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70 years of PACE – and the women behind its greatest successes

A new short film which revisits the high points in the 70-year history of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – with a special focus on the women who contributed to the Assembly’s success – has just premièred in Strasbourg.

“Twelve stars” takes viewers on a whistle-stop tour through the Assembly’s achievements, including its key role in shaping the European Convention on Human Rights, its successful drive to abolish the death penalty, its pioneering work on gender equality, and its headline-generating investigative reports.

The seven-minute video features leading women from the Assembly who played crucial roles in many of these events – including Finnish former President Tarja Halonen who initiated the Assembly’s “monitoring procedure”, Swedish MP Astrid Bergegren who pioneered the Assembly’s stand against the death penalty, and Dutch MP Tineke Strik who made headlines with a shocking report on how migrants were “left to die” in the Mediterranean when their distress calls were ignored.

PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier, who has made gender equality a priority of her two-year Presidency, said the film showed a welcome “change of perspective” on the Assembly’s work and paid tribute to the “commitment and determination of the many women who have helped the Assembly to promote the values defended by the Council of Europe”.

Produced in both English and French, the film was launched as part of the Council of Europe’s 70th anniversary celebrations, to coincide with the “16 days” international campaign against gender-based violence, linking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) and Human Rights Day (10 December).

It has already been screened to Speakers of Parliament from across Europe, as well as members of the Assembly meeting in Strasbourg, and will shortly be rolled out across social media and other online platforms.