For debate in the Standing Committee see Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure
Pour débat à la Commision permanente – Voir article 47 du Règlement
4 October 1999
Request of observer status of Mexico with the Council of Europe
Political Affairs Committee
Rapporteur: Mr Enric Palmitjavila Ribo, Andorra, Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group
On 7 December 1999, Mexico asked for the observer status with the Council of Europe. On 9 April 1999, the Committee of Ministers consulted the Assembly regarding this request.
On 11 December 1998, the Parliament of Mexico requested the observer status with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The Political Affairs Committee considers that Mexico meets the requirements of Statutory Resolution (93) 26 and that it can make a positive contribution to the work of the Council of Europe. Subsequently, it proposes to the Assembly to recommend that the Committee of Ministers grant Mexico observer status and, following the Bureau’s decision, to accept representatives of the Mexican Parliament as parliamentary observers.
I. Draft opinion
1. Mexico requested observer status with the Council of Europe on 7 December 1998, in accordance with Statutory Resolution (93) 26. In the letter addressed to the President of the Assembly on 9 April 1999, the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers asked for the Assembly’s opinion on this request.
2. The Assembly notes that Mexico is firmly committed to establishing closer relations with Europe and European institutions. It is the only Latin American country which has signed an economic association, political consultation and co-operation agreement with the European Union and which is in the process of negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Commission.
3. Mexico is also the only Latin American country which is a member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), thus demonstrating its interest in the democratic reconstruction of central and east European countries. It is also the only Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
4. The Assembly takes note of the substantial democratic reforms which Mexico has successfully conducted over the past few years in order to establish a genuine pluralist democracy in which the separation of powers is respected.
5. Mexico is party to 42 international human rights treaties, including both United Nations and regional conventions. The Assembly believes that the Mexican authorities have demonstrated their real determination to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all citizens. However, further progress still needs to be made in this field.
6. The Assembly therefore urges Mexico to implement, as soon as possible, the recommendations made by the United Nations Human Rights Committee and to continue its constructive co-operation with this body.
7. Mexico has attended Council of Europe meetings since 1995 and holds observer status with several intergovernmental committees.
8. Where the Parliamentary Assembly is concerned, parliamentary delegations from Mexico have taken part, since 1994, in the Assembly's annual debates on the activities of the OECD and, since 1996, in the debates on the activities of the EBRD. Regular contact has also been established with the Political Affairs Committee.
9. The Assembly takes note of the fact that a separate unit has been set up in the Mexican Embassy in Brussels to deal with relations with the Council of Europe and that the Mexican government has already decided to have a permanent office in Strasbourg.
10. The Assembly is of the opinion that Mexico shares the values upheld by the Council of Europe and that it can make a positive contribution to the Organisation's work.
11. The Assembly is therefore of the opinion that Mexico meets the requirements of Statutory Resolution (93) 26 and recommends that the Committee of Ministers grant Mexico observer status with the Council of Europe.
II. Draft resolution
1. Mexico submitted its request for observer status with the Council of Europe on 7 December 1998. In its Opinion No. …, the Parliamentary Assembly concluded that Mexico met the requirements of Statutory Resolution (93) 26 and recommended the Committee of Ministers to grant such status.
2. On 11 December 1998, the Parliament of Mexico requested observer status with the Parliamentary Assembly.
3. On 24 September 1999, the Bureau of the Assembly, after examination of the report of the Political Affairs Committee on this request, decided to propose to the Assembly to give a positive reply.
4. The Assembly therefore resolves:
i. to grant observer status to the Mexican Parliament;
ii. to allocate six seats to the observer delegation, which should be so composed as to ensure equitable representation of the political parties or forces present in the Parliament, and in the representation of the two houses of Parliament.
III. Explanatory memorandum by the Rapporteur
1. Mexico requested observer status with the Council of Europe on 7 December in a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Rosario Green (see Appendix 1). In her letter the Minister explains that this request is part of Mexico's policy of strengthening relations with the Council of Europe, approved by the Mexican government in 1996, and is a logical consequence of the increasing participation of representatives of Mexico in Council of Europe meetings, at both intergovernmental and parliamentary level.
2. In a letter addressed to the President of the Assembly on 9 April 1999, the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers sought the Assembly's opinion on this request.
3. Few months before, on 11 December 1998, the Mexican Parliament requested observer status with the Parliamentary Assembly, in a letter from Senator Fernando Solana, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate (Appendix 2), this Chamber of the Mexican Parliament being the competent one for external relations.
4. With a view to preparing this report and on the invitation of the Mexican authorities, the Rapporteur visited Mexico from 30 August to 3 September 1999 with Mr Petr Sich, Co-Secretary of the Political Affairs Committee (see programme of the visit in Appendix 3). He wishes to thank the Mexican Parliament and Government, as well as the authorities of the federal states of Nuevo Leon and Chiapas, for the excellent organisation of his visit and for their hospitality.
5. He wishes also to thank Mr Manuel Rodriguez-Arriaga, the Mexican Ambassador in Brussels, for his valuable help in preparing and conducting this visit, as well as the Italian Ambassador to Mexico for organising a meeting with members of the diplomatic corps of Council of Europe member states.
2. Relations between the Council of Europe and Mexico
a. intergovernmental co-operation
6. Mexico has been participating in Council of Europe meetings since 1995 when it joined the Multidisciplinary Group on Corruption. In September 1998 it was granted observer status with the Committee on Cultural co-operation, the Committee for Higher Education and Research and the ad hoc Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law. Since March 1999 it has also enjoyed observer status with the European Committee on Crime Problems. Mexican representatives have already attended several meetings of these committees, as well as specialised Ministers conferences.
7. They have also taken part in the activities of the Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity ("North-South Centre") and the European Commission for Democracy through Law ("Venice Commission").
8. The Mexican Embassy in Belgium has set up a separate unit, headed by the Ambassador himself, to deal with relations with the Council of Europe. The government has already decided to have a permanent office in Strasbourg as soon as a decision to grant observer status has been taken.
b. Parliamentary Assembly
9. In 1991 a delegation from the Mexican Senate attended the Third Strasbourg Conference on Parliamentary Democracy. Since Mexico's accession to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1994, Mexican parliamentary delegations taken part in the Assembly's annual debates on the activities of the OECD and, since 1996, in the debates on the activities of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), institution of which Mexico is also a member. Mexican representatives take part in the meetings of the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development, when reports on the activities of EBRD and OECD are examined.
10. Regular contact has also been established between the Mexican Senate and the Assembly's Political Affairs Committee. Last June the Political Affairs Committee held an exchange of views with the representatives of the different political forces represented in the Mexican Senate.
3. Criteria for the granting of observer status
a. with the Committee of Ministers
11. According to Statutory Resolution(93)26 of the Committee of Ministers (see Appendix 4) "any State willing to accept the principles of democracy, the rule of law and the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and wishing to co-operate with the Council of Europe may be granted by the Committee of Ministers, (…) observer status with the Organisation". Since 1996, Canada, the United States and Japan have held observer status with the Organisation.
12. In July 1999 the Committee of Ministers laid down further criteria, which may be added to the above (see CM/Inf(99)50 in Appendix 5), in particular the obligation for these states to:
- share Council of Europe values, as reaffirmed in particular in the Final Declaration of the Strasbourg Summit in October 1997 (including the principle of abolishing the death penalty);
- have a European connection;
- be willing and able to make a positive contribution to the work of the Council of Europe;
- maintain sustained contacts with the Council of Europe headquarters, preferably through a permanent office in Strasbourg.
b. with the Parliamentary Assembly
13. Rule 55 paragraph 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly (Appendix 6) stipulates that "the Assembly may, on the proposal of the Bureau, admit as permanent Observers official Representatives of non-member States of the Council of Europe appointed with the approval of their national Parliament". At the present time, Israeli Parliament has held observer status with the Assembly since 1961 and Canadian Parliament a since 1997.
14. The Rapporteur believes that a state which enjoys observer status with the Assembly should also fulfil the conditions laid down in the above-mentioned Statutory Resolution (93) 26. This was already the point of view of Mr Van der Linden and Mr Cem, Rapporteurs request for observer status with the Parliamentary Assembly tabled by the Canadian Parliament.
4. The Rapporteur's visit to Mexico (30 August to 3 September 1999)
15. As mentionned in paragraph 4, the Rapporteur visited Mexico from 30 August to 3 September 1999, which held a series of top-level meetings to discuss the various aspects of the request with the President of the Republic, the members of the two houses of Parliament, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Social Development, the President of the Supreme Court, the Principal State Prosecutor, the President of the National Commission for Human Rights and the Director General of the National Institute of Indigenous Affairs.
16. Given the concerns expressed by some members of the Committee, and by a number of non-governmental organisations, concerning human rights in Chiapas, the Rapporteur visited this state and met both the authorities and representatives of the indigenous population.
17. He also visited Monterrey in the state of Nuevo León (in the north of the country) which is the symbol of modern Mexico: it has a dynamic industrial sector, is open to the outside world and enjoys high growth rates and substantial foreign investment.
18. The assessment made in this report of the situation in Mexico as regards fulfilment of the conditions for the granting of observer status is based largely on the results of this visit.
19. The Rapporteur emphasises that all the representatives of the different political parties he met and all the other persons he spoke to supported Mexico's request.
5. The political system
20. Mexico is a federal republic, made up of 31 states and a federal district (Mexico City). The President of the Republic, who is also the head of government, has extensive powers. The current President is Mr Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which was elected by direct suffrage in 1994 for a term of six years.
21. Parliament is made up of two houses - the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate has 128 members - 3 for each state and the federal district, plus 32 senators elected under the proportional system. The PRI currently has 77 seats; but this absolute majority is not sufficient (a special majority being required) to revise the constitution. The National Action Party has 33 seats, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) 16, the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM) has one seat and the Labour Party (PT) also has one.
22. There are 500 members of the House of Representatives, 300 elected by the majority system and 200 by the proportional system. Since 1997 the PRI no longer has a majority and currently has 239 seats. The PRD has 125, the PAN 121, the PVEM 8 and the PT 7 seats.
23. The next parliamentary and presidential elections will take place in July 2000.
Constitutional reform of 1996
24. The political scene in Mexico was, for decades, dominated by one single party, the PRI, but the country has now undertaken substantial reforms leading to the establishment of a genuinely pluralist political system, which respects the separation of powers.
25. The constitutional reform of 1996 was a decisive factor in this process and, among other things, reinforced the democratic character of the elections and the independence of the judiciary. This reform was endorsed by the three main political parties in Mexico, the PRI, the PAN and the PRD, as well as the PT.
26. Under this reform, the independence of the Federal Institute for Elections (IFE), which is responsible for the preparation and conduct of the elections, was reinforced; clear rules were laid down with regard to the financing of political parties, their registration and their right of equal access to the media and the independence of the electoral tribunal was guaranteed. Greater political pluralism within the Senate was strengthened by adding 32 seats to be filled by the proportional system.
27. The Mexican Parliament played an important role in implementing these reforms, which had come into force at the last general election in 1997. These elections greatly reinforced the independence of the Parliament and made it more representative.
28. On 1 September 1999, the Rapporteur attended the opening sitting of Parliament after summer holiday, at which President Zedillo presented his 5th report on the government's activities. It was an honour to take part in such an event and also an excellent opportunity to observe a rich diversity of opinion in the Mexican Parliament.
29. The opposition parties wanted to engage a new electoral reform, to prevent the party in power from taking advantage of its position to influence election results (for example by offering exceptional subsidies to poor regions during the election campaign). This initiative did not, however, secure a majority of votes in the Senate.
Institutions in the federal states and municipalities
30. The reform of 1996 has also had an impact in the federal states and municipalities. For example, the opposition now governs nine states, including the capital and the state of Nuevo Leon, both of which the Rapporteur visited. 1400 of the municipalities are now governed by the PRI, 282 by the PAN, 290 by the PRD, 25 by the PT, 8 by the PVEM and 429 municipalities are governed by other political groups.
6. Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms
31. Mexico is party to 42 international treaties concerning human rights in the framework of the United Nations as well as regional conventions. They cover civic and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, the elimination of torture, slavery, servitude and forced labour, the right of asylum, the rights of women, children and indigenous peoples, racial discrimination, migrant workers' rights, international humanitarian law, etc.
32. Mindful of the need to improve the human rights situation in the country, the government adopted the "National Program for the Promotion and Strengthening of Human Rights" which, with the co-operation of civil society, aims to consolidate a human rights culture through the strengthening of institutional mechanisms and obedience to the law in general.
33. A national human rights commission was set up in 1990 and since its independence has been reinforced. This body currently fulfils the function of "ombudsman" by directly receiving citizens' complaints. In the case of admissible complaints the Commission endeavours to bring about a negotiated settlement between the parties or makes a recommendation to the competent body with a view to repairing the damage suffered by the complainant. The Commission also has special programmes designed to protect vulnerable groups (women, children, elderly people and indigenous peoples) and organises human rights courses and visits to prisons (including military prisons as from this year), etc. The Rapporteur was impressed by the serious efforts made by this commission and believes its work makes an important contribution to the improvement of the respect for human rights in Mexico.
34. It should also be pointed out that there is no death penalty in Mexico.
35. When the United Nations Human Rights Committee made its last periodical report on Mexico in July 1999, it expressed its satisfaction at the improvements which had been made since the previous report, particularly with regard to the increased independence of the national human rights commission, the launching of various human rights programmes, the enactment of the federal law for preventing and punishing torture and the introduction of mechanisms to improve the investigation of human rights violations and prevent impunity.
36. However, the Committee also expressed its concern with regard to various issues and made recommendations in respect of these, in particular the need to take action in all of the federal states to combat torture, ensure that confessions obtained by torture are not accepted as evidence in court, ensure that order is maintained by the civil security forces (and not by the armed forces), introduce procedures for the investigation of human rights violations by members of the armed forces, reform the current system of police custody and ensure full respect for the rights of women, children and indigenous peoples.
37. In general, the Rapporteur believes that Mexico has made substantial progress in ensuring respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. However, as the above-mentioned report, and the reports by several non-governmental organisations point out, numerous and sometimes grave problems continue to exist. The Mexican government must increase its endeavours to redress this situation, in particular by introducing the measures proposed by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
The conflict in Chiapas
38. In January 1994 an armed rebellion broke out in a part of the state of Chiapas in the south of Mexico between the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and the Mexican army. After 12 days' fighting, the government declared a cease-fire, enacted an amnesty law, and began negotiating with the EZLN. These talks led to the conclusion of the "San Andrès Agreement" in 1996. However, a few weeks later, the EZLN accused the government of failing to abide by the agreement and broke off the negotiations, situation which has remained the same to date. There are currently areas around Chiapas under the control of the EZLN but the government has undertaken not to use force to recover them.
39. Another tragedy took place in the municipality of Acteal in 1996 when an inter-community massacre took place, and during which 45 people were killed; soldiers stationed nearby failed to intervene. 135 persons were charged with crimes committed in Acteal and several dozen of them have already been convicted.
40. The roots of the conflict in Chiapas are deep and complex. It is a very poor region with a very high birth rate; 30% of the population are illiterate and some 30% of children of school age do not go to school; 60% of the population live in the country, often in small isolated localities. The way of life of many native inhabitants (30 % of the population of Chiapas) has not changed much for several decades, if not longer.
41. The authorities now acknowledge that the social problems in Chiapas, where the living conditions of some inhabitants (in particular natives) are often appalling, have long been ignored, as have serious human rights violations and the general failure to obey the law.
42. In view of this unsatisfactory state of affairs, the government has decided to take several measures:
a. to reinforce the rule of law, especially human rights, and in particular:
- to protect the rights of indigenous communities (a law on indigenous rights and culture in the state of Chiapas was enacted in July 1999);
- to set up conciliation tribunals within the indigenous communities;
- to carry out municipal reforms;
- to implement a programme for the release from prison of persons belonging to the indigenous population;
- to take measures against paramilitary groups, etc.
b. to improve economic and social conditions by carrying out programmes for education, health and assistance to small businesses, agrarian reform, etc.
43. Visiting Chiapas and talking with the local inhabitants, the Rapporteur was made aware of the difficulties that must be overcome before the region can achieve peace and stability. The policies implemented must be continued and intensified, obedience to the law - including the supervision of military activities - must be reinforced and the local population must be given a more important decision-making role in matters concerning them. There is no doubt that the situation in Chiapas requires close attention.
44. It should also be pointed out that the problems which led to the conflict in Chiapas also exist in other parts of the country, particularly in indigenous communities. The Rapporteur noted that the government was fully aware of this state of affairs and that both legislative and social measures had been taken. Nevertheless, he urges the Mexican government to increase its efforts in this respect.
45. After the visit of the Rapporteur, 7 September 1999, the Minister of the Interior published an open letter in which the Mexican government invites the EZLN to take up the talks that were broken off in 1996, proposes notably to associate the parliament to it and announces the creation of an independent mediation body.
7. Development of Mexico's relations with Europe
46. The development of Mexico's relations with European, or mainly European, institutions began in the economic field and was influenced by two important factors.
47. Firstly, the relatively recent opening up of the Mexican economy to the outside world and the acceptance of the rules of free trade, in particular since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by Canada, the United States and Mexico in 1994. Mexican companies, which had always operated in a protected home market, had to adjust to this change, which was often arduous but considered indispensable for future economic development.
48. The industrial regions in the north were the quickest to adjust to the new situation. Companies there have taken advantage of their proximity to the United States border and have grown rapidly, creating large numbers of jobs. There is almost no unemployment in this region; indeed there is a shortage of labour in some sectors. The Rapporteur visited several businesses in Monterrey and was impressed by their high technological standard and the professionalism of their managers.
49. The second contributing factor to this development is Mexico’s great dependence on the American economy: 80% of its trade is with the United States. A million border crossings of all kinds between Mexico and the United States every day illustrate the closeness of these links. Although this situation is currently highly profitable for the country's economy, such dependence is, nevertheless, a cause for concern and explains Mexico’s considerable efforts to diversify.
50. Mexico is, therefore, the only Latin American country to have signed an economic association, political consultation and co-operation agreement with the European Union. It is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Commission.
51. Mexico is also the only Latin American member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), thus demonstrating its interest in the democratic reconstruction of central and east European countries. It is also the only Latin American member of the OECD.
8. Mexico's contribution to the Council of Europe's work
52. The Mexican authorities believe that the Council of Europe's experience could help them to firmly establish democracy in their country. They attach particular importance to co-operation in the fields of culture, education, combating organised crime and corruption, international public law, and regional co-operation, inter alia.
53. They also believe that if Mexico had observer status with the Council of Europe, it could make a significant contribution to the Organisation, particularly with regard to:
- the strengthening of democratic institutions through the reform of political, electoral and human rights mechanisms;
- the introduction of measures fostering social development;
- experience in North-South co-operation programmes
54. The Rapporteur believes that Mexico has clearly shown its interest in Europe and European institutions. The Mexican authorities have also demonstrated their determination to draw closer to Europe in the political and cultural fields, too, and to uphold European values in terms of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Closer relations with the Council of Europe are the logical outcome of this policy.
55. The Rapporteur believes that Mexico fulfils the criteria for holding observer status with the Council of Europe. Increasing present-day global interdependence demands greater co-operation between the Council of Europe and non-member states which share the Organisation's ideals and values.
56. Efforts to stabilise democracy and ensure that human rights are fully respected in Mexico must of course continue (the same can, however, be said of many of the Council of Europe's member states). The Rapporteur is convinced that the concession of the observer status to Mexico, would continue such process and that closer relations between Mexico and the Council of Europe would be to the benefit of both parties.
57. In this context, the Rapporteur is also of the opinion that the Mexican parliament should be able to benefit from the observer status with the Assembly. He recommends wholeheartedly to the Bureau of the Assembly to propose the Assembly a decision towards this direction.
58. Concerning the number of seats to be attributed to the Mexican delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly, he also proposes that the number of seats allocated to the Canadian Parliament, ie 6, should be the maximum number allocated to a country. Experience has shown that this number is sufficient to enable observers, even those from big countries, to follow the Assembly's work, and that it also corresponds to the financial possibilities of observer countries and the space available in the Assembly Chamber.
59. The Rapporteur therefore proposes that the Parliament of Mexico be allocated six seats. Since the credentials of members of observer delegations are not individually ratified, it does not seem necessary to appoint substitutes (as was the case for the Canadian delegation). It would be up to the Mexican Parliament to designate members of the Mexican delegation to attend each part session. The observer delegation should be so composed as to ensure equitable representation of the political parties or forces present in Parliament, and the representation of the two houses.
Reporting committee : Political Affairs Committee
Reference to committee : Doc. 8377 and Reference No. 2382 of 26 April 1999
Budgetary implications for the Assembly : None
Draft opinion unanimously adopted by the committee on 23 September 1999
Draft resolution unanimously adopted by the committee on 24 September 1999
Members of the committee : Mr Ruffy (Chairman), Mrs Ojuland (Vice-Chairperson), Toshev (Vice-Chairman), MM Arzilli, Atkinson, Bársony, Behrendt, Bergqvist, Björck, Blaauw, Bloetzer, Bühler, Daly, Davis, Demetriou, Dokle, Domljan, Dreyfus-Schmidt, Mrs Durrieu, MM Fico, Gjellerod, Gligoroski, Glotov, Mrs Gogoberidze, Mr Gül (alternate: Mrs Akgönenc), Mrs Iotti (alternate: Mrs Squarcialupi), Mr Iwinski, Mrs Kautto, MM Kirilov, König, Krzaklewski (alternate: L. Adamczyk), Kuzmickas, Lopez Henares, Lupu, van der Maelen (alternate: Mr Clerfayt), Maginas, Medeiros Ferreira (alternate: Mr Roseta), Meier, Micheloyiannis, Mota Amaral, Mutman, Nedelciuc, Mrs Nemcova, MM Neuwirth, Oliynyk, Pahor, Palmitjavila Ribo, Prusak, de Puig, Mrs Ragnarsdottir, MM Schieder, Schloten, Selva, Sinka, Mrs Smith, Mrs Stanoiu, Mrs Stepová, MM Surjan, Theis, Thoresen, Timmermans, Urbain, Vella, Volcic, Zhebrovsky, N ……… (alternate: Mr Manchulenko).
N.B. The names of the members who took part in the meeting are printed in italics
Secretaries of the committee: Mr Kleijssen, Mr Sich, Mrs Ruotanen, Mrs Hugel
Programme of the visit to Mexico of Mr. Enric Palmitjavila Ribo,
Rapporteur, on 30 August – 4 September 1999
Monday 30 August 1999
10.30 Meeting with the President of the Bureau of the Mexican Senate, Senator María de los Angeles Moreno, and with other members of the Bureau
11.30 Meeting with the President of Mexico, Dr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León
13.00 Meeting with the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Mexican Senate and with members of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the House of Representatives
14.00 Meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Rosario Green
17.00 Meeting with the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, Lic. Genaro D. Góngora Pimentel
19.00 Meeting with the Minister of the Interior, Lic. Diódoro Carrasco Altamirano, and with the Co-ordinator for the Dialogue in Chiapas, Lic. Emilio Rabasa
Tuesday 31 August 1999
9.00 Meeting with the Minister of Finances, Lic. José Angel Gurría Treviño
11.00 Meeting with the Attorney General, Lic. Jorge Madrazo
13.00 Meeting with Ambassadors of the Council of Europe member States in Mexico
18.00 Meeting with the Secretary of Government of the Federal District, Lic. Rosario Robles
Wednesday 1 September 1999
10.00 Meeting with the President of the National Commission for Human Rights, Dra. Mireille Roccatti, followed by a meeting with non-governmental organisations
12.30 Meeting with the Director General of the National Institute for Indigenous Affairs (INI), Mrs. Melba Pría
13.30 Meeting with the President of the Federal Electoral Institute, Dr. José Woldenberg
17.00 Attendance to the Fifth President’s Address to the Nation, House of Representatives
20.00 Departure to Monterrey, Nuevo León
Thursday 2 September 1999
7.45 Visit to the company “Cementos Mexicanos”, S.A. (Cemex)
9.30 Visit to the “Instuto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores” Monterrey. Meeting with the Vice-dean, Dr. Héctor Moreira
10.45 Visit to the company “Celulosa y Derivados”, S.A. (Cydsa). Meeting with the President of the Board of Directors, Ing. Tomás González Sada
12.30 Meeting with the Governor of the State of Nuevo León, Lic. Fernando Canales Clariond
16.30 Departure to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas
Friday 3 September 1999
8.30 Breakfast with the Governor of the State of Chiapas, Lic. Roberto Albores
10.30 Departure for Zinacantán
11.30 Visit to the Indigenous Tribunals for Peace and Reconciliation
Meeting with Traditional Indigenous Authorities
13.00 Meetings with representatives of the Organisation of Indigenous Physicians of the State of Chiapas
Departure for San Christóbal de las Casas
13.45 Visit to the Co-operative society J’pasjoloviletick
14.30 Meeting with the Mayor of San Christóbal de las Casas and representatives of political parties in Chiapas
16.00 Meeting with representatives of indigenous coffee producers
18.00 Departure to Mexico City
Saturday 4 September 1999
8.30 Working breakfast hosted by the Under-Secretary for North America and Europe, Mr. Juan Rebolledo
STATUTORY RESOLUTION (93) 26
ON OBSERVER STATUS
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 14 May 1993
at its 92nd Session)
The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Articles 15.a and 16 of the Statute of the Council of Europe,
Having regard to the Parliamentary Assembly’s proposals for institutional reforms within the Council of Europe;
Bearing in mind the changed political situation in Europe and the world;
Convinced that this situation requires increased co-operation between the Council of Europe and non-member states sharing the Organisation’s ideals and values;
Considering that an institutional framework should be given to such co-operation;
Considering that the provisions hereinafter set out are not inconsistent with the Statute of the Council of Europe,
Resolves as follows :
I. Any State willing to accept the principles of democracy, the rule of law and the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and wishing to co-operate with the Council of Europe may be granted by the Committee of Ministers, after consulting the Parliamentary Assembly, observer status with the Organisation.
II. States enjoying observer status shall be entitled to send observers to those of the Council of Europe Committees of experts which were set up under Article 17 of the Statute and to which all member states are entitled to designate participants.
III. States enjoying observer status shall be entitled, upon invitation by the host country, to send observers to conferences of specialised ministers.
IV. Decisions on inviting states enjoying observer status to participate in the activities of Partial, Enlarged or Enlarged Partial Agreements shall be taken in accordance with the rules applicable to the respective agreement.
V. Observer status gives no right to be represented on the Committee of Ministers or the Parliamentary Assembly unless a specific decision has been taken by one of these organs on its own behalf.
VI. States enjoying observer status may appoint a permanent observer to the Council of Europe.
VII. An international intergovernmental organisation willing to co-operate closely with the Council of Europe and deemed able to make an important contribution to its work, may be granted by the Committee of Ministers, after consulting the Parliamentary Assembly, observer status with the rights set out in Articles II, III and
IV for states enjoying observer status.
VIII. The Committee of Ministers may suspend and, after consulting the Parliamentary Assembly, withdraw observer status.
CRITERIA FOR THE GRANTING OF OBSERVER STATUS
WITH THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE1
Observer status with the Council of Europe
Statutory Resolution (93) 26, on Observer Status, provides that any State may be granted observer status by the Committee of Ministers if it is willing to accept the principles of (i) democracy; (ii) the rule of law; and (iii) the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and (iv) if it is willing to co-operate with the Council of Europe.
In addition to these criteria, others might be added, notably, the requirement that such States should:
- share Council of Europe values, as reaffirmed in particular in the Final Declaration of the Strasbourg Summit (10-11 October 1997)2, and have a European connection (e.g. political, historical, cultural or economic);
- be willing and able to make a positive contribution to the work of the Council of Europe. The Secretariat should provide an assessment of any assurances given by the applicant in this respect;
- provide evidence of readiness and appropriate means for sustained contacts with the Council of Europe headquarters, preferably through a permanent office in Strasbourg.
As far as the commitments to Council of Europe standards are concerned, an assessment might be made, on the basis of a Secretariat report, of the applicant’s performance with regard to United Nations instruments.
Beyond the contributions paid by the States party to Partial Agreements, and/or Funds of the Council of Europe, applicants should also be aware of the possibility to make voluntary contributions of a financial nature to the implementation of specific Council of Europe programmes or activities.
Rules of Procedure of the Assembly
1. The Assembly may, on the proposal of the Bureau, admit as permanent Observers official Representatives of non-member States of the Council of Europe appointed with the approval of their mational Parliament.
2. Such Observers shall sit in the Assembly without the right to speak, except with the authorisation of the President of the Assembly.
They may take part in committee meetings, unles the convening notice for a meeting specifies that it shall be held in private. Meetings of the Joint Committee, the enlarged Joint Committee, the Committee on Rules of Procedure and of the Committee on the Budget and the Intergovernemental Work Programme shall not be open to observers.
3. The Bureau may also, by a three-quarters amjority, invite representatives of parliaments of other non-member States to attend and take part in a debate in the Assembly.
1 As adopted by the Committee of Ministers at the 676th Meeting of the Deputies (1-2 and 7 July 1999, A level, item 2.4).
2 It is recalled in this respect that in this Declaration, the Heads of State and Governments of the Council of Europe member States, inter alia, launched an appeal to “the universal abolition of the death penalty”.