On the World and European Day Against the Death Penalty, the European Union and the Council of Europe reaffirm their opposition to the use of capital punishment in all circumstances and call for the universal abolition of the death penalty. We welcome the continued decline in the use of the death penalty, confirming the overall trend towards universal abolition. In 2019, for a second consecutive year, executions were carried out in only 20 countries around the world.
This is a historic low, but it is nonetheless 20 countries too many. We, therefore, use this occasion to call on all Members of the United Nations to support the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly in December 2020.
Digital technologies can greatly facilitate the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, boost participatory and democratic processes, and facilitate social and commercial activities. But also, they carry with them challenges that require prompt and balanced solutions.
The Council of Europe engaged in setting standards, promoting the rule of law and fostering multi-stakeholder dialogue to ensure a sustainable, people-centred and human rights-based approach to the challenges of the digital environment.
The Octopus Conference, held every 12 to 18 months by the Council of Europe, constitutes one of the biggest and finest platforms of exchange in cybercrime gathering experts from 80 countries, international organisations, private sector and academia. Each Octopus Conference has a specific focus linked to the latest cybercrime issue.
The Octopus Conference is part of the Cybercrime@Octopus project which is currently funded by voluntary contributions from Estonia, Hungary, Japan, Monaco, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, United Kingdom, USA and Microsoft as well as the budget of the Council of Europe.
This Conference of Ministers of Justice builded on the Council of Europe’s work on justice, the information society, algorithms and artificial intelligence.
The digital space now has an important place in our democratic societies. Its developments and changes provide opportunities to improve the quality and efficacy of judicial institutions, but also generate new challenges. The fundamental principles of our justice systems, such as independence and impartiality of judges, but also the rule of law and the protection of fundamental freedoms, should be protected in this new digital space. The mechanisms guaranteeing them should be strengthened or even reinvented.
A High-level conference marking the 20th anniversary of GRECO was organised under the auspices of the French Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on Monday 17 June 2019 in Strasbourg, France.
This anniversary provided the opportunity to take stock of GRECO’s achievements, assess its member States’ additional needs, anticipate emerging corruption challenges and risks and propose a forward-looking anti-corruption agenda for the Council of Europe and GRECO, as a pan-European centre of anti-corruption monitoring and expertise.
The High-level seminar on public debate as a tool for the governance of new technologies, organised by the Committee on Bioethics (DH-BIO) of the Council of Europe under the auspices of the French Presidency of the Committee of Ministers, took place on 04 June 2019 in Strasbourg.
The objective of the event was to explore why public debate on biomedicine and human rights is so important for policy makers in an era when emerging technologies have an increasing impact on our societies. It addressed how public debate can create opportunities to connect public interest with public policy and to develop new governance arrangements.
Are the services ready to face this phenomenon and what are the ethical implications of the use of new technologies? What benefits do they bring to staff and to offenders, what risks and dangers are to be avoided?
The 24th Council of Europe Conference of Directors of Prison and Probation Services discussed how new technologies influence the management of offenders in the 21st century, the positive changes brought in by them and the place of the human factor in dealing with persons in detention or under probation. The participants heard about traditional working methods with suspects and offenders, whether these are impacted by the digital transformation which rapidly enters the market of execution of penal sanctions and measures and what safeguards need to be put in place.
With the emergence of new tools that employ artificial intelligence (AI) we are witnessing another technological revolution. It affects individuals, communities and institutions at multiple, interconnected and interdependent levels. The impacts of AI are everywhere and present opportunities as well as important challenges for the lives and futures of billions of people.
The overall aim of the Conference was to engage in a critical, open and inclusive discussion on how to address AI development to maximise benefits for society and minimise risks to human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The conference brought together high-level experts from governments, international organisations, businesses, technology, academia and research, civil society and the media.