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PACE committee to carry out inquiry into deaths of boat people on 8 May

Speaking at a press conference today, PACE President Mevlüt Cavusoglu announced that the Assembly’s Migration Committee will carry out an inquiry into the tragic incident of 8 May, in which reportedly 61 boat people escaping from Libya died after their appeals for rescue had been ignored by armed forces operating in the Mediterranean. “We have a clear moral and legal obligation to save persons in distress. No vessel can ignore an appeal for rescue,” he said.

He also announced that he will be the first Assembly President to carry out an official visit to Kirgyzstan. “This country has expressed an interest in exploring closer links with our Assembly, and it could also qualify as a ‘Partner for Democracy’. I will also visit Kazakhstan to continue discussions about partnership status with the new Speaker of the Senate and the new Foreign Minister”, he said.

The President welcomed that the PACE Human Rights Prize, which honours, every two years, outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights, will be given this week to the Russian NGO Committee against Torture’. Finally he paid tribute tribute to Elena Bonner who passed away last Saturday: “She was an advocate for democracy, human rights and political freedom, at a time when there was little room for defending such principles. I thank her for her lifelong and constant fight to defend Council of Europe principles all over the world,” he stressed.