PACE President reacts to reports of civilian killings by Russian forces around Kyiv

Published in World
Tuesday, 05 April 2022 12:31

Strasbourg, 04.04.2022 – PACE President Tiny Kox has expressed shock and horror at reports of civilian killings by Russian forces withdrawing from Bucha and other towns around Kyiv.

“These horrible crimes need to be thoroughly investigated, and the perpetrators of any war crimes in this terrible war brought to justice,” he said.

Council of Europe leaders make joint statement on the exclusion of the Russian Federation from the Council of Europe

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 16 March 2022 09:53

The Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Chair of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers, Luigi Di Maio, the President of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, Tiny Kox, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, have made the following statement:

“As leaders of the Council of Europe we expressed on several occasions our firm condemnation of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine. This unjustified and unprovoked aggression led to the decision of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly to initiate the procedure of expulsion of the Russian Federation from the Council of Europe provided under Article 8 of the Statute.

In this framework, tonight, the Parliamentary Assembly unanimously considered that the Russian Federation should no longer be a member State of the Organisation. The Committee of Ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting tomorrow morning also in the light of today’s notification by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation of the Russian leadership’s decision to withdraw from the Council of Europe.

Through their actions in Ukraine the Russian authorities deprive the Russian people of the benefit of the most advanced human rights protection system in the world, including the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights and our vast convention system.

We express solidarity with the Russian people who, we firmly believe, share democratic values and aspire to remain part of the European family where they belong.

We remain determined to use all means at our disposal to provide support, relief and legal remedies to the Ukrainian people in their fight against the aggressor and to continue the pursuit of peace based on justice and international co-operation.

It is important in these difficult times for Europe to stand strong and united by Ukraine, its authorities and the Ukrainian people."

Tiny Kox elected PACE President

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 25 January 2022 12:06

Strasbourg, 24.01.2022 - Tiny Kox (Netherlands, UEL) has been elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Taking over from Rik Daems (Belgium, ALDE), he is PACE’s 34th President since 1949 and the third Dutch to hold this office.

He obtained an absolute majority in the first round of voting with 164 votes to 80 for the other candidate, Mariia Mezentseva (Ukraine, EPP/CD). Under the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, the President serves for a one-year term of office, which may be renewed once.

In his opening speech the newly-elected President urged the Assembly to realise the agenda it set out last year in its resolution on the strategic priorities for the Council of Europe. “This organisation must remain the pillar of democratic security, the guarantor of human rights and rule of law, as well as a platform for effective multilateralism in Europe, and to preserve and reaffirm our own identity as an independent forum for comprehensive and inclusive political dialogue and co-operation,” he said.

“Human rights, with the implementation of the Convention in all member States, must remain our top priority. To achieve this, in-depth dialogue in and with all member States and member parliaments is absolutely needed. Because only then we can uphold the authority of the European Court of Human Rights. Accession of the European Union to the Convention has also been declared by our Assembly as a strategic priority, as well as stronger emphasis on the protection of social and economic rights, and the signature and ratification of the European Social Charter. Among other priorities he stressed the importance of ratification and effective implementation of the Istanbul Convention, support for including the right to a safe, healthy and sustainable environment in the legal framework of fundamental rights, the need for democratic governance of artificial intelligence, and fighting corruption, money laundering, terrorism and violent extremism, “which all destabilise our societies”.

He recalled that “to realise our agenda, we need synergy between our activities and those of the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe and our Human Rights Commissioner. Alone we tend to be rather weak, whereas together we could show the strength one might expect from Europe’s oldest and broadest treaty-based organisation, which involves citizens from Reykjavik to Vladivostok, and from the North Pole to the Mediterranean Sea. It is a unique and most precious format.”

“It is our common obligation to help to achieve greater unity between our member states for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are our common heritage and facilitating our economic and social progress,” he stressed.

“We live in risky times. Tensions are on the rise and respect for the rule of law, human rights and democratic values is waning. Instead of greater unity, created since the fall of the Berlin Wall, we see the real and present danger of new dividing lines in Europe, at the cost of the security of our citizens. Especially now, Europe is in dire need of a meeting point, an Agora for effective governmental and inter-parliamentary diplomacy.

I am convinced that our Parliamentary Assembly should and could be today’s Agora of Europe, to discuss the fundamental affairs of Europe and its 47 member States, aimed at the benefit of our 830 million citizens. Let’s make sure that we don’t disappoint them,” Tiny Kox concluded.

PACE discussing the Report by the Observation Mission on the Parliamentary Elections 2020 in Georgia

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 27 January 2021 11:37

The PACE opened the winter sessions with the agenda including the Report by the Observation Mission on the Parliamentary Elections 2020 in Georgia, introduced by the Head of the Mission, Tiny Kox.

The discussion was attended by the Parliamentary Delegation of Georgia. It is noteworthy that it is a final report to be submitted to the international organizations.

As Mr. Kox stated, the elections in Georgia were competitive with the returns not subject to any doubt. He called on the Georgian opposition forces to commence the Parliamentary activity.

As the international observers presume, the elections were competitive and the fundamental freedom was adhered to. The legislative changes in Georgia adopted in close cooperation with and by the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR and the Council of Europe facilitated in the formation of the legal frame. 48 parties were running for the election and 10 of them were elected. The ruling party did not make a clear line during the campaign with the state and the second problem is that other parties opted to boycott the Parliamentary activity. The co-rapporteurs made the statements and called on the political parties to start the Parliamentary activity. It was reasonable advice. I also would like to join the call to the dialogue”.

The Head of the Parliamentary Delegation to PACEKakha Kutchava stated that the ruling party is committed to cooperating with every party to ensure the improvement of the standards of the administration of the elections.

“The municipal elections are scheduled in 2021 in Georgia and our political party is committed to cooperating with every party concerned to ensure the consideration of the recommendations, introduce changes to the legislation and improve the administration of the elections”, - he noted.

He thanked the observers for arriving in Georgia to observe the electrons despite the global pandemic and stated that the Georgian Government truly strived to ensure the compliance of the elections with the international healthcare standards and recommendations.

He noted that despite the mostly positive assessments, the election process detected the gaps. He affirmed the commitment to respond to these gaps and underlined the importance of the engagement of the international partners.

We hail the mostly positive assessments made by the international society clearly underlining that “Parliamentary Elections of October 31 were competitive and the fundamental freedoms were adhered to”.

Despite this, a series of gaps have been still detected. We appreciate the report by Mr. Kox and affirm our commitment to adequately respond to the gaps identified by his mission, including the financing of the electoral campaign, which is the subject of interest of PACE and international monitors after the Presidential Elections 2018. Engagement of our international partners in this process is very important and we expect certain recommendations”.

The opposition parties shall as well participate, he noted: “Our international partners keep calling on the Georgian opposition to start the Parliamentary activity and we hope the opposition will not reject their mandates granted to them by 800,000 electors and will move the democratic process from the streets to the Parliament as there is no evidence or the basis to put the election returns under doubt. Minor confusion was entailed from the simultaneous count of votes, which served as the main argument for the opposition, though in 1.5 months the observation mission recognized the PVT-related gaps”, - he added and responded to the statements by some speakers and underlined that unfortunately, we often deal with disinformation: “I would like to assure you that unfortunately, we often become the victims of disinformation in the XXI century. None of the candidates have been detained, especially two weeks earlier. As to the statement by the local NGOs that these were the worst elections, let me note that in 1.5 months they made the official statement about their mistake regarding the simultaneous count”.

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