The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is the parliamentary dimension of the Council of Europe and one of its largest and most visible institutions. The PACE closely follows the political processes in Europe, and its actions are directed towards the upholding of the fundamental values and standards of the Council of Europe. The main objective of the PACE is to strengthen the parliaments of its member states, promote and protect human rights, the rule of law, and democratic governance in all European countries, and share its experience of democracy with the parliaments of the organisation’s partners and observers.
Founded in 1949, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe currently brings together 47 European countries.
There are six MPs in the Latvian delegation to the PACE (three representatives and three substitutes).
The PACE has nine standing committees:
- Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy;
- Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development;
- Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights;
- Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media;
- Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons;
- Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee);
- Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination;
- Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs;
- Committee on the Election of Judges to the European Court of Human Rights.
The Bureau and the Standing Committee are in charge of the functioning of the PACE.
During the PACE sessions, MPs of its member states elaborate and adopt resolutions on issues within the PACE’s competence, including the strengthening of democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and other topical matters.
Members of the PACE frequently participate in election observation missions to ensure more democratic proceedings.
The Council of Europe is the oldest political organisation in Europe. The aims of the Council are to protect human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, to harmonise social and legal standards of its member states, as well as to promote understanding of European identity and values by embracing cultural diversity of European nations. The Council of Europe establishes binding international standards for its member states in areas such as human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. Latvia became a member state of the Council of Europe in 1995.
Latvia’s membership in the Council of Europe allows the people of Latvia to defend their rights in the European Court of Human Rights and appeal decisions made by Latvian courts of different instances.