“There was revolution in Ukraine ten years ago. It failed because the right initiatives where not taken in time. There was the Maidan, and because of the Maidan we must now take the rights decisions", today said Jordi Xuclà (Spain, ALDE) introducing this morning's current affairs debate on "The political and security situation in Ukraine and its implications".
"But the decisions have to be taken within the country, and I can tell you there’s a lot of energy to move forward on these necessary reforms. We need to make sure that the international community is there, by the sake of Ukraine, helping out”, he added.
“You know that human rights and fundamental freedom are regularly violated on the territories of Georgia occupied by Russia. It is of the great concern as none of the international organizations are allowed to the territory. We have the information that the population there encounters lots of problems. Violation of their fundamental rights is of dramatic character. What are the steps by CoE and Secretary General in response to this”, - Guguli Magradze addressed to the Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland.
“It concerns as we well. I cannot state these territories are totally closed to us. We had the experts assigned there. Human Rights Commissioner visited these territories but we need more access and we work on this with the relevant bodies. We will be able to do more in Abkhazia than in South Ossetia. Our general problem is “black holes” in human rights and rule of law – in Europe, when CoE has no access. I mentioned it in my annual report on human rights. It is a very sensitive issue but we cannot tolerate the fact that some territories are partially or totally closed to other observers as these territories are under the jurisdiction of Court of Human Rights. The convention is applied to these territories. Thus, we need more access”, - he replied.
Georgian MPs, E. Beselia, Z. Kvachantiradze, G. Magradze, L. Berdzenishvili, Ch. Taktakishvili and G. Kandelaki attend PACE sessions.
Parliamentarians from the 47-nation Council of Europe will on Thursday debate a call on FIFA, football’s world governing body, to hold a new vote on the 2022 World Cup awarded to Qatar because of “illegal payments” made to secure the Cup.
In a surprise decision yesterday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted to bring forward discussion of the report, on “the reform of football governance”, by two months. FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who is currently running for re-election to his post, had been invited to address the Assembly as part of the debate.
The report, by Michael Connarty (United Kingdom, SOC), says “large sums of money” paid to over 30 senior African football officials or their national associations by FIFA’s Qatari Vice-President Mohammed bin Hammam – as revealed by the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper – ensured Qatar received the votes it needed at a key meeting. This excluded other bids, enabling Qatar to win later rounds of voting.
The procedure was so “fundamentally undermined by illegality” that it should be re-run using fairer procedures, the report says.
Mr Connarty said he had been able to examine the documents obtained by the Sunday Times in detail and found the evidence of illegal payments unequivocal. “Given the structured action of this scale and the sums involved, there can be no doubt that that there was a ‘direct correlation’ between these flagrant irregularities and the outcome of the vote,” he said.
The report, on the reform of football governance, also called on Qatar to respect the basic rights of foreign migrant workers and urged FIFA to encourage this process. It also addressed recommendations for improving transparency and governance to UEFA and other sports organisations.
The result of the vote is expected in the early evening on Thursday 23 April.
"Human rights are universal. Refugees must be able to live in dignity and in decent conditions! As a guardian of human rights and fundamental freedoms, our Assembly is duty bound to ring the alarm bell and launch a discussion about how we can better address the migration issue from a human rights perspective", said Anne Brasseur when opening the spring session, which has an urgent debate on "The human tragedy in the Mediterranean: immediate action needed" scheduled for Thursday 23 April.
"Responsibility-sharing does not only require pooling additional resources, but above all a change of policy and an understanding that the paradigm has shifted. Immigration is not only a domestic problem of the member states that are affected. It concerns Europe as a whole. The current EU regulations – the so-called Dublin system – is not only antiquated and unable to deal with today’s challenges but it is also unfair for first-entry countries, as well as for the asylum seekers", she continued.
Referring to the fragile cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, she pointed out that, fragile though it was, it was a chance to move from violence to dialogue. "Now, all of us have to shoulder our responsibilities and seize this new opportunity for building peace. As an organisation upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law, the Council of Europe should play a leading role in building an environment for sustainable peace in Ukraine", she stressed. The PACE will hold a current affairs debate on "The political and security situation in Ukraine and its implications" on 22 April.
Finally, the President of the PACE called once again on the Russian authorities to free Nadia Savchenko, member of the Ukrainian PACE delegation, including on humanitarian grounds and in line with the Minsk II agreement.