European Jurists call for new standards on refugees

by | Apr 27, 1992 | News

Jurists from throughout Europe have called for measures to harmonize standards on the status of refugees and especially on the right to asylum.

This was one of four resolutions adopted by the European sections of the ICJ as they ended a three-day conference Saturday at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The conference had special significance because of the participation of judges, lawyers and law professors from Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Russia.

Another resolution said that the “East European states should be invited to consider, as soon as possible, ratifying the European Convention of Human Rights, the European Social Charter and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and putting into conformity their domestic legal standards”.

A third resolution asked “European states to ensure that the system of appointment, promotion, remuneration, tenure and discipline of the judiciary will respect and enhance the independence and impartiality of the judiciary”.

Finally, the European sections urged the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to proceed as rapidly as possible in adapting the machinery of the Convention of Human Rights in view of the increased number of states. The ICJ European sections had initially requested reforms in 1987, seeking a merger of the Commission and the Court of Human Rights into a single court.

The resolution on the right to asylum in Europe notes “with regret the lack of progress in the establishment of European standards for the determination of refugee status”. It further states that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees “should be invited to participate in all discussions concerning harmonization and should also be consulted in the determination of national procedures”.

Special speakers at the conference were Law Professor Christian Tomuschat of the University of Bonn; Karoly Bard, Vice Secretary of State at the Hungarian Ministry of Justice; Professor Georg Brunner of Cologne University; Judge Pierre Drai, President of the Cour de Cassation of Paris; Judge Rolv Ryssdal, President of the European Court of Human Rights; Judges Louis Pettiti and Rudolf Bernhardt of the European Court of Human Rights; Hans Danelius, member of the European Commission of Human Rights; Peter Leuprecht, Director of Human Rights at the Council of Europe, and ICJ Secretary-General Adama Dieng.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), headquartered in Geneva, is a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. Founded in 1952, its task is to defend the Rule of Law throughout the world and to work towards the full observance of the provisions in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The ICJ has been a driving force behind the adoption of numerous international declarations and standards including the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the European Convention Against Torture. It is composed of 31 distinguished jurists from around the globe and has 75 national sections and affiliated organizations.

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