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The war of aggression against Ukraine ‘must never become a normality, never’, says PACE President

“The second devastating war-time winter has started, a war that has already killed at least 10,000 civilians and injured 18,500 of them. And there are signs that attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure may escalate during the winter season,” PACE President Tiny Kox said today at the opening of the PACE Standing Committee meeting, organised in Vaduz in the framework of Liechtenstein’s Presidency of the Committee of Ministers.

“I again call on the Russian authorities to immediately stop the horrible war that should never have started and has to end as soon as possible. We need peace and justice, and we need it now: to end this brutal war of aggression and to guarantee accountability for those responsible for this blatant violation of international law, including our European Convention on Human Rights. Meanwhile we have to continue our support to protect Ukrainian citizens as much as possible. This war must never become a normality. Never”, he declared.

Referring to the situation in the Middle East, Tiny Kox welcomed the temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the partial release of hostages and imprisoned Palestinians, and the access given to the people of Gaza. “I call on our partners in Israel and Palestine to co-operate where possible to continue the cease-fire, to release all hostages, and to restart the peace process which could and should lead to a viable two state solution,” he said.

The Assembly, Tiny Kox underlined, has committed itself to support the decisions made at the Reykjavik Summit. “To maintain, protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe has so far been, and must remain, one of the joint priorities” of PACE and the Committee of Ministers, but recent developments “show that we cannot consider this protection system as a given - on the contrary.”

The PACE President called on all member states “to refrain from unfounded attacks on decisions by the European Court of Human Rights. Improving the system of protection has to be encouraged, undermining it must be opposed. I call on the Turkish authorities to immediately release Osman Kavala, as ordered by our Court and our Committee of Ministers. I warn Türkiye not to put its membership at stake. And I also call on the Azerbaijani authorities to live up to the commitments a member State of the Council of Europe has to respect, in order to be able to participate in Europe’s oldest and broadest treaty organisation. There is no time to waste.”