PACE President concerned by threat to the Rule of Law in Poland

Published in World
Wednesday, 23 December 2015 13:34

“I call on my parliamentary colleagues in Poland not to enact – precipitously – legislation relating to the Constitutional Tribunal which may seriously undermine the Rule of Law,” said Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

She added: “To propose far-reaching restrictions of the powers of a judicial institution, whose independence is constitutionally guaranteed, is a matter which merits in-depth reflection.”

UN Resolution "a good start" for Syria, says Brasseur

Published in Politics
Monday, 21 December 2015 10:56

"At last the UN Security Council has the Syrian patient on the operating table" Ms Brasseur said, "and now it has to work out the cure to save the country."

"Syria has become a global problem because of terrorism, because of international involvement in the conflict, because of the waves of refugees and because of the scope of humanitarian suffering," Ms Brasseur said, "for which only a global solution can be found. The UN Security Council Resolution is now a good start to finding a solution."

“The year may be reaching an end but the human rights challenges continue” - Anne Brasseur

Published in Justice
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 13:48

“The year may be reaching an end but the human rights challenges and our responsibility to speak out about them continue”, President Anne Brasseur said, highlighting four issues discussed in the PACE Bureau meeting that took place in London today.

“The refugee crisis in Europe is not going away and we continue to do too little too late. With the arrival of winter we must not lose sight of the individuals behind the numbers of people arriving and moving around Europe as they seek asylum. We have a duty to help these people, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is an international obligation. As Europeans we have to stop defending our corners and come out and act in solidarity to deal with this humanitarian challenge. The longer we wait to find solutions, the more suffering there will be, and the more challenging and expensive it will become for our societies”, Ms Brasseur said.

PACE President reiterated her call on the Azerbaijani authorities to release Ilgar Mammadov. “Last week, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe examined the execution of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights by the member states, concluding once again that the Azerbaijani authorities have persistently failed to comply with the Court ruling on the Ilgar Mammadov case. Mr Mammadov should be immediately released from prison. All main Council of Europe bodies are waiting for the Azeri authorities to comply with their international obligations in this case and to bring to an end the undemocratic crackdown against critical civil society,” she added.

As a third point, Ms Brasseur expressed concern about the conflict developing over the Constitutional Court in Poland. “In the mechanics of democracy, these Courts are one of the essential moving parts. Developments in Poland where the new Parliament has removed judges and voted in new ones, not only at alarming speed, but also with little regard to written procedures, is more than worrying,” Ms Brasseur stated.

As a fourth and final point, PACE President expressed deep concerns over the recent decision of the entity of Republika Srpska to suspend cooperation with the state-level law authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Challenging the jurisdiction of the state-level police and judiciary goes against the constitutional obligations of the entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and violates the principle of the rule of law. Furthermore it does not help in establishing and safeguarding the climate of reconciliation and cooperation indispensable for the country’s democratic progress. I call on the authorities of the entity of the Republika Srpska to engage in a responsible and constructive dialogue with all relevant parties.”

 

PACE President: high-level bilateral contacts in London

Published in World
Monday, 14 December 2015 17:51

Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), will have high-level meetings in London on 14-15 December 2015, with the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Minister of State for Europe, and the Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice.

Meetings are also scheduled with Chairpersons of various parliamentary committees.

Discussions will focus, in particular, on the fight against intolerance and extremism, migration, human rights reforms in the United Kingdom, parliamentary follow-up to the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and other current political challenges.

“Human rights should not be sacrificed on the altar of the fight against terrorism” - PACE President says

Published in World
Thursday, 10 December 2015 16:56

On the occasion of Human Rights Day, Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), declared:

“On Human Rights Day, political leaders and parliamentarians should take a step back from the political turmoil and look at the world through the prism of human rights. The Council of Europe works tirelessly to uphold and protect human rights. Since the founding fathers imagined and then created the Council of Europe, much has been accomplished building on the centerpiece of European human rights protection, the European Convention on Human Rights and its Court. However, upholding, protecting and promoting Human Rights is not just a full-time job, it is 24 hour duty and responsibility. Human Rights are violated or threatened every day and sometimes we may feel helpless in the face of the challenges, be they Syria, the refugee crisis, the economic crisis, conflicts amongst our own member states, the rise of hate and xenophobia or terrorism.

Combatting terrorism as one of the numerous challenges. It brutally attacks all our freedoms. It attacks freedom of speech by targeting and trying to muzzle free media. It attacks freedom of religion by abusing and hijacking religious beliefs. Terrorism also attacks freedom of movement, it attacks the economy and people’s livelihood, and it takes life indiscriminately. Facing such great threats, we have to be even more watchful not to sacrifice human rights and fundamental freedoms. The temptation is strong to try and reassure our citizens by resorting to greater security measures, sometimes at the cost of the rights and freedoms of each and every one of us. We have to be honest and clear: there is no free society without threats to security. Human rights should not be sacrificed on the altar of the fight against terrorism – this is precisely what the terrorists want! We must not give this to them.”

“Football should be played with dirty boots not dirty money" - Anne Brasseur

Published in World
Monday, 07 December 2015 12:06

Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), commenting on the most recent wave of arrests of FIFA officials said:

“Football is a game that should be played with dirty boots not dirty money. I urge all of those with less than clear consciences to come forward and bring an end to this corruption. This is for the sake of those in the smallest village clubs to the largest national teams. Pelé called it ‘the most beautiful game’, many FIFA officials and others have turned it into the ‘the most corrupt sport’. Let us now start to play a clean game.”

Combat Terrorism, not Migrants - Anne Brasseur

Published in World
Monday, 30 November 2015 12:33

PACE President Anne Brasseur opened a meeting of the Standing Committee in Sofia by calling for a minute of silence to pay tribute to the numerous victims of the "barbaric" terrorist attacks against France and Russia earlier this month. 

"2015 should be a year of celebration with the 65th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights as well as the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Act. Sadly, there is little room for celebration as terrorism threatens and attacks the very roots of democracies and the fundamental values that the Council of Europe stands for," the President said.

"We must unite to defend democracy. To do so, we must overcome political divisions to focus on the root causes of extremism and radicalisation. We must denounce hatred, discrimination and intolerance, and reaffirm the values of ‘living together’," she added. 

Anne Brasseur called on national parliaments to ratify the additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, a "powerful instrument in our common response to all would-be terrorists", and invited parliamentarians to get involved in the Council of Europe 'No Hate Campaign'.

"Migration is not a threat to our democracies, but intolerance and hatred undoubtedly are. Our common objective must be to combat terrorism, not to combat migrants, refugees and asylum seekers."

"Our common objective must be to combat terrorism, not to combat migrants" - Anne Brasseur

Published in World
Friday, 27 November 2015 17:19

PACE President Anne Brasseur today opened a meeting of the Standing Committee in Sofia by calling for a minute of silence to pay tribute to the numerous victims of the "barbaric" terrorist attacks against France and Russia earlier this month. 

"2015 should be a year of celebration with the 65th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights as well as the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Act. Sadly, there is little room for celebration as terrorism threatens and attacks the very roots of democracies and the fundamental values that the Council of Europe stands for," the President said.
"We must unite to defend democracy. To do so, we must overcome political divisions to focus on the root causes of extremism and radicalisation. We must denounce hatred, discrimination and intolerance, and reaffirm the values of ‘living together’," she added. 
Anne Brasseur called on national parliaments to ratify the additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, a "powerful instrument in our common response to all would-be terrorists", and invited parliamentarians to get involved in the Council of Europe 'No Hate Campaign'.

"Migration is not a threat to our democracies, but intolerance and hatred undoubtedly are. Our common objective must be to combat terrorism, not to combat migrants, refugees and asylum seekers." 

Anne Brasseur reacts to the Paris attacks

Published in World
Monday, 16 November 2015 10:30

The President of PACE Anne Brasseur expressed deep sorrow due to Paris attacks:

"I am deeply shocked and utterly appalled by the barbaric terrorist attacks perpetrated last night in Paris. On behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, I extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims as well as to the people of France," said Anne Brasseur, President of the Assembly.

"Like the President of the Republic François Hollande, I am convinced that our values remain our best defence against this cruelty and barbarism. It is our duty to overcome all political and ideological divisions in order that we stand together against the scourge of terrorism."

PACE President calls for cooperation between public authorities and religious leaders to fight radicalisation

Published in World
Tuesday, 03 November 2015 16:23

In her opening speech of the Council of Europe Exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue, Anne Brasseur underlined the symbolic importance of meeting in Sarajevo. " This is a message that despite the conflicts of the past, it is possible to build peace and live together in unity and respect."

"All actors of our societies, including and especially the religious communities and non-confessional organisations, must play an active role in the process of 'building 'inclusive societies together'. Of course, we all know that religion may give rise to intolerance, fanaticism and violence, becoming a threat to democracy and human rights: this is unacceptable", she stressed.

"The contribution of religious organisations to combating effectively extremism and radicalisation is absolutely crucial," she said. Stressing the importance of cooperation between public authorities and religious leaders to fight radicalisation that may lead to terrorism, the PACE President called for “the teaching of religion to become an opportunity for reciprocal listening and for developing critical thinking, including within the religious communities themselves.”

She also recalled an earlier PACE recommendation to the Committee of Ministers calling for the creation of 'a stable an officially recognised platform for dialogue between the Council of Europe and senior representatives of religions and non-denominational organisations in order to consolidate the existing relations with those partners and foster active commitment by all the stakeholders in activities to promote the Organisation’s fundamental values, which underpin ‘living together’.

"To combat the danger of extremism and radicalisation, we must make our democratic societies stronger, focusing on the fundamental values that bind us together : peace, human dignity and fundamental rights, non-discrimination, tolerance, respect, and understanding," Anne Brasseur concluded.

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