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Defending human rights: a priority issue in today's Europe

“In the current extremely strained context, human rights remain – more than ever – a major challenge”, said Pedro Agramunt at the opening of a colloquy in Paris, at the French National Assembly. The PACE President pointed to the unprecedented crises faced by Europe: terrorist attacks, war at its frontiers, frozen conflicts, the refugee and migrant crisis and the rise of extremism.

“The Council of Europe is needed now more than ever to take up those challenges and play its role in human rights protection,” emphasised Mr Agramunt, all the more so as it has the "right tools for the job”, including numerous conventions, independent monitoring mechanisms and a forum for political dialogue between national, regional and local elected representatives.

Among the political means of giving fresh impetus to the Council of Europe, Mr Agramunt called in particular for the strengthening of the bridges between the organisation, national agencies and citizens and the consolidation of synergies with the other regional and international organisations.

“We must also return to our core values, in order to better project ourselves into the future,” added the President. He praised the efforts of Michele Nicoletti (Italy, SOC) to organise a fourth Council of Europe summit to defend democratic security in Europe.