Exclusion of the Russian Federation from the Council of Europe

Exclusion of the Russian Federation from the Council of Europe
Statement on the Exclusion of the Russian Federation on the basis of Article 8 of the Council of Europe’s Statute
The Group of Socialists, Democrats and Greens of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe strongly supported the actions undertaken by the Organisation since the start of the Russian Federation’s unlawful, unjustified and unprovoked attack against Ukraine. We fully support the result of the unanimous vote taken by the Assembly on 15th March, so as the decision of the Committee of Ministers taken on the 16th, and deeply regret the circumstances that led us to this grievous decision. This is a sad, but inevitable result.

We reiterate our condemnation in the strongest possible terms of the Russian Federation’s actions. We express our unwavering solidarity with the Ukrainian people and our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We call on the Russian authorities to unconditionally cease hostilities, return to diplomacy and protect civilian lives at all costs.

We are witnessing a tragic, yet historical moment for the Council of Europe, as we see one of its biggest member States leaving. This decision was not taken with a light heart. At the same time, this Russian Federation cannot be part of this Organisation anymore. It is time for crystal clarity and determination in defence of the core values of our Organisation, and we are glad to see such a strong, united and coherent response from all members of the Group of Socialists, Democrats and Greens, all other members of the Parliamentary Assembly, as well as Member States.
The decisions taken last week mark a watershed moment in our Organisation.

On the 15 March 2022, the Assembly, showing its determination and unity, unanimouly adopted its Opinion which clearly expressed that the Russian Federation can no longer be a member State of the Council of Europe.

On the 15 March 2022, the Governement of the Russian Federation informed the Secretary General of the Organisation, that it withdraws from the Council of Europe in accordance with the Statute and that it denounces the European Convention of Human Rights.

On the 16 March 2022, the Committee of Ministers, following the unanimous Opinion given by the Assembly, decided that the Russian Federation ceases to be a member of the Council of Europe.

We regret to see how the Russian Federation is depriving its own citizens of the rights and protection it worked to obtain over the last 26 years. The European Convention of Human Rights will continue to remain competent to deal with applications brought against the Russian Federation concerning acts committed within the six months following the exclusion of the member State.

It is worth remembering that in 2020 alone, the ECHR received about 62,000 applications, of which almost 14,000 were from citizens of the Russian Federation. We express our sorrow and concern for the citizens of the Russian Federation.

We will maintain our commitment to dialogue and diplomacy. We hope that the Russian Federation will one day meet the conditions of joining the Council of Europe again, by respecting our core principles of democracy, rules of law and human rights. Until then, we will continue to denounce its criminal actions and support Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Strasbourg, 21st March 2022