What future for human rights and democracy in Europe? The role of the Council of Europe

Conference - Paris, 11 September 2009

Firmly founded in the post-war international institutions created for the defence of democracy, rule of law and human rights, European unification has steadily increased and progressed. The Council of Europe, established sixty years ago to consolidate and extend these values, is confronted today with new challenges in a Europe enlarged to 47 member countries.

In a context of world economic recession and post-conflict situations in several regions of Europe, the common values of protection of human rights and rule of law seem threatened. How are they to be reaffirmed? Should new frames of reference be proposed?

Europe’s identity is multiple and diversified; how is cultural diversity to be partnered with respect for each person’s rights to democratic citizenship for the sake of greater social cohesion?

What is the added value of Europe to the European and worldwide community? Is the Europe of values a model for other continents? Where does the Council of Europe stand in the European architecture? How is co-operation with the European Union, the OSCE and the United Nations to be strengthened and optimised?

The Paris Conference proposes to discuss these questions in three workshops bringing together personalities from the political realm, civil society and the academic sphere throughout Europe.

It is a sequel to the Madrid Declaration adopted by the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Council of Europe in May 2009 on the occasion of the Organisation’s 60th anniversary. It represents a contribution to the debate, to be held in October 2009 by its Parliamentary Assembly, on the future of the Council of Europe.

Workshop 1: Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law

Workshop 2: Democratic citizenship, cultural diversity and social cohesion

Workshop 3 : Europe and the world

Maud de Boer-Buquicchio : ''We are not looking for a new role''

'''Human rights cannot be and must not be considered as a luxury affordable only in times of stability and peace. What we need is for our member states to have the political will to respect our fundamental values at all times, not only when they are good and easy'' stated Acting Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio at the Conference organised in Paris on 11 September. The conference entitled ''What future for human rights and democracy in Europe? The role of the Council of Europe'' is held in the framework of the 60th anniversary of the Council of Europe. (more ...)

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