The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers today decided to consult the Parliamentary Assembly on potential further use of Article 8 of the Organisation’s Statute (*) in response to the serious violations by the Russian Federation of its statutory obligations as a member State. The Committee of Ministers considered that the aggression of the Russian Federation within the sovereign territory of Ukraine, which they condemned in the strongest terms yet again, is responsible for the immense suffering of the Ukrainian population and constitutes a breach of peace of unprecedented magnitude on the European continent since the creation of the Council of Europe.
It expressed its deep concern about the fate of the civilian victims of the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, in particular the most vulnerable persons such as the elderly, the disabled and children. In this context, the Committee deplored the atrocious bombing of a maternity/pediatric hospital in Mariupol on 9 March 2022 the perpetrators of which must be brought to justice. In addition, it strongly urged the Russian Federation to implement the interim measures indicated by the European Court of Human Rights on 1 and 4 March 2022, including with a view to ensure access of the civilian population to safe evacuation routes as well as to ensure rapid passage of humanitarian assistance.
The Committee also welcomed and encouraged the willingness of member States to host or assist a large and increasing number of refugees seeking protection outside Ukraine and also welcomed the support given by those States which have opened their borders to refugees and the willingness of the Council of Europe Development Bank to take immediate action to help its members cope with this crisis. Besides, it welcomed and encouraged the initiatives taken by Council of Europe bodies and institutions, including the Commissioner for Human Rights, to support the Ukrainian authorities and alleviate the suffering of the population.
The Parliamentary Assembly will hold an extraordinary session on 14 and 15 March to discuss the consequences of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine.
(*) Article 8: Any member of the Council of Europe which has seriously violated Article 3 may be suspended from its rights of representation and requested by the Committee of Ministers to withdraw under Article 7. If such member does not comply with this request, the Committee may decide that it has ceased to be a member of the Council as from such date as the Committee may determine.
- Russia joined the Council of Europe on 28 February 1996.
- As a result of the serious violation by the Russian Federation of its obligations under the Statute of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers on 25 February 2022 decided to suspend the Russian Federation from its rights of representation in the Council of Europe. The Secretary General notified the Russian Federation on the decision and the legal and financial consequences.