations Agencies located in Vienna, including the International Drug Control Programme.

      Where the decision on whether to include parliamentarians in national delegations to the General Assembly (paragraph 6.iv of the Recommendation) is concerned, the Committee considers that this is a matter for each member State to decide for itself.

      The Committee awaits with interest the results of the work currently being undertaken by the competent bodies of the Parliamentary Assembly, in pursuance of Order No. 500 (1994) on relations between the Council of Europe and the United Nations, notably in connection with the political challenges and restructuring facing the latter and looks forward to future dialogue with the Assembly on these questions.