EUROPEAN STANDARDS RELATING TO FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION

Jeremy McBride*

Introduction

The European standards applicable to freedom of association have been elaborated by three regional groupings of states; the Council of Europe[1], the European Union[2] and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe ('the OSCE')[3]. These standards take the form of treaties and a variety of other instruments, generally of a non-legally binding character (a mixture of 'soft law' and political undertakings). They are a mixture of reaffirmations of a general guarantee of freedom of association - sometimes focused on particular sectors such as human rights defenders, judges and non-citizens - and more detailed specifications of the requirements for giving effect to this freedom.

This article first gives some background on the sources of the standards and then outlines their requirements with respect to certain specific aspects of them. Although the right to freedom of association provides protection only for non-governmental organisations ('NGOs') that are membership-based and for those who belong to them, the position of non-membership-based NGOs has also been assured by some of the instruments discussed.

 

Sources

 The treaty guarantees of the right to freedom of association have all been adopted by the Council of Europe and comprise one of general application in Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights ('the European Convention') and more specific ones in Article 5 of the European Social Charter and of the European Social Charter (Revised) (for workers and employers)[4], Articles 7 and 8 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (for minorities) and Article 3 of the Convention of the Council of Europe on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level (for foreign residents). In addition there is the unique international obligation found in the Council of Europe Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental Organisations. This requires the states party to it to grant the legal capacity to act in them to any NGO which has been established in another ratifying state.

 

A further legal obligation regarding the right to freedom of association has been established as a result of the entry into force in 2009 of Article 12 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union ('EU')[5]. This makes the right expressly applicable to the EU and should strengthen its significance for all aspects of EU activity.

 Political undertakings in respect of the right to freedom of association can be found in a range of commitments adopted within the framework of the OSCE and its predecessor, the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe[6]. These undertakings explicitly recognise not only the right of NGOs to exist and operate but also the valuable contribution they make.

 The Council of Europe has two soft law instruments concerning the exercise of freedom of association by judges, recognising this as an important means of safeguarding their independence and defending their interests[7]. However, a much more significant instrument adopted by the Council of Europe is the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the legal status of non-governmental organisations ('Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14')[8] This covers in considerable detail matters concerning their existence and operation. Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14 serves both as a standard for political scrutiny of action taken in respect of NGOs within Europe and as a guide to the interpretation and application of legally binding instruments.

 There are two instruments of particular relevance for human rights defenders. The first is the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Council of Europe action to improve the protection of human rights defenders and promote their activities[9], building on the earlier one adopted by the United Nations General Assembly[10]. The second is the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, which suggest a range of practical measures for EU member states to support and protect human rights defenders outside the EU, notably the provision of swift assistance, the issuance of temporary visas and facilitation of temporary shelter.

 Also noteworthy is the Code of Good Practice for Civil Participation in the Decision-making Process designed to facilitate the activities of civil society organisations, adopted by the Council of Europe's Conference of International NGOs[11]. The Code draws upon practical experiences from various European countries concerning relations between NGOs and the authorities, which are based on a principle of independence, transparency and trust. Examples of good practices and tried-and-tested methods for facilitating these relations have therefore been analysed and set out in an operational document.

 All these standards are, however, meaningless without mechanisms to secure their implementation in the event of appropriate measures at the national and local level. A signal role in this regard has been played by the European Court of Human Rights, which has stopped Council of Europe member states from backsliding on their commitment under the European Convention to protect freedom of association. The resulting case law not only reflects a failure on the part of respondent states concerned to implement the right to freedom of association but is also making a crucial contribution towards establishing what are the requirements of this right in specific contexts and so is a guide in this regard for all states.

 This important work has been reinforced through the conferment of new roles on other institutions already in existence and adoption of entirely new mechanisms. Foremost amongst the former has been the invitation[12] by the Council of Europe to its Commissioner for Human Rights to strengthen the role and capacity of his Office in order to provide strong and effective protection for human rights defenders through publishing reports, intervening with state authorities and co-operating with other mechanisms. The authorisation for action thus given has already contributed to ensuring that threats to the many associations acting as human rights defenders are resisted in a cogent and high profile manner. This initiative complements the establishment by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of a focal point for such defenders and national human rights institutions. The focal point's role is to monitor closely the situation of human rights defenders, identify issues of concern and seek to promote and protect their interests, as well as to increase their capacity and to improve their knowledge of human rights standards, advocacy, monitoring and strategy formulation skills[13].

 Finally the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe has established an Expert Council on NGO law with a mandate to contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for NGOs throughout Europe by examining national NGO law and its implementation and promoting its compatibility with Council of Europe standards and European good practice. The Expert Council has thus been asked to monitor the legal and regulatory framework, as well as the administrative and judicial practices in them, which affect the status and operation of NGOs. In approaching its work the Expert Council has so far pursued a thematic approach, reporting on problems relating to the establishment of NGOS, their internal governance and liability and sanctions and liability[14].

 

 

Specific aspects

 

This section considers the following important aspects of the right to freedom of association as elaborated in European standards: formation, membership, acquisition of legal personality, objectives and activities, security, liability and sanctions and termination and dissolution.

 Formation

 Everyone, whether a natural or a legal person and whether a national or non-national (including anyone who is stateless), should normally be entitled to establish an association. Public officials should thus be generally free to form associations and any restrictions imposed on them - which must not be disproportionate - should be clearly linked to the specific character of their posts[15]. Furthermore any restrictions imposed on non-nationals are only likely to be acceptable where the objectives of the association to be established are directly political without amounting to a political party (such as a body campaigning on major issues of national policy or aspects of the international relations of the state concerned) and the scope of any restrictions is proportionate[16].

 The agreement of two persons should generally be sufficient to establish an association where this does not have legal personality. A greater number might be justifiable as a condition of acquiring legal personality (although this is often not the case) or having a particular status (such as a charitable or public benefit organisation). However, in no circumstances should the number of founders required be such as to discourage attempts to establish associations[17].

 It should generally be possible to take part in establishing associations outside one's country of residence[18], although a requirement by the state in which it is established that some of its founders be nationals and/or residents would probably be admissible. Furthermore the founders of an association should be free to determine the territorial scope of its proposed activities, i.e., whether these are to be local, regional, national or international[19].

 

Membership

 Everyone - whether a national or non-national and whether a natural or a legal person - should generally be able to seek to join an association[20] Restrictions on the ability of non-nationals to join one are only likely to be acceptable where the objects of the body concerned are directly political[21]. Public officials should not be disqualified from joining associations except where this would be incompatible with the level and nature of their responsibilities, and in particular where this would conflict with the need for political neutrality. The impact of any such disqualification or restriction should always respect the principle of proportionality[22]. It should generally be possible to belong to an association outside one's country of residence[23]. There is, however, no general right to join an association against the wishes of its existing members. Nonetheless a refusal of those members to allow some to join the organisation can be constrained in order to fulfil obligations to prevent discrimination prohibited by universal and regional human rights standards[24].

 Associations should not be under a general obligation to disclose the names and addresses of their members since this would be incompatible with the latter's right to freedom of association and the right to respect for private life[25]. However, individual members could be required to disclose their membership where this could conflict with their responsibilities as employees or office-holders[26].

 Persons should not be subjected to measures such as deportation, harassment and prosecution and conviction, as well as discrimination, disciplinary action, dismissal and other unfavourable treatment merely on account of their membership of an association. This would not preclude action being taken against a member where membership was clearly incompatible with performance of his or her responsibilities or with other obligations as an employee or office-holder. Moreover criminal sanctions can be imposed on persons belonging to an association which has been prohibited on grounds and in a manner consistent with universal and regional human rights standards[27].

 Members of associations should be able to seek remedies in the courts in order to protect their rights as members, in particular against their unjustified expulsion and against the imposition of improper sanctions for their membership[28].

 

Acquisition of legal personality

 In some instances it may be possible to rely solely on the individual legal capacities of those who wish to found an association in order to pursue its objectives. However, in practice, the pursuit of those objectives is usually something more readily undertaken through endowing the association concerned with a legal personality distinct from that of both their founders and those persons who later belong to them[29]. It is essential, therefore, that the option of acquiring legal personality always be available to those who wish to establish an association unless it can clearly be demonstrated by the state concerned that the lack of such personality will not impede the pursuit of its objectives[30]. The absence of any such impediment is of significance not only for associations for which legal personality is never sought but also for those whose application for recognition is waiting to be processed[31]. Nonetheless it should still be possible to establish entities of an informal character so long as they have, or are meant to have, more than a fleeting existence. It is thus not open to a state to provide that an association can only be established as entities with legal personality. This does not mean that certain institutional forms - including the acquisition of legal personality – cannot be required for associations in order to enjoy particular benefits, such as exemption from certain forms of taxation[32].

 Although the acquisition of legal personality can sometimes be the automatic consequence of adopting the charter or statute of the association concerned (and thus not be subject to any further formality), it is in principle acceptable for a state to insist that an entity first go through some form of approval process[33]. The formulation of any law governing the requirements involved must be sufficiently “foreseeable” for those seeking this status for their association to appreciate what is involved[34]. The authorities should thus not have an excessively wide margin of discretion to decide whether to grant legal personality to a particular association, such as through the use of imprecise terms and the lack of specific criteria for decision-making[35]. The process and requirements involved - such as the nature of the documentation to be submitted and the deadlines to be observed - should also be easy for intending founders to understand and fulfil[36]. However, legal personality can be refused where (a) the objectives and activities of an association are properly found to be contrary to the constitution or the law, (b) the proposed name of the association belongs to that of another organisation, could be confused with it or was in some other way damaging to it[37] or could in some way be genuinely regarded as misleading to the public[38] or (c) there has been a failure submit all the clearly prescribed documents that are required[39].

 No specific deadline for dealing with an application for legal personality is prescribed but any significant delay in determining such an application will be contrary to these guarantees.

 The body responsible for determining applications for the grant of legal personality should act independently and impartially in its decision making[40]. All reasons for a refusal must be lawful and must be substantiated, which precludes mere reference to a particular legal provision[41]. In addition, given the potential significance of refusals for the associations concerned and those forming them, the possibility of appealing to an independent and impartial court against such refusals must be something that can be speedily pursued[42]..

 

Objectives and activities

 Subject to a restriction on profit-making, associations should be able to pursue all the objectives and undertake all the activities open to individual persons acting alone[43]. Moreover, although an association cannot be formed to pursue specifically unlawful objectives and activities, the determination of what is unlawful for this purpose must always be compatible with universal and regional human rights standards[44]. Furthermore an association can be established to pursue a change in the law or the constitution so long as the means to be used and the outcome to be achieved are compatible with fundamental democratic principles, including in particular non-discrimination, pluralism and respect for human rights. A commitment to use force to achieve objectives, as well as the actual use of such force, would thus be unacceptable[45]. However, the authorities should always start with a presumption of lawfulness and not resort to speculation or make over-simplistic conclusions when they are assessing the admissibility of an association's proposed objectives and activities or determining the meaning of its name and of terms used in its charter or statute. A justifiable finding that the proposed objectives and activities are inadmissible before it has even begun to pursue them will thus be extremely unusual[46].

 

Security

 Persons belonging to, or working with, associations should not be subject to discrimination or penalised, persecuted or harassed in any way on account of this[47]. Such treatment should thus be prohibited by law and positive measures should be taken to secure the observance of this prohibition[48]. Furthermore allegations of such treatment occurring should be subject to independent and effective investigation leading, where appropriate, to administrative measures and/or criminal proceedings against those responsible[49]. Moreover the activities of associations and of those belonging to or working with them should not be subject to any form of surveillance and data gathering in the absence of sufficient grounds to justify an interference with the right to respect for private life of those concerned[50]. In addition the state should not provide support for efforts by private individuals and bodies to undermine the ability of associations to pursue their objectives through means that are consistent with universal and regional .human rights standards[51].

 

Accountability and supervision

 Associations can be subjected to various obligations to secure the transparency of their activities, which may also be supervised by one or more relevant public authorities. However, these obligations should only apply to those associations receiving some form of state support and supervision should be based on the presumption that the activities of such organisations are lawful, with self-regulation being preferred and the principle of proportionality being respected[52]. Associations receiving state support can, in particular, be required to (a) have their accounts audited by a person or institution independent of their management, (b) make an annual report on their accounts and activities to a supervising body and (c) to identify the proportion of their funds used for fundraising and administration[53].

 The inspection of an association's books, records and activities should only occur where there has been a failure to comply with a reporting obligation arising from state support or there are reasonable grounds to suspect that serious breaches of legal requirements that are compatible with universal and regional human rights standards have occurred or are clearly imminent[54]. However, no search and seizure measure shall be applied without objective grounds and appropriate judicial authorisation[55].

 Any requirement that an association desist from certain activity or take specific action should normally be suspended at its request pending judicial scrutiny and, if not, be subject to prompt judicial challenge[56]. Furthermore any external intervention in the running of an association should be extremely rare and would only be justified in order to bring an end to a serious breach of legal requirements which are compatible with universal and regional human rights standards where either (a) the association has failed to take advantage of an opportunity to bring itself into line with those requirements or (b) there is a clear need to prevent an imminent breach of them because of the serious consequences that would otherwise follow[57].

 

Liability and sanctions

 Associations, like everyone else, are subject to the law and civil liability and/or administrative and criminal sanctions may be incurred where they fail to respect its requirements[58]. Any liability and sanctions for acts and omissions on behalf of associations without legal personality will generally be incurred by either those who belong to them or those who acted or failed to act on their behalf but that in respect of associations with legal personality should be incurred by the associations themselves and not by those who belong to them[59]. Nevertheless the officers, directors and staff of associations with legal personality can incur liability and sanctions for their own professional misconduct or neglect of duties and breaches of the law[60]. In addition administrative and criminal sanctions can be imposed on persons belonging to, or assisting, an association that has, in full compliance with universal and regional human rights standards, been proscribed as unlawful[61].

 The liability and sanctions for acts and omissions on behalf of associations will in most instances be ones provided under laws that are generally applicable but some will arise from legally requirements specifically applicable to associations[62]. In the case of a breach of a legal requirement specifically applicable to associations, the most appropriate response should normally be a requirement for them to rectify their affairs. In some instances the imposition of a penalty on them and/or any individuals directly responsible for the breach concerned may be justified but the suspension of an association's activities will not be warranted unless the breach of the legal requirement gives rise to a serious threat to political pluralism or fundamental democratic principles. Furthermore all penalties that are imposed should respect the principle of proportionality[63].

 

Termination and dissolution

 

In ost instances the termination of an association - whether or not it has legal personality - should be the voluntary act of its highest governing body. The termination of an association through its enforced dissolution should only occur in the event of bankruptcy, prolonged inactivity or serious misconduct[64]. The termination of an association through its enforced dissolution should - apart from bankruptcy and prolonged inactivity - always be a proportionate response to an exceptional breach of the law which is supported by compelling evidence[65]. Serious misconduct is wilfully engaging in activities that are inconsistent with the objectives for which an association can be founded. The acts or omissions relied upon where this is alleged must be supported by compelling evidence and they must have been those of the association concerned or be justifiably attributed to it.

 

The enforced termination of an association should only be ordered by a court after giving the association a fair hearing. An order for termination should always be subject to prompt appeal and the effect of such an order should be suspended pending the outcome of any appeal[66].

 

 

Conclusion

 

Although the general position regarding freedom of association within Europe countries continues to be generally positive and there have been useful elaboration of standards, there is still no room for complacency as some significant difficulties do exist regarding key aspects of this freedom. In particular not all countries have an appropriate legal framework for the formation and operation of associations. Furthermore there is also an ever present risk of fresh encroachments being made upon it. The availability of the European Court of Human Rights as a means of challenging both existing difficulties and future encroachments is, in particular, of fundamental importance for securing the exercise of the right to freedom of association. It would, however, be better if this right were more effectively implemented and then properly respected by national authorities and courts. There continues to be undue acceptance of alleged threats to public security and territorial integrity as a justification for restriction both on the activities of associations and on their very existence.

 



* Barrister, Monckton Chambers, London, Visiting Professor, Central European University, Budapest. and Chair of both the Scientific Committee of the European Union's  Fundamental Rights Agency and of Interights.

[1] This has 47 member states.

[2] Its 27 member states all belong to the Council of Europe.

[3] This is made up of all the members of the Council of Europe plus the five Central Asian states, Canada, the Holy See and the United States.

[4] The standard is the same in both instruments but the parties to them differs. The first was adopted in 1961 and the second in 1996.

[5] As a consequence of the Lisbon Treaty entering into force.

[6] These include the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, Helsinki, 1 August 1975, Paragraphs 12, 13 and 26 of the Concluding Document of Vienna — The Third Follow-up Meeting, Vienna, 15 January 1989, Paragraphs 9, 10, 30, 32 and 33 of the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE, Copenhagen, 29 June 1990, the Charter of Paris for a New Europe/Supplementary Document to give effect to certain provisions contained in the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, Paris, 21 November 1990, Paragraph 43 of the Document of the OSCE Moscow Meeting, 1991, Part IV of the Report of the CSCE Meeting of Experts on National Minorities, Geneva, 19 July 1991 and the Concluding Document of Helsinki — The Fourth Follow-up Meeting, Helsinki, 10 July 1992

[7] Namely, Recommendation No. R (94) 12 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States On Independence, Efficiency and Role of Judges and the European Charter on the Statute for Judges

[8] CM/Rec(2007)14 of 10 October 2007.

[9] Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 6 February 2008 at the 1017th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies.

[10] United Nations Declaration on the right and responsibility of individuals, groups and organs of society to promote and protect universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms of 9 December 1998, General Assembly Resolution A/RES/53/144.

[11] CONF/PLE(2009)CODE1.

[12] In the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Council of Europe action to improve the protection of human rights defenders and promote their activities.

[13] See further http://www.osce.org/odihr/27867.html.

[14] For its  reports), see http://www.coe.int/t/ngo/expert_council_en.asp.

[15] See, e.g., Ahmed and Others v. United Kingdom, no. 22954/93, 2 September 1998, at para. 70.

[16] See, e.g., Paragraph 16 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007) 14.

[17] See Paragraph 17 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007) 14.

[18] See, e.g., Cyprus v. Turkey [GC], no. 25781/94, 10 May 2001, at paras. 364-371.

[19] See, e.g., Paragraph 4 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007) 14.

[20] See Article 11 of the European Convention, Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention, and Paragraphs 2 and 22 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14.

[21] See Article 16 of the European Convention and Piermont v. France, nos. 15773/89 and 15774/89, 27 April 1995.

[22] See Vogt v. Germany [GC], no. 17851/91, 26 September 1995 and  Rekvényi v. Hungary [GC], no. 25390/94, 20 May 1999.

[23] See İzmir Savaş Karşıtları Derneği and Others v. Turkey, no 46257/99, 2 March 2000.

[24] See Articles 11 and 14 of the European Convention, Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention and Paragraphs 2 and 22 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14. See also  İzmir Savaş Karşıtları Derneği and Others v. Turkey, no. 46257/99, 2 March 2000 and  Rutkowski v. Poland (dec.), no. 30867/96, 16 April 2002.

[25] See National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education v. United Kingdom (dec.), no. 28910/95, 16 April 1998.

[26] See Grande Oriente d`Italia di Palazzo Giustiniani v. Italy (No. 2), no. 26740/02, 31 May 2007 and Siveri and Chiellini v. Italy (dec.), no. 13148/04, 3 June 2008.

[27] See Paragraph 24 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14 and Danilenkov and Others v. Russia, no. 67336/01, 30 July 2009.

[28] See Articles 11 and 13 of the European Convention, Paragraphs 23 and 24 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14 and Cheall v. United Kingdom (dec.), no. 10550/83, 13 May 1985.

[29] See Gorzelik and Others v. Poland [GC], no. 44158/98, 17 February 2004, at para. 88.

[30] See Paragraph 3 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14, Sidiropoulos and Others v. Greece, no. 26695/95, 10 July 1998,  Gorzelik and Others v. Poland [GC], no. 44158/98, 17 February 2004 and Stankov and United Macedonian Organisation ‘Ilinden’ v. Bulgaria, (dec.), nos. 29221/95 and 29225/95, 29 June 1998.

[31] See, e.g., Ramazanova and Others v. Azerbaijan, no. 44363/02, 1 February 2007, at para. 59

[32] See Paragraph 3 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14.

[33] See, e.g., rmuirea Spirituală a Musulmanilor din Republica Moldova v. Moldova (dec.), no. 12282/02, 14 June 2005 and Paragraph 28 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007) 14.

[34] See, e.g., Ramazanova and Others v. Azerbaijan, no. 44363/02, 1 February 2007, at para. 60.

[35] See, e.g., Koretskyy and Others v. Ukraine, no. 40269/0.2, 3 April 2008, at paras. 48-49.

[36] See Paragraph 29 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007) 14.

[37] See, e.g., Apeh Uldozotteinek Szovetsege, Ivanyi, Roth and Szerdahelyi v. Hungary (dec.), no. 32367/96 31 August 1999.

[38] See, e.g., Gorzelik and Others v. Poland [GC], no. 44158/98, 17 February 2004), at paras. 97-105.

[39] See, e.g., rmuirea Spirituală a Musulmanilor din Republica Moldova v. Moldova (dec.), no. 12282/02, 14 June 2005

[40] See, e.g., Személy és Vagyonőrök Független Szakszervezeti Szövetsége and Csánics v. Hungary (dec.), no. 31777/04, 13 February 2007.

[41] See, e.g., Moscow Branch of the Salvation Army v. Russia, no. 72881/01, 5 October 2006, at paras. 81-95

[42] See Paragraph 38 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007) 14 and Apeh Uldozotteinek Szovetsege, Ivanyi, Roth and Szerdahelyi v. Hungary (dec.), no. 32367/96 31 August 1999.

[43] See Paragraphs, 1, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14  and 15 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14.

[44] See, e.g., Article 17 of the European Convention and Paragraph 11 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14. See also Lavisse v. France (dec.), no. 14223/88, 5 June 1991, Sidiropoulos and Others v. Greece, no. 26695/95, 10 July 1998, Refah Partisi (the Welfare Party) and Others v. Turkey [GC], nos. 41340/98, 41342/98. 41343/98 and 41344/98, 13 February 2003, Artyomov v. Russia (dec.), no .17582/05, 7 December 2006 and Zhechev v. Bulgaria, no. 57045/00, 21 June 2007.

[45] See United Communist Party of Turkey and Others v. Turkey [GC], no. 19392/92, 30 January 1998 and Refah Partisi (the Welfare Party) and Others v. Turkey [GC], nos. 41340/98, 41342/98. 41343/98 and 41344/98, 13 February 2003.

[46] See United Communist Party of Turkey and Others v. Turkey [GC], no. 19392/92, 30 January 1998 and Partidul Comunistilor (Nepeceristi) and Ungureanu v. Romania, no. 46626/99, 3 February 2005.

[47] See Paragraph 24 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14 and Paragraph 13 of the Concluding Document of Vienna — The Third Follow-up Meeting, Vienna, 15 January 1989.

[48] See the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Council of Europe action to improve the protection of human rights defenders and promote their activities.

[49] See the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Council of Europe action to improve the protection of human rights defenders and promote their activities and Süheyla Aydın v. Turkey, no. 25660/94, 24 May 2005.

[50] See McGinley and Egan v. United Kingdom (dec.), nos. 21825/93 and 23414/94, 28 November 1995, Tsavachidis v. Greece, no. 28802/95, 21 January 1999 and Segerstedt-Wiberg and Others v. Sweden, no 62332/00, 6 June 2006.

[51] See the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Council of Europe action to improve the protection of human rights defenders and promote their activities and Ensuring protection – European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders. See also Ouranio Toxo and Others v. Greece, no. 74989/01, 20 October 2005, Wilson, National Union of Journalists and Others v. United Kingdom, nos. 30668/96, 30671/96 and 30678/96, 2 July 2002 and Danilenkov and Others v. Russia, no. 67336/01, 30 July 2009.

[52] See Paragraphs 62-72 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14.

[53] See Paragraphs 62, 63 and 65 of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14.

[54] See Paragraph 68 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14.

[55] See Paragraph 69 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14.

[56] See Paragraph 71 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14.

[57] See Paragraph 70 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14.

[58] See Paragraph 7 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007).

[59] See Fraktion Sozialistischer Gewerkschafter im ÖGB Vorarlberg and 128 of its individual members (Köpruner, Falschlunger and Others) v. Austria (dec.), no. 12387/86, 13 April 1989 and Steel and Morris v. United Kingdom (dec.), no. 68416/01, 22 October 2002 and Paragraph 26 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14.

[60] See Paragraph 75 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14, Çetinkaya v Turkey, no 75569/01, 27 June 2006 and Piroğlu and Karakaya v. Turkey, nos. 36370/02 and 37581/02, 18 March 2008.

[61] See Özcan and Others v. Turkey (dec.), no. 56006/00, 13 June 2002 and Karademirci and Others v. Turkey, nos. 37096/97 and 37101/97, 25 January 2005.

[62] See Paragraph 7 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14

[63] See Paragraph 72 of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007), Christian Democratic People's Party v. Moldova, no. 28793/02, 14 February 2006 and Tür Köy Sen v. Turkey (dec.), no. 45504/04, 13 October 2009.

[64] See Paragraph 44 of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2007).

[65] See Paragraph 74 of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14.

[66] See Paragraphs 71 and of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14