Council of Europe Journal for the week of 29 September 2014:
- PACE President, Anne Brasseur, pays an official visit to Azerbaijan
- Recruitment and financing of terrorism and organised crime – a Council of Europe conference discusses the issues
- Russia’s accused of intercepting telephone data without a court order
The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Anne Brasseur, has been paying an official visit to Azerbaijan
Ms Brasseur met with President Aliyev and also held meetings with leaders of political parties in the parliament, members of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE and the Prosecutor General. She also met human rights activists to discuss the issue of journalists and others held in detention. Afterwards, Ms Brasseur commented on her visit, saying that: more progress was needed in Azerbaijan regarding freedom of expression, freedom of association, and judicial independence.
And, speaking about the recent arrests of civil society activists, the President said it was a source of “grave concern”. She went on to say that the detentions highlighted the need to address systemic deficiencies in the operation of justice in Azerbaijan as noted in the findings of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of the pre-trial detention of Ilgar Mammadov.
NEWS IN BRIEF
- A Council of Europe international conference in the Spanish city of Málaga has been discussing ways of tackling recruitment to terror and organised crime groups. The conference, made-up of judges, prosecutors, policy makers and other terrorism experts, has also been addressing a range of issues, including radicalisation and recruitment in prisons and ways of stopping the funding of terror campaigns.
- The editor-in-chief of a publishing company claims that Russian authorities intercepted telephone data without judicial authorisation. The grand chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has begun hearing Roman Zakharov’s case, in which he alleges that his right to respect for private life and correspondence has been violated by law enforcement agencies. Mr Zakharov, who lives in St Petersburg, also argues that he has no legal remedy in Russia for his complaint under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, namely, his right to respect for private life. The case continues.
- The Council of Europe’s anti-human trafficking group, GRETA, has issued its first ever report on Iceland. In it, GRETA welcomes steps taken by Iceland to prevent and combat human trafficking, including new legislation and two national action plans. But, the report highlights the need for further efforts to address trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation. There has been only one officially recognised victim of trafficking in Iceland. And, GRETA says that Italy has taken important steps to prevent and combat human trafficking but warns that a number of challenges remain. In its first report on Italy, GRETA welcomes the development of a legal framework for combating trafficking in, and the provision of, long-term assistance to victims. At the same time, GRETA is urging Italian authorities to improve the identification of victims of trafficking by introducing a national ID scheme.
- The Council of Europe’s drugs policy unit, the Pompidou Group, has been discussing the little-talked-about subject of the environmental damage caused by illegal substances. At an annual meeting in Strasbourg, delegates have heard that researchers in the United States calculated that cannabis manufacture uses one percent of the USA’s electricity. Delegates have also heard that an area of Colombian rainforest the size of a football pitch is destroyed every time 7-kilogrammes of cocaine is made.
- Highlights next week: The results of the second Vaclav Havel Human Rights prize – there are nominees from Israel, Malta and Azerbaijan – plus all the rest of the news fromthe Parliamentary Assembly session.