MINELRES: OSCE/ODIHR Legislationline Newsletter - December 2005

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Tue Jan 3 17:58:22 2006

Original sender: Legislationline <Legislationline@odihr.pl> 

Dear Subscribers,
Please find enclosed Legislationline newsletter for December 2005. 
This newsletter contain a detailed account of all data and news items posted in 
the course of December 2005. Your attention is drawn to the new section III on 
Constitutions, Criminal Codes and Codes of Criminal Procedure that are 
currently being collected and gradually posted on Legislationline. This is a 
work in progress. Should you be aware of online libraries, databases or 
publications containing up-to-date information or data in respect of these 
texts, we would be grateful if you could contact Katarzyna Koryzma 
(Koryzma.Katarzyna@odihr.pl) or send a message to this e-mail account. 
Be reminded that you may access an electronic version of all newsletters 
directly from the site by clicking "newsletter" in the grey stripe at the top 
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Democratization Department
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Legislationline.org was launched as a joint EU - OSCE/ODIHR initiative with 
funding from the European Commission as well as the Austrian and Norwegian 
Governments. It currently receives financial support from the United States.

3 January 2006


December 2005

1. Non-Governmental Organizations
2. Citizenship
3. Terrorism
4. Elections
5. Gender
6. Fair Trial (Right to a)
7. Independence of the Judiciary
8. Migration
9. Death Penalty
10. Police
11. Prison Service
12. Roma and Sinti
13. Trafficking in Human Beings
14. Property Rights and Restitution
15. Freedom of Assembly

See disclaimer at the bottom of the text.

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Legislationline (www.legislationline.org) is an internet-based free-of-charge 
legislative database run by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and 
Human Rights2. It was created in 2002 to assist OSCE participating States in 
bringing their legislation into line with relevant international human-rights 
The database was designed as a tool for lawmakers, not simply as an archive of 
domestic or international legislation. Its purpose is to provide assistance to 
those who prepare and draft laws at the working level. Through Legislationline, 
they can obtain examples and options from other countriesí legislation that can 
help them make their own choices.
The database provides access to domestic and international legislation in the 
OSCE region (55 countries of Caucasus, Central Asia, Europe and North America) 
on issues relating to the protection of human rights and the furtherance of the 
rule of law.
Legislationline.org contains pieces of domestic legislation, international 
treaties, conventions or other relevant instruments along with other documents 
of relevance to the 15 subject matters addressed by the site.
Legislationline.org is the most comprehensive data-base on electoral, 
citizenship and anti- human trafficking legislation.
Legislationline.org is the only internet-based database, which exposes to a 
vast audience domestic key legislation on a range of sensitive human rights 
Texts are uploaded in English (for the most part), Russian, French, German, 
Italian and Spanish. Brief explanatory notes along with thousands of external 
links provide background information on the subjects (and more specific issues 
as listed on topic homepages) covered on the site. Hitherto 804 such summaries 
have been posted online.

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I. Legal news
The legal news featured hereafter is organized chronologically. It can only be 
searched thematically and geographically from the site.

02 Dec: EU Adopted a New Directive on Asylum Procedures and UNHCR Raises 

On 2 December, the EU adopted a Directive on Asylum Procedures. The directive, 
the last of five pieces of legislation meant to harmonize EU asylum law, sets 
minimum norms for adjudicating asylum claims. This completes the first phase of 
the development of a Common European Asylum System and triggers a move from the 
consultation procedure to full co-decision with the European Parliament in this 
area. But it could lead to breaches of international refugee law if no 
additional safeguards are introduced, according to the UN High Commissioner for 
Refugees. "This could have wider implications, eroding international standards 
of refugee protection far beyond the EU," UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said in 
Geneva. Mr. Redmond said UNHCR is particularly concerned about certain rules 
allowing states to designate "safe third countries" outside the EU, to which 
asylum seekers can be turned back without even having had their claims heard in 
an EU member state. The directive, he said, also fails to spell out clearly 
that asylum seekers cannot be sent back to their countries of origin while 
waiting for the outcome of their appeals, thus removing the right to an 
effective remedy in the event that an error has been made. In addition, it 
permits a number of other restrictive and highly controversial practices that 
are currently only contained in one or two member states" national legislation, 
but which could be inserted in the legislation of all 25 EU states. "UNHCR 
calls on member states not to aim at the lowest common level permitted by the 
directive when they implement the agreed rules into their national legislation, 
but to strive to ensure adequate safeguards and high standards of protection 
for refugees," he said. UNHCR has supported the process of harmonization of 
asylum in Europe since it started in 1999. At a meeting in Tampere, Finland in 
1999, EU countries committed themselves to the absolute respect for the right 
to seek asylum and the full application of the 1951 Geneva Convention, Mr. 
Redmond recalled. "But we are disappointed by the failure of member states to 
live up to their commitment to international asylum standards," he said in 
reference to the new directive.

02 Dec: Belarus tightens up protest laws
[BBC] The parliament of Belarus has passed a law intended to stop mass 
protests - ahead of 2006 presidential elections. The law will make it a 
criminal offence to "discredit" the Belarusian state both within Belarus and 
abroad - with a three year jail term for offenders. The new law was passed 
overwhelmingly by the lower house of the Belarusian parliament on Friday. 
Officials say it will help prevent protests similar to those that led to 
Ukraine's so-called Orange Revolution. The new law makes it a criminal offence 
to deliberately make available to foreign states or organisations, false 
information on the political, economic or military situation in Belarus, or to 
discredit Belarus or its government. Anyone found to have done so could face 
between six months and three years in prison. The bill broadens the scope of 
existing legislation - it is already illegal in Belarus to criticise the 
President, Aleksandr Lukashenko, or any top officials. The head of the 
Belarusian KGB, Stepan Sukhorenko, said the law was intended to stop a wave of 
protests like those in Ukraine last year during the Orange Revolution. Belarus 
will have presidential elections in 2006, when President Lukashenko - who has 
been in power for 11 years - intends to stand for re-election. The Belarusian 
government is accused by human rights organisations and Western governments of 
rights violations, and for preventing freedom of speech. The United States and 
the European Union have barred top Belarusian officials from entering their 
territories, and threatened tougher sanctions if next year's election is found 
to be neither free nor fair.

05 Dec: Monaco Ratifies Six Council of Europe Treaties
On 30 November 2005, Georges Grinda, Plenipotentiary Minister to the Minister 
of State of Monaco, handed to Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of 
Europe, the instruments of ratification of the following texts: - The 
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 
(immediate entry into force) - Protocol No. 4 to the Convention for the 
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, securing certain rights 
and freedoms other than those already included in the Convention and in the 
first Protocol thereto (immediate entry into force) - Protocol No. 6 to the 
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 
concerning the Abolition of the Death Penalty (entry into force: 01.12.2005) - 
Protocol No. 7 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and 
Fundamental Freedoms (entry into force: 01.02.2006) - Protocol No. 13 to the 
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 
concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances (entry into 
force: 01.03.2006) - The European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and 
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (entry into force: 01.03.2006). 

13 Dec: Denmark Introduces New Language Tests for Foreigners 
On 13 December, it was reported that the Danish governing Liberal Party wants 
foreigners to pass a Danish language test before they are allowed to move to 
Denmark. Member of Parliament Anders Fogh Rasmussen's Liberal Party wants to 
demand that foreigners pass a test in Danish before they can hope to be 
reunited with their families in Denmark. Liberal MP and spokesman on 
integration Irene Simonsen wants all Danish embassies abroad to give classes in 
Danish. "They should pass an initial Danish course and a little class teaching 
them what sort of a country they will be moving to," she said. The Netherlands 
have implemented a similar test as a precondition for family reunification. 
Social Liberal spokesman on integration affairs Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen said 
she considered the idea as proof that there were no limits to how bad Denmark 
could treat foreigners. "Denmark is already one of the countries in the world 
which impose the strictest demands for family reunification. It's so much 
easier to get to know Denmark once you're in the country," she said. The 
Liberal Party, however, has secured a majority support for the proposal in 
parliament.(Copenhagen Post)

14 Dec: Kazakhstan Ratifies UN Convention against Human Trafficking
On 14 December, it was reported that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has 
signed a law ratifying the international [UN] Convention for the Suppression of 
the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others 
and the protocol to the convention.(BBC Monitoring)

14 Dec: Belarus Moves to Limit Online Dating
On 14 December, it was reported that Belarusian lawmakers passed legislation 
that would crack down on Internet dating and online spouse searches in the 
latest in a series of stringent government controls. Authorities say the 
measure, which was passed 101-1 by the subservient lower house of parliament, 
is intended to help halt human trafficking. The legislation would place new 
restrictions on organizations that promote dating or that help match potential 
suitors with spouses, particularly via the Internet. Earlier this year, the 
government placed new, tight restrictions on Belarusianís' foreign adoptions as 
well as modeling and wedding firms. (AP Online)

14 Dec: Administrative Court Declares Illegality of Poznan Mayor's Decision
The voivodeship administrative court in Poznan ruled that the ban of the 
Equality March in November by Ryszard Grobelny, the mayor of Poznan, was 
illegal under the Polish and European laws. The Equality March was supposed to 
promote the equality of minority groups in Poland. It took place despite the 
ban on Nov. 19, and the police in Poznan briefly detained and interrogated 68 
demonstrators, who protested against discrimination based on sexual 
orientation, gender, race, and disability. The march was banned by the mayor of 
Poznan, who cited security reasons. A year earlier, a similar legal event led 
to street riots with far-right activists. The organizers of the march claimed 
that the mayor of Poznan, Ryszard Grobelny, surrendered to the demands of far-
right parties and the Catholic clergy, who believed the demonstration was 
immoral. Grobelny's decision was sued by the organizers of the march, whose 
claims were also supported by the Citizens' Rights Ombudsman. (Warsaw 

19 Dec: Draft NGO Law Consideration to be postponed
The consideration of the draft amendments to the Law on Public Associations may 
be postponed until the end of January 2006, following criticism of the draft by 
the Russian and international NGO activists, members of Russia's Civil Society 
Chamber, as well as a letter by President Putin criticizing certain provisions 
of the draft. In particular, the Civil Society Chamber has out forward a 
proposal that the draft be only finalized when the Chamber has reached its 
required composition of 126 members and is fully active (which is expected in 
January 2006). According to the statement by the Civil Society Chamber member 
Yelena Zelinskaya, the Chamber has already set up a working group of 12 persons 
to review the draft and conduct discussions with the stakeholders. 

21 Dec: Russia MPs Discuss Key NGO Bill
Russia's parliament is to resume discussion of a controversial bill that would 
tighten state control over non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The draft 
law, now in the second of three readings, will be debated in the lower house, 
the Duma. The authorities argue the changes are necessary to protect the 
security of the Russian state.
The bill has been criticized by human rights groups and western governments as 
a threat to civil society. (BBC)

21 Dec: Kyrgyzstan's President Supports Constitutional Referendum 
At the 21 December 2005 session of the Constitutional Conference, Kyrgyzstan's 
President Kurmanbek Bakiev accepted the proposal to conduct a constitutional 
referendum. The tentative questions to be put forward for the referendum will 
concern the system of government (the choice between the presidential, semi-
presidential and parliamentary republic), abolition of presidential, MP and 
judicial immunity, as well as judiciary reform. Additionally, the issue of the 
procedure of constitutional amendment may be included in the list. No timeline 
for the referendum was accepted.

29 Dec: Spanish Police Arrest 66 Persons for Human-trafficking and Smuggling 
On 21 December, it was reported that Spanish police made 66 arrests in an 
investigation of people-smuggling networks, including 21 who were accused of 
forcing women into prostitution. The arrests, carried out over several days in 
central and southern Spain, capped investigations triggered months ago after a 
woman said she had been forced to work as a prostitute after being lured from 
her country by bogus job offers, a police statement said. Police said the 
network smuggled eastern European women into Spain and sold them to brothels. 
They were rotated among several brothels around the country; a practice police 
said was aimed at preventing the women from creating support networks that 
could help them escape. (AP Worldstream)

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II. Pieces of legislation and other acts posted on Legislationaline

4. Elections

Country legislation


1. Law on the Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine (2005). Posted: 01 Dec 

13. Trafficking in Human Beings

Country legislation

1. Law of 10 August 2005 to modify several dispositions to re-enforce the fight 
against the smuggling and trafficking in human beings and against practices 
of "traders in sleep" (in French). Posted: 14 Dec 2005

* * *

III. Update on Constitutions, Criminal Codes and Criminal Procedural Codes
available from Legislationline


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