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Anne Brasseur: 'Our common objective must be to combat terrorism, not to combat migrants'

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."