On Wednesday, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decided to cease the membership of the Russian Federation in the Council of Europe as from 16 March. The decision was taken based on Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) unanimous opinion, adopted following Russia’s grave violations of the Council of Europe Statute in accordance with the due procedures.
With its unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine, a fellow member State of the Council of Europe, Russia violated the fundamental principles of the Council of Europe Statute, the UN Charter and international law.
We regret that the Russian Federation has failed to heed our calls to cease its military operations in Ukraine immediately and unconditionally.
As a result of Russia’s behaviour, Russian citizens will no longer benefit from the protections granted by the European Convention on Human Rights nor be able to take cases of violation of their human rights to the European Court of Human Rights. This is highly concerning and yet another restriction of Russian citizens’ rights.
The European Union expresses its support for human rights defenders, democratic forces, free media and independent civil society in Russia. We urge the Russian Federation to rapidly return to compliance with human rights, international law and international humanitarian law.
The Russian Federation is excluded from the Council of Europe
- On 15 March, the Parliamentary Assembly unanimously adopted an Opinion which considered that the Russian Federation can no longer be a member State of the Organisation.
- On 15 March, the Government of the Russian Federation informed the Secretary General of its withdrawal from the Council of Europe in accordance with the Statute of the Council if Europe and of its intention to denounce the European Convention on Human Rights.
- On 10 March, the Committee of Ministers decided to consult the Parliamentary Assembly on potential further use of Article 8 of the Statute.
- On 25 February, following an exchange of views with the Parliamentary Assembly, the Committee of Ministers decided to launch the procedure provided by Article 8 of the Statute and agreed to suspend the Russian Federation from its rights of representation in the Council of Europe, in accordance with its relevant Resolution on legal and financial consequences on the suspension.
Russia joined the Council of Europe on 28 February 1996.