Strasbourg, 06.12.2013 – The Committee of Ministers has made public today decisions and resolutions adopted at its last special human rights meeting for 2013 (3–5 December) during which it has examined the state of implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. The texts adopted and working documents are available on the Committee of Ministers’ website.
Texts adopted at concern Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, the Republic of Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The list of cases concerned is presented on the website of the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.
More information on the execution process and on the state of execution in all cases pending for supervision, as well as important reference texts (including the new working methods) can be found on the website of the Department for the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, and in the Committee of Ministers’ Annual Reports on its supervision of execution.
Strasbourg, 6 December 2013 - Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland pays tribute to Nelson Mandela:
"Nelson Mandela was the world's greatest human rights defender of our time.
His life showed that human rights can prevail and a single person can change the destiny of a nation".
Strasbourg, 04/12/2013 - “Many governments in Europe imposing austerity measures have forgotten about their human rights obligations, especially the social and economic rights of the most vulnerable, the need to ensure access to justice, and the right to equal treatment. Regrettably, international lenders have also neglected to incorporate human rights considerations into many of their assistance programmes,” said today Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing a research paper about the impact of the economic crisis on the protection of human rights.
The Commissioner points out that austerity measures have undermined human rights in several ways: “National decisions on austerity measures and international rescue packages have lacked transparency, public participation and democratic accountability. In some cases, onerous conditionalities have prevented governments from investing in essential social protection, health and education programmes. When the EU as a central actor in the crisis makes decisions about economic governance in member states and when the Troika sets conditions for rescue packages and loan agreements, the impact on human rights should be better taken into account.”
“The economic crisis has had dire consequences on vulnerable groups, in particular on children and young persons. Youth unemployment in Europe has reached record levels, with millions of young people unemployed with scarred futures. Cuts in child and family benefits, health care and education have also added a strain on millions of families. An increasing number of children are dropping out of school to find employment and support their families, risking life-long setbacks in educational achievement, and providing the conditions for job insecurity coupled with the re-emergence of child labour and exploitation.”
The Commissioner stresses the urgent need to reinvigorate the European social model based on the foundations of human dignity, intergenerational solidarity and access to justice for all. (more...)
Strasbourg, 4 December 2013 - Council of Europe Secretary General Jagland met today in Kiev with the leaders of the parliamentary parties, the speaker of the Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister.
The Secretary General's offer of assistance received a positive response from all sides concerned. The aim of the visit is to try to reduce tensions in Ukraine, a member state of the Council of Europe, and to see if a dialogue is possible.
At a media conference in Kiev, the Secretary General provided his assessment of the situation.
Strasbourg, 2 December 2013 - On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland calls on member states to move with greater speed from a medical to a human rights-based approach towards disability.
“Around 15% of the European population has some form of disability. In some member states persons with disabilities are still institutionalised against their wish. Some are deprived of the right to vote. Others are put aside the mainstream society, to attend specialised and segregated schools. Those who do find work are often employed in sheltered workshops without any protection under national labour law provisions.
European society and member states’ authorities must safeguard the right of all Europeans to full participation in society and should encourage active citizenship and inclusion from a very early age.
I want all Member States to examine carefully the status of persons with disabilities against the blueprint of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 and to work with the Council of Europe to ensure that all Europeans can fully enjoy their human rights,” Secretary General Jagland said.
Strasbourg/Kyiv, 06.12.2013 - The three main opposition parties in Ukraine and Prime Minister Azarov have accepted Secretary General Jagland's plan to establish an expert advisory panel to oversee the investigation into the violent incidents in Kyiv on 30 November and 1 December.
"The investigation and its results must be accepted by all concerned. Therefore, the expert advisory panel to oversee the investigation will consist of one member nominated by the opposition, one member nominated by the government, and one member from the international community.
Transparency and acceptance of this investigation will be the first step to rebuilding trust in Ukraine", Jagland said.
After talks with opposition parties and Prime Minister Azarov on Wednesday, Mr Jagland's plan was endorsed by opposition leaders Klitschko, Yatsenyuk and Tyahnybok on Thursday. Prime Minister Azarov agreed to the expert panel in a telephone conversation with Secretary General Jagland later the same day. Mr Jagland also met with Foreign Minister Kozhara and Justice Minister Lukash.
Kiev, 5 December 2013 - Following his visit to Ukraine, Secretary General Jagland published the following statement:
"The aim of our discussions with government and opposition representatives has been to find avenues for dialogue in view of a political solution to the current crisis in Ukraine.
The people of Ukraine must be able to have confidence in their political system and in the judiciary.
A precondition for any political solution is a thorough and transparent investigation into the violent incidents of last Saturday and Sunday.
These events will leave an open wound in Ukrainian society if the truth is not revealed.
The investigation and its results must be accepted by all concerned.
This is why I have proposed to create an expert advisory panel to oversee the investigation, consisting of one member nominated by the opposition, one member nominated by the government, and one member from the international community.
The Council of Europe is available to nominate a respected and experienced expert in human rights.
Transparency and acceptance of this investigation will be the first step to rebuilding trust in Ukraine", he said.
Strasbourg, 03.12.2013 – The Council of Europe and Microsoft have signed an agreement on Microsoft’s contribution to the new Cybercrime@Octopus project. Through this project, the Council of Europe will assist countries in all regions of the world to implement the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime and strengthen data protection and rule of law safeguards. Activities from 2014 to 2016 include annual conferences on cybercrime.
Microsoft has partnered with the Council of Europe since 2006 in the framework of the Global Project on Cybercrime.
“Cooperation with the private sector is essential, not only to prevent and control cybercrime, but also to protect privacy and other fundamental rights. I am pleased to continue and develop the partnership with Microsoft that we started in 2006,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.
“We are pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with the Council of Europe to promote the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. Creating a safer, more trusted and better protected computing environment is our priority. Safeguarding the privacy, security and safety of people is our commitment. Supporting the work of the Council of Europe in this important area is key to achieving both,” said Dorothee Belz, Vice-President Legal and Corporate Affairs for Microsoft in Europe.
Strasbourg, 02.12.2013 – The jury of the Council of Europe Raoul Wallenberg Prize awarded its first-ever prize to Elmas Arus, a young Roma film director from Turkey. The 2014 prize recognises Ms Arus’ outstanding contributions to raising awareness about the conditions of the Roma people in Turkey and elsewhere. She has sought to improve their situation, particularly that of Roma women, and to bring discrimination against them to the forefront of political debate.
“The hard work carried out by Elmas Arus, with courage and perseverance, is a truly impressive contribution to the fight against deep-rooted prejudice and discrimination suffered by Roma populations all over our continent,” said Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, as he announced the jury’s decision.
Between 2001 and 2010, Ms Arus and a group of volunteers from her university visited more than 400 Roma neighbourhoods in 38 cities in Turkey. They produced 360 hours of documentation, and created an hour-long documentary on the challenges of the different Roma groups in Turkey. Subsequently, Ms Arus established the Zero Discrimination Organisation, which has paved the way for other similar groups: there are now over 200 Roma associations in Turkey. Her work has played a crucial role in the elaboration of the Turkish government’s “Roma opening” policy of 2009.
The award ceremony of the prize -which amounts to 10.000 euros- will take place on 17 January 2014 at the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg.
Strasbourg, 2 December 2013 - In a statement today, Secretary General Jagland calls on all parties concerned in Ukraine to return to peaceful dialogue and offers the assistance of the Council of Europe.
"The situation in our member state Ukraine is of great concern to the Council of Europe.
I call upon all parties in Ukraine to refrain from violence and return to peaceful dialogue.
The Council of Europe is ready to assist Ukraine and its people to resolve the current difficult situation in line with the country's commitments under the European Convention on Human Rights and the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law", he said.