Reporting Cycle for CoE Oversight Bodies

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The Council of Europe (CoE) treaties also require the UK to report to the relevant oversight body. The oversight bodies are all based in Strasbourg, France, the headquarters of the CoE. Unlike the UN reporting processes, representatives from the UK do not present the report or undergo a face-to-face review before the CoE oversight bodies in Strasbourg.

The process has three basic stages:

  • Typically, the UK State report is first examined by the relevant expert Committee of the treaty.

  • The Committee’s evaluation of the UK’s human rights performance is transferred to the Committee of Ministers, a political body on which representatives of the UK and other CoE Member States sit.

  • The Committee of Ministers discusses the report and adopts recommendations which the UK should implement in order to improve its performance under the treaty.


European Social Charter 


Oversight bodies:

European Committee of Social Rights 

Governmental Committee

Committee of Ministers 

Report frequency:

Annual 

 

The provisions of the Charter have been divided into four thematic groups and every year the UK must report on one thematic group:

Employment, training and equal opportunities

Health, social security and social protection

Labour rights

Children, family, migrants

  • The European Committee of Social Rights examines the reports and adopts conclusions on whether the situation in the UK is in compliance with the Charter.

  • The Governmental Committee is composed of representatives of the States signed up to the European Social Charter and it is tasked with preparing the work of the Committee of Ministers. The Governmental Committee considers the UK State report and the conclusions of the European Committee of Social Rights. The Governmental Committee will then present a report to the Committee of Ministers, which may include proposals for recommendations to the UK. 

  • The Committee of Ministers reviews the reports of the European Committee of Social Rights and the Governmental Committee and closes each supervision cycle by adopting a resolution and issues recommendations, requesting the UK to bring national practice into conformity with the Charter. 


European Charter for Regional or Miniority Languages 


Oversight bodies:

European Committee of Experts 

Committee of Ministers 

Report frequency:

Every 3 years

 

Every three years, the UK reports to the ComEx on domestic legislation, policy and practice in relation to its human rights commitments under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and on all developments since its previous periodic review. 

  • The ComEx examines the State report and organises an “on-the-spot” visit to the country, to meet authorities, the national human rights institutions and non-governmental organisations to evaluate the application of the Charter. It also examines additional information sent to it by organisations.

  • The ComEx prepares an evaluation report including proposals for recommendations, which it provides to the Committee of Ministers.

  • The Committee of Ministers reviews the report of ComEx and closes the review cycle by adopting an evaluation report and a resolution with recommendations on what further measures the UK should take to bring national practice into conformity with the charter.


Framework convention for the Protection of National Minorities 


Oversight Bodies:

Advisory Committee

Committee of Ministers 

Report frequency:

Every 5 years

 

Every five years, the UK reports to the Advisory Committee the oversight body of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM). The State report is based on outlines adopted by the Committee of Ministers and possible specific questionnaires by the Advisory Committee which set out the structure of the report.

  • The Advisory Committee examines the State report as well as information received from national human rights institutions and other organisations. The Advisory Committee often carries out regular country-visits.

  • The Advisory Committee adopts an Opinion, which is transmitted to the UK and the Committee of Ministers. The UK and other countries can comment on the Opinion within four months. The Opinion is made public four months after transmission.

  • After the Opinion is adopted, the Committee of Ministers passes a Resolution containing conclusions and recommendations, which is published.


Council of Europe on Action Agaisnt Trafficking in Human Beings 


Oversight bodies:

Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA)

Committee of the Parties 

Report frequency:

Every 4 years

 

At the beginning of each reporting cycle GRETA will autonomously define which provisions of the Convention will be examined and determine the most appropriate means to carry out the evaluation. This involves the UK completing GRETA’s questionnaire and responding to possible follow-up questions. For this purpose, the UK must designate a contact person in the UK who is responsible for distributing the Questionnaire to the different national bodies concerned, coordinating their replies and submitting to GREATA a consolidated version of the official reply to the Questionnaire. 

  • If GRETA considers it necessary, it may also request information from national human rights institutions and civil society and/or organise country visits in order to obtain more information.

  • GRETA will review all the information received and adopt a report, which is transmitted to the UK for comments. When the comments have been received, GRETA will prepare its final report and conclusions which will be sent at the same time to the UK and Committee of Parties. GRETA’s final report together with the UK’s comments will be made public and is not subject to modification by the Committee of the Parties.

  • The Committee of the Parties is composed of the representatives on the Committee of Ministers that are party to the Convention and other countries that have ratified the treaty. It will, on the basis of the report and conclusions of GRETA, make recommendations to the UK concerning the measures to be taken as a follow-up to GRETA’s Report. This may involve the UK submitting information on implementation of the recommendations prior to the next periodic review.