CouncilEurope

Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level

Strasbourg, 5.II.1992

Explanatory Report
Franšais
Translations


Preamble

The member States of the Council of Europe, signatory hereto,

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms;

Reaffirming their commitment to the universal and indivisible nature of human rights and fundamental freedoms based on the dignity of all human beings;

Having regard to Articles 10, 11, 16 and 60 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

Considering that the residence of foreigners on the national territory is now a permanent feature of European societies;

Considering that foreign residents generally have the same duties as citizens at local level;

Aware of the active participation of foreign residents in the life of the local community and the development of its prosperity, and convinced of the need to improve their integration into the local community, especially by enhancing the possibilities for them to participate in local public affairs,

Have agreed as follows:

Part I

Article 1

  1. Each Party shall apply the provisions of Chapters A, B, and C.
    However, any Contracting State may declare, when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, that it reserves the right not to apply the provisions of either Chapter B or Chapter C or both.
  2. Each Party which has declared that it will apply one or two chapters only may, at any subsequent time, notify the Secretary General that it agrees to apply the provisions of the chapter or chapters which it had not accepted at the moment of depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

Article 2

For the purposes of this Convention, the term "foreign residents" means persons who are not nationals of the State and who are lawfully resident on its territory.

Chapter A – Freedoms of expression, assembly and association

Article 3

Each Party undertakes, subject to the provisions of Article 9, to guarantee to foreign residents, on the same terms as to its own nationals:

  1. the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises;
  2. the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of their interests. In particular, the right to freedom of association shall imply the right of foreign residents to form local associations of their own for purposes of mutual assistance, maintenance and expression of their cultural identity or defence of their interests in relation to matters falling within the province of the local authority, as well as the right to join any association.

Article 4

Each Party shall endeavour to ensure that reasonable efforts are made to involve foreign residents in public inquiries, planning procedures and other processes of consultation on local matters.

Chapter B – Consultative bodies to represent foreign residents at local level

Article 5

  1. Each Party undertakes, subject to the provisions of Article 9, paragraph 1:
    1. to ensure that there are no legal or other obstacles to prevent local authorities in whose area there is a significant number of foreign residents from setting up consultative bodies or making other appropriate institutional arrangements designed:
      1. to form a link between themselves and such residents,
      2. to provide a forum for the discussion and formulation of the opinions, wishes and concerns of foreign residents on matters which particularly affect them in relation to local public life, including the activities and responsibilities of the local authority concerned, and
      3. to foster their general integration into the life of the community;
    2. to encourage and facilitate the establishment of such consultative bodies or the making of other appropriate institutional arrangements for the representation of foreign residents by local authorities in whose area there is a significant number of foreign residents.
  2. Each Party shall ensure that representatives of foreign residents participating in the consultative bodies or other institutional arrangements referred to in paragraph 1 can be elected by the foreign residents in the local authority area or appointed by individual associations of foreign residents.

Chapter C – Right to vote in local authority elections

Article 6

  1. Each Party undertakes, subject to the provisions of Article 9, paragraph 1, to grant to every foreign resident the right to vote and to stand for election in local authority elections, provided that he fulfils the same legal requirements as apply to nationals and furthermore has been a lawful and habitual resident in the State concerned for the 5 years preceding the elections.
  2. However, a Contracting State may declare, when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, that it intends to confine the application of paragraph 1 to the right to vote only.

Article 7

Each Party may, either unilaterally or by bilateral or multilateral agreement, stipulate that the residence requirements laid down in Article 6 are satisfied by a shorter period of residence.

Part II

Article 8

Each Party shall endeavour to ensure that information is available to foreign residents concerning their rights and obligations in relation to local public life.

Article 9

  1. In time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation, the rights accorded to foreign residents under Part I may be subjected to further restrictions to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such restrictions are not inconsistent with the Party's other obligations under international law.
  2. As the right recognised by Article 3.a carries with it duties and responsibilities, it may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
  3. The right recognised by Article 3.b may not be subject to any restrictions other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
  4. Any measure taken in accordance with the present article must be notified to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who shall inform the other Parties. The same procedure shall apply when such measures are revoked.
  5. Nothing in this Convention shall be construed as limiting or derogating from any of the rights which may be guaranteed under the laws of any Party or under any other treaty to which it is a party.

Article 10

Each Party shall inform the Secretary General of the Council of Europe of any legislative provision or other measure adopted by the competent authorities on its territory which relates to its undertakings under the terms of this Convention.

Part III

Article 11

This Convention shall be open for signature by the member States of the Council of Europe. It is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Article 12

  1. This Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date on which four member States of the Council of Europe have expressed their consent to be bound by the Convention in accordance with the provisions of Article 11.
  2. In respect of any member State which subsequently expresses its consent to be bound by it, the Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of the deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval.

Article 13

  1. After the entry into force of this Convention, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe may invite any State not a member of the Council of Europe to accede to this Convention, by a decision taken by the majority provided for in Article 20.d of the Statute of the Council of Europe and by the unanimous vote of the representatives of the Contracting States entitled to sit on the Committee.
  2. In respect of any acceding State, the Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of deposit of the instrument of accession with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Article 14

Undertakings subsequently given by Parties to the Convention in accordance with Article 1, paragraph 2, shall be deemed to be an integral part of the ratification, acceptance, approval or accession of the Party so notifying, and shall have the same effect as from the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of the receipt of the notification by the Secretary General.

Article 15

The provisions of this Convention shall apply to all the categories of local authorities existing within the territory of each Party. However, each Contracting State may, when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, specify the categories of territorial authorities to which it intends to confine the scope of this Convention or which it intends to exclude from its scope.

Article 16

  1. Any State may at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, specify the territory or territories to which this Convention shall apply.
  2. Any State may at any later date, by a declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, extend the application of this Convention to any other territory specified in the declaration. In respect of such territory, the Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of receipt of such declaration by the Secretary General.
  3. Any declaration made under the two preceding paragraphs may, in respect of any territory specified in such declaration, be withdrawn by a notification addressed to the Secretary General. The withdrawal shall become effective on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of six months after the date of receipt of such notification by the Secretary General.

Article 17

No reservation may be made in respect of the provisions of this Convention, other than that mentioned in Article 1, paragraph 1.

Article 18

  1. Any Party may at any time denounce this Convention by means of a notification addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
  2. Such denunciation shall become effective on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of six months after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary General.

Article 19

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall notify the member States of the Council and any State which has acceded to this Convention of:

  1. any signature;
  2. the deposit of any instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession;
  3. any date of entry into force of this Convention in accordance with Articles 12, 13 and 16;
  4. any notification received in application of the provisions of Article 1, paragraph 2;
  5. any notification received in application of the provisions of Article 9, paragraph 4;
  6. any other act, notification or communication relating to this Convention.

In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this Convention.

Done at Strasbourg, this 5th day of February 1992, in English and French, both texts being equally authentic, in a single copy which shall be deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall transmit certified copies to each member State of the Council of Europe and to any State invited to accede to this Convention.