Secretary General
Statement by the Secretary General on the arrest of Leyla Yunus

Strasbourg, 01.08.2014 - I am deeply concerned about the reports relating to the detention of Leyla Yunus and the opening of a prosecution case against her husband, Arif Yunus, who are both well-known human rights defenders in Azerbaijan.

I conveyed my concerns and asked for further information and clarification of this case in a telephone conversation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Mr Elnur Mammadyarov.

I expect that the ongoing enquiry by the judicial authorities into the alleged actions of these two prominent civil society representatives will meet the required Council of Europe standards.

See also:
Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe

European Social Charter
Fresh start for Europe in Turin: High-level conference on the European Social Charter as a tool for employment and social inclusion

Strasbourg/Rome, 31.07.2014 - A high-level conference on social rights: in the context of the Italian Presidency of the European Union, and with the co-operation of the City of Turin, the Council of Europe is holding an event at the city’s Teatro Regio on 17 and 18 October focusing on the European Social Charter, an instrument which provides Europe with a true social constitution.

The Charter establishes a system of legal standards which help to reduce economic and social tensions while facilitating sustainable and mutually beneficial development in the States Parties.

The main aim of the conference is to bring together European policy-makers and reaffirm the importance of social rights in times of crisis.

The main subjects to be discussed will be:

    1) Synergies between the law of the European Union and the European Social Charter;

    2) The contribution made by the Social Charter’s collective complaints procedure to respect for social rights in Europe;

    3) Austerity measures in times of crisis: impact on social rights, participation by citizens, and the European Social Charter’s contribution to overcoming the crisis. (more...)

Romania should strengthen its anti-money laundering institutions and improve their results, says Council of Europe report
Photo: Shutterstock

Strasbourg, 29.07.2014 - In a report published today, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering Committee (MONEYVAL) calls on the Romanian authorities to address important concerns in respect of key institutional players in the anti-money laundering field, notably the financial intelligence unit and supervisory authorities, and their enforcement results.

The report sets out an analysis of the implementation of international and European standards on anti-money laundering/combating financing of terrorism. (more...)

See also:
Romania and the Council of Europe

Secretary General
Say no to hate
Thorbjørn Jagland

Strasbourg, 22.07.2014 - On the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks in Utøya and Oslo, Norway, I encourage all to support and show solidarity for victims of hate crimes and for greater public awareness about the consequences of hate speech in our society.

Whether motivated by racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, a person or group disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, political views or other forms of intolerance, we say no to hate.

See also:
No Hate Speech Movement Website 
Sign the petition

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
Congress President condemns attack on Malaysia Airlines civilian flight MH17
Herwig van Staa

Odessa, 18.07.2014 - At a press conference in Odessa at the close of a high-level visit to Ukraine on 18 July 2014, the President of the Congress, Herwig van Staa, made the following statement on the attack upon flight MH17, which killed 298 people: “This attack is a horrifying criminal act. In the name of the Congress I join the international community in its unanimous condemnation of this act. The criminals who committed this despicable act must be identified and brought to justice without delay.”

See also :
Ukraine and the Council of Europe

Council of Europe
Handbook Launched on Remembrance Day of the Roma Holocaust

Strasbourg, 01.08.2014 - Even in 2014 many people have never heard of the Roma genocide or porrajmos in which at least half a million Roma died.  A new handbook, launched on August 2 – Roma and Sinti Genocide Remembrance Day – is designed to change that.

The handbook, Right to Remember, provides historical background, information on human rights and activities to help trainers and teachers work with young people to ensure they unzderstand what happened and why. In particular, it helps learners explore the prevailing attitudes which made the genocide possible and to consider the extent to which the same attitudes persist today.

The book is being launched at the Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative (30 July to 4 August) in Krakow, Poland, organised by the Council of Europe  in cooperation with the Ternype/Roma Youth Network and the Roma Educational Association „Harangos“.

1,000 young people are taking part from across Europe. The event includes a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on 2 August, where almost 3,000 men, women and children were killed in the Birkenau gas chambers 70 years ago, in 1944. 

The Council of Europe’s Roma Youth Action Plan – – is tackling discrimination and supporting the democratic participation of Roma young people.

See Also:
Roma Holocaust survivor (video)
Roma Rights


Commissioner for Human Rights
Fighting violence against women must become a top priority

Strasbourg, 29.07.2014 – "On August 1, the Istanbul Convention, a landmark treaty of the Council of Europe dedicated to preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, will enter into force. It could not come at a better time. Violence against women remains one of the most widespread human rights violations which takes place every day in Europe; intimate partner violence is still among the major causes of non-accidental death, injury and disability for women. This tragic situation stems from a variety of social, economic and cultural reasons, but a common background condition is glaring inequality between men and women. The Convention has the potential to become a powerful driver in making progress on this pressing human rights issue", says Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Human Rights Comment published today.

If we look at available data, we can better grasp the urgency of the situation. It is estimated that at least 12 women are killed by gender-related violence in Europe every day. In 2013, available statistics showed that domestic violence claimed the lives of 121 women in France, 134 in Italy, 37 in Portugal, 54 in Spain and 143 in the United Kingdom. In Azerbaijan 83 women were killed and 98 committed suicide following cases of domestic violence, while data collected by the media in Turkey reported that at least 214 women were killed by men last year, mainly because of domestic violence and often despite these women having asked the authorities for protection. Available data covering the first six months of 2014 in many European countries continue to show such alarming figures. (more...)

Secretary General
Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence

Strasbourg, 31.07.2014 - Europe is taking a leading role to protect women’s rights around the world, as the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence enters into force tomorrow.

Known also as the “Istanbul Convention” because it was opened for signature there three years ago, the convention obliges governments that have ratified it to take specific steps to counter all forms of violence against women: from stalking and sexual harassment to domestic violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

“All need to act now to improve the lives of the many women and girls who are subjected to violence, simply because of their gender,” says Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland in a video message, urging remaining member states to sign and to ratify the convention. (more...)

Convention Website
Information postcards
Video Spot

Committee of Ministers
Statement by Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, on the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in Eastern Ukraine
Elmar Mammadyarov, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

Strasbourg, 21.07.2014 - “I have been shocked by the crash of the Malaysia Airlines aircraft in Eastern Ukraine. On behalf of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, I would like to express my deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of all the victims. I call on those concerned to facilitate the rapid repatriation of the victims’ bodies out of respect for them and their loved ones. I join the appeal that a thorough, independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding this tragedy should be carried out promptly.”

Secretary General
Secretary General: Conflict in eastern Ukraine must end
Thorbjørn Jagland

Strasbourg, 18 july 2014 - Following the jet crash report in eastern Ukraine, the Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland says he is shocked over the tragic loss of life:

“I was shocked to learn about the tragic loss of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17 over eastern Ukraine. I condemn this horrific act of terror which is the ultimate reminder that the conflict in eastern Ukraine must come to an end. All of us at the Council of Europe express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this disaster. I agree with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that all parties must enable an international investigation to take place without delay, and I call on all sides to cooperate to allow for this to happen”.


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