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Flash report

No. 90/ 22 June 2012

Subject: Human Rights Council – 20th session – statement under Interactive Dialogue on human rights and counter-terrorism

1. On 20 June 2012, the Council of Europe attended the side-event entitled « Protection of Journalists: UN and regional approaches for better protection », organized by Austria, and moderated by Ambassador Christian Strohal. The panellists were Frank La Rue, UN Special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Dunja Mijatovic, Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Sylvie Coudray, UNESCO.

2. The representative of the Council of Europe made an intervention from the floor. At the same time, the texts of the pertinent decision of the Committee of Ministers (18 January 2012) and the recent comments of the Commissioner of Human Rights on the protection of journalists from violence (5 June 2012) were made available to the audience. Copies of the European Convention of Human Rights have also been distributed.

3. Due to the time constraints there have not been too many comments after the presentations of the panellists. However, Emin Milli, dissident and blogger in Azerbaijan, made reference in its reaction on the positions taken the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the freedom of press in Azerbaijan.

4. I am grateful to the Media Division for the prompt reaction and documentation made available to this Office. What struck me in particular was “Research report on positive obligations under article 10 of ECHR”. I believe that indeed there is nothing more special for the specific UN environment than the uniqueness of the impact of European Court of Human Rights judgments on the evolution of human rights protection in Europe. The research of this kind on any major human rights issues, could be the object of very interesting side-events organized by the Council of Europe on the occasion of HRC session or independently. Certainly, to make such events meaningful, one has to count on the presence of high level experts from Strasbourg.

5. Please consider therefore the possibility to organize such a meeting on the protection of journalists on the occasion of the September Human Rights Council session or in December 2012, on Human Rights Day
.