Democracy is in distress
Based on the findings of different Council of Europe bodies, including the European Court of Human Rights, the Secretary General’s report assesses recent developments in areas including political institutions and judicial independence, freedom of expression and association, human dignity, anti-discrimination and democratic participation.
The report encourages member states to use existing and future Council of Europe mechanisms to address many of the challenges identified, on the basis of the following key principles:
- National authorities should return to fundamental democratic principles and recommit to Council of Europe legal standards, including the implementation of judgments from the European Court of Human Rights;
- Member states should fully embrace the multilateralism embodied by the Council of Europe for more than 70 years;
- Covidrelated restrictions and measures must not only be necessary and proportionate, but also limited in duration;
- National authorities should embrace democratic culture, recognising where their words, activities or legislation have diminished that culture by reducing civic space, by intimidating or preventing individuals, organisations and NGOs from exercising their freedom of speech or assembly, or by excluding people from participating fully in society.