Strasbourg, 23.05.2013 – The meeting of the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will be held in Yerevan on Friday 31 May 2013 under the Armenian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers. On this occasion, PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon will hold high-level meetings with the President of the Republic Serzh Sargsyan, the Speaker of the National Assembly Hovik Abrahamyan, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian.
After the opening of the Smeeting by PACE President, the Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly will address participants. The parliamentarians will then hold an exchange of views with the Armenian Minister for Foreign Affairs, chairing the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for a six-month period beginning on 16 May. The discussions will focus on Armenia’s priorities during its Chairmanship and other issues in the framework of the Assembly’s ongoing political dialogue with the Committee of Ministers. (more...)
Monika Hauser, founder of medica mondiale – an NGO which assists women and girls in war and crisis zones throughout the world – and Asma Jilani Jahangir, Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist, have been awarded the “North-South Prize” from the Council of Europe for 2012.
The Council of Europe has awarded this prize every year since 1995 to two candidates who have stood out for their exceptional commitment to promoting human rights, intercultural exchange and North-South solidarity.
Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva presented the awards in the Senate Room of the Portuguese Parliamentary Assembly in Lisbon.
Paying tribute to the “courage and exemplary endeavours of two distinguished laureates”, Ms Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, stressed that both prize winners “risked their lives to improve the condition of women, irrespective of ethnic or religious origin.” She called upon states around the world to sign and ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. “Stopping violence against women is an urgent requirement of human rights protection”.
Based in Lisbon, the Council of Europe’s European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity – more commonly known as the North-South Centre – was created in 1989, to promote North-South interdependence and solidarity. (more...)
Strasbourg, 16.05.2013 - Deputy Secretary General Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni today met the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy, Emma Bonino, who attended the 123rd Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The two discussed a number of issues related to the co-operation in the Mediterranean, participation of Italy in the "No hate speech" campaign of the Council of Europe, ratification by Italy of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence as well as the implementation of the ECtHR judgments with regard to prison conditions and excessive length of proceedings.
The Deputy Secretary General welcomed the determination of the authorities to tackle in a comprehensive manner the issue of prison conditions and to execute the judgments of the ECtHR.
Strasbourg, 16.05.2013 - The 123rd session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will take place in Strasbourg on Thursday, 16 May.
The theme of the ministerial session is “Democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Europe: strengthening the impact of the Council of Europe’s activities.”
Emma Bonino, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy, Frans Timmermans, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and Espen Barth Eide, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway are among participants in the session.
Committee of Ministers chairmanship transfers today from Andorra to Armenia. The event, at which the Committee of Ministers will review the Andorran chairmanship and look at Armenian priorities for the coming six months, is taking place at 3:30 p.m.
The outgoing Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, Gilbert Saboya Sunyé, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Andorra and Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland will hold a press briefing on Thursday, 16 May at 10.30 am – Room 1 (2nd floor, Palais de l’Europe).
Daniel Höltgen, Director of Communications, Spokesperson of the Secretary General
Mobile +33 6 68 29 87 51- email@example.com
Can Fişek, Media Officer, Mobile +336 75 65 03 41
Strasbourg, 14.05.2013 – The authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina have taken steps to combat trafficking in human beings, such as appointing a national coordinator and adopting state action plans, but a number of important challenges remain, according to a report published today by the Council of Europe’s expert group on human trafficking, GRETA.
In its first report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, GRETA calls upon the authorities to ensure that human trafficking is criminalised by all criminal codes applicable on the country’s territory (i.e. in Republika Srpska, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Brčko District). At present, only the state criminal code defines human trafficking as a criminal offence and therefore cases of human trafficking are prosecuted only at state level. GRETA urges the authorities to ensure that human trafficking cases are investigated and prosecuted effectively, leading to proportionate and dissuasive sanctions. (more...)
The European Court of Human Rights has launched on 22 May its newly-designed Internet site (www.echr.coe.int). The website of the Court has been revamped in order to give users better access to a wider range of information relating to the organisation of the Court, its activities and case-law. New features include an enhanced search option, dynamic news feeds and more comprehensive information on the Court and the Registry. The website will be regularly updated and items will be added or developed over the next few months.
European Court President Dean Spielmann said: “The Internet is the focal point of the Court’s information activities and provides a vehicle to disseminate data about the Court to as wide an audience as possible. By facilitating access to the Court’s case-law, not only for specialists, judges, lawyers and academics, but also for the general public, we are helping to reinforce human rights standards in all the countries in which the European Convention applies, and even beyond.”
The Court had over 5 million visitors to its internet site in 2012.
On 20 May 2013, Secretary General Jagland met Russian President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov in the Russian city of Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
An immediate outcome of the talks was an agreement to transform the existing Council of Europe presence to a programme office to support the administration of Council of Europe programmes in Russia. In addition, a more broad-based cooperation, covering several Council of Europe areas, and its financing were discussed.
Discussions also covered recent legislative initiatives in Russia, including the controversial law on foreign agents.
"The Council of Europe is ready to assist Russia in any possible way with on-going reforms", underlined Secretary General Jagland.
President Putin emphasised that the Council of Europe remains a fundamental partner for the Russian Federation, and he welcomed the enhanced cooperation with the Council of Europe. The President also underlined the unique role of the Council of Europe as a pan-European organisation helping to create a Europe without dividing lines, based on common democratic values.
On 20-21 May 2013, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland is making a working visit to the Russian Federation.
Besides meeting President Vladimir Putin and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, Jagland will have meetings with Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov, and Sergey Naryshkin, Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation . He will speak at the joint meeting of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee and the Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Development. Mr Jagland with also meet His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.
Strasbourg, 16 May 2013 - The 123rd session of the Committee of Ministers was held today in Strasbourg with Gilbert Saboya Sunyé, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Andorra, in the Chair. At the end of the meeting, the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers was passed by Andorra to Armenia.
The Ministers’ discussions chiefly revolved around a report by the Secretary General on strengthening the impact of the actions undertaken by the Council of Europe concerning democracy, human rights and rule of law. They encouraged the Secretary General to continue his efforts to optimise the functioning and co-ordination of the Organisation’s monitoring mechanisms while taking care that better use was made of the conclusions drawn from the monitoring actions. For that purpose, the Ministers invited the Secretary General to present them regularly with a situation report on democracy, human rights and rule of law in Europe founded on the conclusions of the monitoring mechanisms, accompanied by definite proposals for action.
Co-operation with the European Union and Council of Europe policy towards neighbouring regions were also on the meeting agenda.
During the session, the Committee of Ministers also adopted Protocol No. 15 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Protocol will be opened for signature by member states on 24 June 2013.
Armenia will chair the Committee of Ministers for the next six months.
Speech by the Secretary General
Explanatory report - Protocol No. 15 to the Human Rights Convention
Strasbourg, 14.05.2013 – Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland today met in the Strasbourg headquarters of the Council of Europe, the Chief Ombudsman of Turkey, Mehmet Nihat Ömeroğlu, who was appointed to this post in November 2012.
The Ombudsman institution in Turkey has been established to monitor the actions and activities of the executive Organ of the country on behalf of its parliament. This came as a result of a recommendation by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly in 2004, while Turkey was still under the monitoring procedure of PACE. In doing so, PACE based itself on the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation R (85) 13 to member states on the institution of the Ombudsman.
Welcoming the establishment of the office of the Ombudsman the Secretary General said: “This is a positive development in the institutional protection of human rights. The Council of Europe stands ready to co-operate with Turkish Ombudsman at any time.”
Strasbourg, 13/5/2013 – Europe has been experiencing a worrying intensification of activities of racist extremist organisations, including political parties. According to some commentators, the upsurge has even reached the point of “an early form of far right terror”. “It worries me deeply that the European community and national political leaders appear not to be fully aware of the serious threat that these organisations pose to the rule of law and human rights”, says Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Human Rights Comment published today.
The philosophy of racist extremist organisations is centred on denying the entitlement of “others” – mainly migrants and members of national, ethnic and religious minorities – to human rights and fundamental freedoms. They invent “enemies” who have to be fought and eliminated. (more...)
- Press release