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Secretary General
22/07/2014
Headlines
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 

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
18/07/2014
Headlines
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

Commissioner for Human Rights
17/07/2014
Headlines
Ukraine: urgent action needed to protect internally displaced persons

 Strasbourg, 17.07.2014 - “I am deeply concerned about the situation of internally displaced people in Ukraine. Many of the IDPs, who include women, children, and persons with disabilities, are traumatised by the hostilities and need special care. The government must urgently develop a coordinated response at the central level, first of all, by establishing a centralised registration system and designating a state entity tasked with coordination of the humanitarian response,” said today Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, publishing a letter sent to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mr Arseniy Yatsenyuk on 27 June 2014.

The Commissioner observed alarming rates of internal displacement, which have been growing daily, during his visit to Ukraine from 16 to 19 June 2014. He met with a number of persons displaced from Crimea and the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and raised their problems with the central authorities in Kyiv and regional and local officials in Odesa. The Commissioner noted that the response to the humanitarian needs, including housing and food, had been made possible by a generous solidarity of numerous individuals and non-governmental organisations, but lacked effective policy at the central level. (more...)

Press release

Reforms in Ukraine: New impetus needed

See also :
Ukraine and the Council of Europe

Council of Europe
09/07/2014
Headlines
A Council of Europe Convention to combat trafficking in human organs

Strasbourg, 09.07.2014 - The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted an international convention to make trafficking in human organs for transplant a criminal offence, to protect victims and to facilitate cooperation at national and international levels in order to prosecute more effectively those responsible for trafficking.

The Convention calls on governments to establish as a criminal offence the illegal removal of human organs from living or deceased donors:

- where the removal is performed without the free, informed and specific consent of the living or deceased donor, or, in the case of the deceased donor, without the removal being authorised under its domestic law;
- where, in exchange for the removal of organs, the living donor, or a third party, receives a financial gain or comparable advantage;
- where in exchange for the removal of organs from a deceased donor, a third party receives a financial gain or comparable advantage.

The Convention also provides protection measures and compensation for victims as well as prevention measures to ensure transparency and equitable access to transplantation services.

Due to its worldwide scope, the Convention will be open shortly for signature by member states and non-member states of the Council of Europe. Spain has offered to host the ceremony for the opening for signature by the end of 2014/beginning of 2015.

Convention and its explanatory report
Factsheet
Press release
 

Secretary General
08/07/2014
Headlines
Ukrainian Vice-Prime Minister Hroisman submits constitutional amendments for assessment by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission
Thorbjørn Jagland and Volodimir Hroisman

Strasbourg, 8 July 2014 - The Vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodimir Hroisman on Tuesday met Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland to discuss constitutional and judicial reforms. Mr Hroisman presented the main constitutional amendments concerning decentralisation, the powers of regional authorities, language policy and the prosecution. The Ukrainian Government has submitted the amendments for assessment by the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s constitutional experts.

“I welcome Ukraine requests the advice of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission on the amendments to its constitution. This is a significant step towards the necessary reforms which I hope will contribute to a stabilisation of the country”, said the Secretary General.

See also:
Ukraine and the Council of Europe

Committee of Ministers
21/07/2014
Headlines
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
18/07/2014
Headlines
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”.
 

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)
10/07/2014
Headlines
Council of Europe's anti-racism body calls for timely action against political parties that promote racism
Manifestation against racism, Milan, 2011 (Shutterstock)

Strasbourg, 10 July 2014 - The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today published its annual report, calling for timely action against extremist organisations that promote racism to avoid an escalation of violence and related criminal activities.

ECRI noted a surge in support for aggressive nationalist and populist xenophobic parties and the persistence of fascist World War II nostalgia in several member states. The report, which examines the main trends in 2013, says that more needs to be done to communicate a positive image and the advantages of a diverse society and urged countries to adopt national action plans to fight racism and discrimination.

In certain cases, the report notes, the failure of the police to discharge their obligations in full respect of human rights and the rule of law resulted in increased levels of xenophobia. ECRI calls for prompt and effective action to contain racist aggression but at the same time warns the authorities to be careful not to feed the spiral of violence.

Although 2013 was another year of tragedy in the Mediterranean, asylum policies have become more restrictive in some countries and drastic measures – including border fences – have been taken to keep migrants out. Refugees have been subject to hate campaigns.

“ECRI urges European governments to ensure that all persons in their territory can access basic human rights regardless of their immigration status,” said ECRI’s Chair Christian Ahlund. “We are asking them to establish mechanisms whereby irregular migrants are able to report abuses freely,” he stated.

ECRI notes that hate speech continues to be a major problem across Europe and will look carefully at measures taken by member states to deal with the phenomenon, including forms of expression that should be criminalised, and other kinds of intolerant and inflammatory discourse targeting vulnerable groups, such as Roma, migrants, Muslims and Jews. (more...)

Press release 

Committee of Ministers
09/07/2014
Headlines
Council of Europe Convention on fight against manipulation of sports competitions

Strasbourg, 9 July 2014 - “This new international agreement represents a major step forward in safeguarding the integrity of sport and sports ethics,” said the Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, while the Committee of Ministers adopted a Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions.

 

The purpose of this Convention is to prevent, detect, punish and discipline the manipulation of sports competitions, as well as enhance the exchange of information and national and international cooperation between the public authorities concerned, and with sports organisations and sports betting operators.

 

The Convention calls on governments to adopt measures, including legislation, notably:
- Prevent conflicts of interest in sports betting operators and sports organisations;
- Encourage the sports betting regulatory authorities to fight against fraud, if necessary by limiting the supply of sports bets or suspending the taking of bets ;
- Fight against illegal sports betting, allowing to close or restrict access to the operators concerned and block financial flows between them and consumers.

 

Sports organisations and competition organisers are also required to adopt and implement stricter rules to combat corruption, sanctions and proportionate disciplinary and dissuasive measures in the event of offences, as well as good governance principles.

 

The Convention also provides safeguards for informants and witnesses.

 

Due to its worldwide scope, the Convention shall be opened for signature by member states and non-member states of the Council of Europe on the occasion of a ministerial conference organised on 18 September at Macolin (Switzerland).

 

Context :

The drafting of this Convention began in October 2012 and received contributions from 51 delegations (including national experts in the field of sport, betting regulations and the authorities responsible for law enforcement) and collaboration with representatives of the sports movement, betting operators and lotteries.

Factsheet (fr)

 

Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions
See also: Flyer
 

Commissioner for Human Rights
08/07/2014
Headlines
Vulnerable groups require better protection in Romania

Strasbourg, 08.07.2014 - "Romania must show a much stronger commitment to effectively protecting the human rights of persons with disabilities, children and Roma", said today Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, releasing a report on his visit to Romania from 31 March to 4 April 2014.

"Many persons with disabilities, including children, are isolated from society in a growing number of institutions, where they often face inhumane and degrading treatment and, in some cases, deliberate abuse. Deinstitutionalisation should be a priority, along with effective investigations into all allegations of ill-treatment. In this context, the setting up of an efficient national mechanism for the prevention of torture would be an essential measure." The Commissioner also recommends reviewing domestic legislation to recognise the right of persons with disabilities to enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life. In addition, access to mainstream education should be improved for children with disabilities and inclusive education promoted as a matter of priority. (more...)

See also:
Romania and the Council of Europe
 

 

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