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Council of Europe Secretary General: publication of the report on alleged illegal detentions and rendition flights in Europe

Council of Europe

Press release - 110(2006)

Strasbourg, 01.03.2006, “Europe appears to be a happy hunting ground for foreign security services” said Terry Davis at a press conference on the occasion of the publication of his report under Article 52 of the European Convention on Human Rights. “Hardly any country in Europe has any legal provisions to ensure an effective oversight over the activities of foreign agencies on their territory” he continued.

The analysis of the replies received by the governments of the Council of Europe member states to his letter of 21 November 2005 also revealed that the existing procedures to monitor who and what is transiting through European airports and airspace do not provide adequate safeguards against abuse. Indeed, no Council of Europe member state appears to have established any kind of procedure in order to assess whether civil aircraft are used for purposes which would be incompatible with internationally recognised human rights standards.

The Secretary General also said that the existing rules on state immunity create considerable obstacles for effective law enforcement in relation to the activities of foreign agents. “Immunity cannot mean impunity” he added. “Exceptions to state immunity already recognised in the case of torture should be extended to other serious violations of human rights, such as enforced disappearances.”

Terry Davis said that his inquiry will continue in the case of individual countries which provided incomplete or inadequate replies, and he announced that he will make specific proposals for new Council of Europe legal standards to deal with the deficiencies revealed by the report.

The full text of the report, the replies received from the governments, as well as the speaking notes for the Secretary General’s press conference are available at


Council of Europe Press Division
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11

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