PACE President on situation of Human Rights in Europe

Published in World
Tuesday, 29 September 2015 14:15

After almost two years at the head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the President, Anne Brasseur, has given a mixed assessment of progress in human rights throughout Europe in her opening address at the autumn session in Strasbourg.

Among the positive developments, she mentioned the great mobilisation against violent extremism and terrorism following the Charlie Hebdo attack, in particular, including the launch of the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance, for which she was particularly honoured to have obtained the Pope’s support, the declaration of a European Day for Victims of Hate Crime and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

However, she stressed that “the challenges that our values are facing are enormous,” and made an urgent call for the Assembly to stay united in responding to them.
In this context, she regretted the fact that “in some member states, human rights defenders and civil society activists face a whole range of problems. Restrictive laws, complex and inappropriate administrative procedures, pressure, intimidation and reprisals… all too often, human rights defenders and NGOs are forced to operate in extremely difficult conditions, or even illegally and in secret. This is unacceptable in a democratic society and in Council of Europe member states.”

Pointing out that last-year’s winner of the Vaclav Havel Prize, Mr Anar Mammadli, is still in detention in Azerbaijan, the PACE President said that “over the past two years, the human rights situation in Azerbaijan has deteriorated significantly. The people targeted, the type of charges, the length of the sentences and the blatant irregularities in the conduct of the trials all cast doubt on the authorities’ willingness to respect the fundamental values of the Council of Europe.

“The recent convictions of Leyla Yunus, Arif Yunus and Khadija Ismailova are deeply troubling. It is high time Azerbaijan changed its attitude to human rights and engaged in a root-and-branch effort to tackle systemic problems in terms of the functioning of the justice system and respect for media freedom and freedom of association and assembly,” she added.

“With Azerbaijan due to hold parliamentary elections in just over one month’s time, this is all the more important”, she said and confirmed the decision of the PACE Bureau to send an election observation delegation to Baku on 1 November 2015. Speaking purely for herself, she nevertheless said that unless the long- and short-term ODIHR observers were present, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for the ad hoc committee to make a thorough and comprehensive assessment as to whether the election was consistent with Council of Europe standards and with Azerbaijan’s commitments to the organisation.

PACE President reacts to the Refugee tragedy in Austria

Published in World
Monday, 31 August 2015 10:46

“I am deeply shocked by the refugee tragedy in Austria – this horror must stop!” said Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). “It is appalling and intolerable to see that refugees and asylum seekers who have managed to escape war and conflict have lost their lives, in such inhumane conditions, due to the criminal activities of traffickers. I am appalled and ashamed.”

She added: “Instead of closing borders and building ‘fences’, we must step up efforts to provide shelter and support to all those who require international protection. This is our shared duty and an international responsibility.”

“Everyone must participate and it is our role as parliamentarians to go into the field, meet the people, show solidarity, raise awareness, and suggest solutions. I call on all members of the Assembly, and in particular, the Chairpersons of national delegations, to take the lead and show by example.”

The Meeting of the Speaker with PACE President (Video)

Published in Video
Thursday, 07 May 2015 16:36

David Usupashvili met with Anne Brasseur. The parties spoke about events in Georgia and in the region, Russian occupation of Georgian territory and situation in Ukraine.

The Speaker thanked Mrs. Brasseur for adoption of the supportive resolution for Ukraine and noted that Georgia will always support the resolution. The parties also considered the Constitutional, electoral, judicial and municipal reforms and agreed to enhance relations between Georgia and CoE.

The meeting was attended by T. Japaridze, L. Berdzenishvili, I. Chikovani and T. Bokuchava. After the meeting, the parties made the joint statements.

“This visit is one more expression of enhancement of Georgia-CoE relations. We agreed to work in this direction. Sometimes, when we have the problem with quorum in the Parliament, it is due to the fact that 10-12 MPs are occupied in PACE, striving not only for Georgia but for Europe. This is the platform, where Georgian politicians participate in construction of Europe, solution of European issues”, - the Speaker stated.

PACE is an important European institution, actively facilitating Georgia to hold the democratic reforms and creation of institutional environ. “Let me remind you that in line with CoE recommendations, we have implemented the most important reforms in judicial sphere, municipal sphere, in political system, legislation on political parties, electoral system and many other spheres. Let me also remind you that the Venice Commission, well-known in Georgia, acts under the aegis of this organization and many other instruments, with which CoE supports Georgia”. “For me, as for the PACE President, it is important to visit the countries first of all to have the personal contacts; also to better understand the country, people, politicians and civil society, to meet media. So, I thank you for the interest, expressed in my visit”, - Mrs. Brasseur stated.

The Parliamentary Delegation of Georgia plays an important role at PACE sessions. “You shall be proud of your delegation, which is very active, particularly at Committee sittings, playing an important role. The Georgian delegation, in terms of attendance, is the 4th country amongst 47 countries. I think, it is important for MPs, to have contacts with their counterparts but it is also important to better understand Georgia. It helps us in development of democracy, rule of law and human rights protection. All democratic forces shall stand beside the civil society and religious leaders to fight against hatred and intolerance as it undermines democratic system and is a real threat – it is the message from CoE” – A. Brasseur stated.

Geo-political situation and Ukraine vents touched particularly the region and Georgia. “We shall find the joint solution. Violence can never be the solution, it is hard but we shall proceed. On our turn, by means of the Parliamentary delegation, we shall find the way out. After termination of suffrage to Russian delegation, they decided not to work with us. They still are the members. We want to talk with them and I hope we will find the way to continue this dialogue but one of the main principles CoE is based on, I will reiterate it here, in Georgia, is territorial integrity. No one has right to violate this principle and it concerns Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well”. She also spoke about Constitutional, electoral Code and judicial reforms. “Some steps have been made but it is important that there is no impunity, is it a civil society or a politician – all breaches shall be punished. Jurisdiction shall be transparent and the system – reliable”. Solution of the problems in the country is possible with bilateral dialogue and mutual respect. “I hope you will find the solution for your problems to continue protection of your citizens”.

The visit started on May 6 and will be accomplished on May 9. A. Brasseur will meet the legislative and executive, as well as judicial authorities.

"Territorial Integrity is our main Principle" - Anne Brasseur

Published in Politics
Thursday, 07 May 2015 12:28

„We have to continue parliamentary diplomatic practices. When Russian Federation’s delegation’s right to vote was suspended at the parliamentary assembly, they decided to stop working with us. We did not quit their rights, they are our members and we want to continue cooperation with them, but territorial integrity is one of our main principles and it is impossible to ignore this. Nobody has right to change the principle with force. This subject is related to Abkhazia and South Ossetia”, - said the President of Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, Anne Brasseur during the press conference held after the meeting with Georgian Parliaments Speaker David Usupashvili.

President of PACE makes official visit to Georgia

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 11:37

Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), will make an official visit to Georgia on 7-8 May 2015.

In Tbilisi, she is due to meet the President of Georgia, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Ms Brasseur will also have meetings with representatives of different political groups.

In addition, talks are scheduled with the Georgian delegation to PACE, the Chairperson of the Supreme Court, the Public Defender, and with representatives of civil society and the diplomatic and international community.

Ms Brasseur will also visit an internally displaced persons’ settlement in Tserovani and the administrative boundary line at Khurvaleti.

She will also give a lecture to students at the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.

David Usupashvili, Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, and PACE President Anne Brasseur, will make a press statement at the Parliament on Thursday 7 May at 11 am.

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