Article 2 of the EC Treaty makes equality for women and men one of the explicit objectives of the Community Mainstreaming a gender perspective in all activities and policies is explicitly

3. EUROPEAN UNION HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVITIES ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE

3.2. MULTILATERAL ORGANISATIONS

3.2.3. Council of Europe

The Union and the Council of Europe share the objectives of defending and promoting human rights. In 1999, the Council of Europe's fiftieth anniversary year, the Union reaffirmed its

commitment to that institution's values, namely democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

The EU will continue to work for closer cooperation on this subject on the basis of the conclusions of the Dublin European Council in 1996.

In recent years there has been a significant mobilisation of EC resources in support of the Council of Europe, notably in implementing joint programmes for cooperation and assistance to Central and Eastern European countries.

The EU will continue to support and contribute actively to the implementation of the reform process within the Council of Europe, which is aimed at refocusing the Council's roles and priorities and reinforcing its cooperation with other European organisations, in particular the EU and the OSCE.

The EU recognises that the enlarged Council of Europe is an important pan-European political forum bringing together the EU and other European States and promotes a further strengthening of common human rights and policies within Europe, e.g. on the

abolition of the death penalty. The role of the COE complements EU common strategies towards a number of key States, in particular the Russian Federation. The human rights standards and values of the Council of Europe are also complementary to the criteria for future enlargement of the European Union.

The EU shares the recognition by the Council of Europe, under the concept of "democratic stability", of the interdependence between human rights, democracy, good governance and the rule of law as well as peace-building, stability and conflict prevention. The EU welcomes the increased role of the Council of Europe in regional crises (South-East Europe, Chechnya), in particular through the Stability Pact.

The EU appreciates the involvement of the newly mandated Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe in these regional crises and welcomes the agreement between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation on the presence in Chechnya of human rights experts from the Council and looks for the full cooperation of the Russian authorities in this work.

The European Union congratulates the Council of Europe on the remarkable work it has done on setting standards since it was created, and on the range of mechanisms established to check and guarantee the effective implementation of human rights.

Those rights are enshrined in particular in the European Convention on Human Rights, which established a unique and permanent Court to examine any alleged violations of the Convention by a State Party. The case law established by that European court exerts an ever greater influence on the legislation and judicial systems of the States Parties to the Convention.

The European Union also wishes to highlight the importance of the European Social Charter, intended to be the equivalent of the European Convention in the social field, which also has a monitoring system.

The Union welcomes the fundamental role played by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, a non-judicial mechanism established in 1987 by the European Convention for the

Prevention of Torture, which aims to prevent the ill-treatment which may be inflicted on persons in detention.

Overview of some issues

Rome Ministerial Conference (3/4 November 2000)

The EU looks forward to contributing to the Rome Ministerial Conference in November to mark the 50th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The main theme of the Conference will be the future of human rights protection in Europe, and particularly ways of improving such protection, notably in the case of crisis or conflict

situations.

The Conference will be an important opportunity for Europe to take stock of the new challenges facing the Convention and the Court. Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention (on

non-discrimination) will be opened for signature on that occasion.

Organisation of the European Conference against Racism

The EU will participate fully in the forthcoming Conference "All different all equal: from principle to practice. The European contribution to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance".

The Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament have all been active in the preparations for the European Regional Conference. The Community has provided funding to enable NGOs to participate and has, in addition, offered to make funding available for NGO participation in preparatory conferences in other regions.

The Union welcomes the fact that the European preparatory process for the World Conference is taking place in the framework of the Council of Europe, a regional organisation which plays a key role in the promotion of tolerant societies without discrimination, particularly through the development of an appropriate legal framework. The contribution of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) must be emphasised.

This Conference is to be held in Strasbourg from 11 to 13 October 2000. It will look to the future, be pragmatic and action-oriented, and be open to civil society; it will tackle the question of racism in the context of human rights and overall. It will stress European experience, particularly as regards analysis of the problems and good practice. It will draw up general conclusions which reflect the views of all the participants and a political declaration which will be adopted by the Member States of the Council of Europe.

Role of the Council of Europe in the Stability Pact

The Council of Europe is playing a significant role in two different «task forces» established in the framework of Working Table No 1 of the Stability Pact, the Task Force for Human Rights

Concerning the Task Force for Human Rights, the Council of Europe, in consultation with the Special Coordinator of the Pact, has developed its internal priorities and action plans,

highlighting the need for ethnic reconciliation in the region.

In the framework of the Task Force on Good Governance, the Council of Europe has identified three main areas of activity: local government, the creation of effective ombudsman institutions and public administration law.

ANNEXES

ANNEX 1

In document EU annual report on human rights for 1999/2000. 11317/00, 26 September 2000 (Page 70-74)