Recovery Is Only Possible With A 'Stronger And More Resilien...| MENAFN.COM

Saturday, 13 August 2022 12:36 GMT

Recovery Is Only Possible With A 'Stronger And More Resilient Democracy'


(MENAFN- Swissinfo) 日本語 (ja) ウクライナ「民主主義の発展なくして復興なし」 欧州評議会事務局長

  • عربي (ar) 'لا يُمكن لأوكرانيا التعافي دون ديمقراطية أقوى وأكثر مرونة'
  • The Council of Europe, the continent's foremost human rights body, is based in Strasbourg. It is composed of 46 European countries and was set up after the Second World War to promote democracy and protect human rights and the rule of law in Europe. Russia joined the council in 1996. It was formally excluded on March 16 following its invasion of Ukraine.


    Marija Pejčinović Burić is the 14th Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The former Croatian Deputy Prime Minister was elected in 2019 to lead the 46-nation organisation. SWI swissinfo.ch / Carlo Pisani

    SWI swissinfo.ch: Since February 24, two members of the Council of Europe - one of them now a former member – have been at war. How is it possible that a member state of the most important international organisation for democracy and human rights can attack another?

    Marija Pejčinović Burić: The statutes of the Council of Europe oblige all member states to follow rules for peace and unity. We have developed over 200 legal instruments to safeguard this. Consequently, we had to immediately expel the Russian Federation when they launched their unprovoked aggression on another member state, Ukraine. This was unfortunately the only option available for us to preserve our values. This is the first time since the establishment of the Council of Europe [in 1949] that a member state has been thrown out.

    SWI: Russia was a member of the Council of Europe for over twenty-five years. Is it not a failure of the organisation that this war could not be avoided?

    M.P.B.: I would not call it a failure of the Council of Europe. It is a failure for the former member state to depart from the values and standards it subscribed to when joining the organisation. But you are right. This horrible war raises many questions for us: How could we have avoided such a conflict? What are the lessons for us? I think we need a much stronger early-warning mechanism for situations in countries where democracy is backsliding. In the future we need to act much earlier as soon as we see that the European Convention on Human Rights and other standards are ignored by a member state.

    SWI: How could that work?

    M.P.B.: The Council of Europe has three methods. First, we have developed and designed common standards for democracy and human rights for all involved. Second, we monitor how these standards are upheld. And third, we assist member states to meet their commitments. Russia's war against Ukraine taught us that there is room for improvement in our monitoring and assisting. This includes helping civil society groups that are outside the Council in places like Belarus or Russia, for example.

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