In February 2010 the Council of Europe issued detailed recommendations to its member states on the human rights of members of the armed forces.

Originally drafted by Council of Europe staff, the recommendations were revised by a working party of selected member states, including the United Kingdom, which was represented by senior Ministry of Defence legal and policy officials.

Significant contributions to the discussions were made by the UK MOD delegation, and by a EUROMIL observer delegation, which included Douglas Young, Chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation (BAFF).

The Committee of Ministers agreed to review implementation of the recommendations two years after its adoption in February 2010.

It's important to understand that the recommendations are for member states to act upon, and are not in themselves legally binding.

The recommendations don't represent "best practice" but, rather, that lower standard which all member countries from Portugal to the Russian Federation were prepared in the negotiations to accept as a recommendation  - subject to the various provisos and get-outs in the text, as well as those in the ECHR itself.

Much of the document may therefore read like a statement of the obvious.

But it covers many real-life situations - what in BAFF circles are sometimes referred to as "grassroots issues".


Original documents

Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)4 :

Explanatory memorandum to Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)4 :