Speaking to the Parliamentary Assembly, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called on member states to reaffirm their commitment to the core values of the Council of Europe at the upcoming summit of heads of state and government, which in particular means all member states respecting the European Convention on Human Rights and implementing Court judgments.
“In this era marked by Russia’s war, we can no longer take the progress of liberty and human rights in Europe for granted. If we want to show that despite repression and war, the power of democracy and the soul of Europe remain unbroken on our continent, we have to stand up and fight for them,” Minister Baerbock said.
The Minister invited all countries that have signed the Istanbul Convention to also ratify it, as the organisation continues working towards ratification by the European Union.
She also stressed the need to make the EU’s accession to the ECHR a reality and called on member states to work together to protect human rights in the digital world. “The Council of Europe can help pave the way for a new generation of human rights,” said Minister Baerbock, referring to the drafting of a new convention on artificial intelligence.
Reaching out to neighbouring countries is also important. The Venice Commission is, in this context, a compass for democracy and an example of how Council of Europe values can have an impact around the world, she said.
In her speech to the Assembly, the Minister recalled that the Council of Europe has adopted “a clear and united stance against Russia’s war” and “stands with the brave women, men and children of Ukraine, who are fighting for their country and their freedom – but also for democracy and human rights on the entire continent”.