Speaking at the end of his visit to New York, PACE President Pedro Agramunt highlighted the important role of parliamentarians in translating international commitments into policies and legislation at national level. “This is especially important when we talk about the numerous challenges the world is currently facing; in particular, migration and the refugee crisis, the building of inclusive, accountable and resilient societies, the prevention of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation, as well as the search for solutions to existing conflicts. As value-based organisations, the UN and the Council of Europe must defend our shared knowledge and experience in the field of human rights and democracy,” stressed the PACE President.
“It was a great honour to meet the UN SG-elect, Antonio Guterres, a former colleagues in the Parliamentary Assembly. I assured him of the Council of Europe’s and the Assembly’s support in the implementation of the ambitious UN global agenda, provided in particular by the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The Council of Europe and our Assembly are ready to provide expertise in the implementation of commitments to building peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all and building effective and accountable institutions at all levels. It also stands ready to ensure quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. There is a wealth of synergy to be developed and I am looking forward to discussing this further with the SG-elect, to whom I extended an invitation to visit the Council of Europe and address our Assembly at the next appropriate opportunity,” continued Mr Agramunt.
Speaking about conflict prevention and resolution, the PACE President highlighted the important role that parliamentary diplomacy can play in promoting dialogue and building confidence between different sides. “Dialogue is a strong tool to understand opposing positions and find a compromise,” said the PACE President. “At the same time, we must be vigilant of early signs of conflicts, in particular, manifestations of hate, intolerance and discrimination. Violations of human rights and discrimination against minorities are often a cause or an important element of conflicts. Our role, as members of the PACE, is to defend the values and principles for which we stand, within our geographic area of responsibility as well as in our neighbourhood,” Mr Agramunt stressed.
The PACE President concluded by thanking UN interlocutors for supporting the #NoHateNoFear initiative. “My ambition is that #NoHateNoFear becomes a large movement bringing together as many stakeholders and individual citizens as possible. Support by high UN officials is an extremely valuable step in achieving this,” he concluded.
During the visit, Mr Agramunt also held bilateral meetings with the President of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, the Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, representatives of the Alliance of Civilisations and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, and the ambassadors of the PACE member countries.
In addition, he joined the PACE Sub-Committee on External Relations which had meetings with high-level UN officials, including the UN Deputy Secretary General, the Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, the Administrator of the UN Development Programme and the Head of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate.