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June 1996 - June 1997

Presented at

the 6th Ministerial Session

Riga 2-3 July 1997

The Commissioner of the Council of the Baltic Sea States

on Democratic Institutions and Human Rights,

including the Rights of Persons belonging to Minorities



On 21 February 1996, I concluded the first part of my survey on "Rights of Non-citizens, residing Legally in the Members States of the CBSS - Voting Rights and The Right to Stand for Public Office".

The survey, which will be released shortly, constitutes the second part of that survey and is based on my initial inquiries to member states from 1995 and 1996, and on material collected for my Survey on Freedom of Association soon to be submitted to the member states.

The survey examines the legal position of non-citizens, residing legally in a country, with respect to:
- formation of organizations;
- participation in political organizations;
- employment in the civil service and in other special posts.

An important objective in the development of international law in terms of non- citizen and minority rights has been to promote integration and democratic processes through participation in public life based on the principles of non-discrimination.

Principles of non-discrimination have been laid down in various international conventions as legally binding rules, and important standards have been established, e.g. within the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the European Union.

The development of minimum standards for the treatment of non-citizen populations has been reflected in several universal instruments where the distinction between citizens and non-citizens has been superseded by reference to the protection of the human rights of the individual regardless of nationality and citizenship. Correspondingly, state parties to these instruments have to a considerable extent accepted responsibilities towards all persons present on their territory.

The survey will be based on relevant provisions in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention on Nationality, the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers, the Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level, and the Declaration on Human Rights of Individuals Who are not Nationals of the Country in which They Live.

In the survey I will present an overview of the legal situation in member states and put forward recommendations, where appropriate, regarding the elimination of possible discrimination between citizens and non-citizens in the areas of membership and founding of associations and political organizations.

In particular with regard to access to civil service, my survey of existing conditions will show on the one hand that international law contains no uniform body of principles, and that member states' legislation and practice differ considerably. This situation has led me to reflect further on the rationales behind the otherwise legitimate concern of states to reserve certain posts for its citizens as compared to the demands for a more uniform implementation of principles of non-discrimination in terms of access to civil service and certain other semi-public posts. In a lecture entitled "On the Rights and Obligations of Non-Citizens" delivered on 12 May 1997, I have developed these thoughts with a view to initiate a discussion on the possibility of identifying certain common guidelines or principles in this area.

I refer to Annex III of the present Annual Report for the full text of the speech.