To mark Human Rights Day 2017, Olena Sotnyk (Ukraine, ALDE), Chairperson of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, has called for Council of Europe member States to renew their commitment to the organisation’s basic standards as they respond to the new challenges facing democracies today.
“Many Council of Europe member States are today confronted with new challenges that require innovative responses,” observed Ms Sotnyk. “Terrorism, xenophobia and intolerance, populism, the siren call of autocracy, subversion of democratic process and corruption are old problems that in recent years have manifested themselves in new ways which are proving difficult to address. But human rights, along with democracy and the rule of law, are not part of the problem: they are part of the solution, indeed they are fundamental to it” she continued.
“Today’s Europeans have the unprecedented historical good fortune to be protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, the most effective human rights protection mechanism ever devised, and at the same time a foundational instrument of the European legal order and of regional political cooperation. Those who criticise the Convention and the European Court of Human Rights should reflect on Europe’s prior history and understand that the Convention is a bulwark against regression to more barbaric times. On Human Rights Day, I call on all Europe’s democrats to celebrate this achievement and resist those who threaten it,” she concluded.