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Copenhagen, May 15th, 2018

Next year, in 2019, the Council of Europe will celebrate its 70th anniversary. Hopefully it will be in a climate of reinvigoration and not of indifference.

First among the many priorities and challenges currently facing the Council of Europe there is an urgent need for reinvigorating the notion of Member States’ collectively shared responsibility regarding the enforcement of human rights across the pan-European space, including the substantive human rights protection the Court and its case law offers.

Despite the fact that any meaningful attempt to uphold and enforce human rights in 47 Member States requires a substantive budget, the Council of Europe’s Copenhagen Declaration does not mention how to guarantee adequate funding, which is also key to reducing the Court’s backlog of cases. There is a certain discrepancy between Member States underlining how much they value the Convention system as well as the Council of Europe, and the actual funding provided for the Organisation by them through its ordinary budget. Unless sufficient funding is found, the capacity of the Convention system and the Organisation as a whole risks to be undermined, and with it the interests of the European citizens it aims to serve.

In line with the Council of Europe’s Copenhagen Declaration and the decisions adopted in relation to the Foreign Ministers’ endorsement of the Declaration, The Danish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights therefore calls upon the 128th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to secure

  • that the Court and its Secretariat, the Steering Committee for Human Rights as well as the department of execution are allocated the financial funds and other resources necessary to meaningfully fulfil their roles under the Convention and other relevant Council of Europe instruments;
  • that the Member States continue to give their explicit  and unequivocal political support to the Court and the Convention in its existing form, as well as to the values which the Council of Europe was created to protect and promote;
  • that the Member States therefore, notwithstanding necessary structural reforms, provide the Organisation with a budget enabling a strengthening of the intergovernmental cooperation in order that the Council of Europe, in the Secretary General’s word, can fulfil its mandate and thereby reinvigorate the Organisation in conformity with the outgoing Danish Chairmanship’s headline: “Strong values and a future-proof Council of Europe” !