Anne Brasseur: It is not about countries, it is about protecting citizens!

Anne Brasseur: It is not about countries, it is about protecting citizens!


The Council of Europe: the
geographical Europe is 50 countries. 47 countries are members so three are
non-members: that’s Belarus, because of the death
penalty; it’s the Kosovo because of the statute
which is not recognized by everybody; and it’s a Vatican. The Vatican is not a real…
well it’s not a democracy. All those 47 countries are members representing 820 million inhabitants. I have had the privilege of being the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
Europe. In the Parliamentary Assembly there are national parliamentarians of
those 47 member states and I represented my country Luxembourg. I was elected
as a President for a one-year’s term which can be renewed just once. That’s
why I stayed for two years during 2014 – 2015. Does the recent withdrawal – or lack of enthusiasm – by Russia but also some other member states,
for the values of human rights surprise you? It doesn’t really surprise me but it worries me, because it is not about the country. It’s about the
protection of the citizens of those 47 member states where every citizen must
have the guarantee to have the fundamental freedoms: to have freedom of expression; freedom of the media; freedom of
association… And the Council of Europe is really the organization which guarantees
those fundamental freedoms. Now we have to continue to cooperate in order to
preserve those fundamental freedoms for all the citizens of Europe. But how far do you think compromise – or cooperation – with countries who do not keep up to the
values of the Council of Europe, could go on? We took sanctions against the
delegation of Russia after the annexation of Crimea because that’s a
clear violation of of international law and that’s unacceptable.
But we didn’t exclude them from the Parliamentary Assembly. We suspended
their voting rights. And then the Russian delegation decided by themselves to
leave and even not to submit credentials later on so they are no longer members
for the time being of the Parliamentary Assembly but that’s their own decision
that was not the decision of the Parliamentary Assembly in 2014. – Are the contemporary leaders of the Western members of the Council of Europe and the members of the EU, ready and willing to stand for the values of
human rights and democracy today? – Of course everybody is ready to do so and not only the Western (members). I don’t want this distinction between Western countries
and Eastern or South Eastern countries, or new countries and older countries…
All those countries have accepted and ratified the Convention on Human Rights
so we are one unity. And there is no such thing, which sometimes I hear in speeches where they speak about, well the “Western values” and the “traditional
values”. We have the same values and those are enshrined in the Convention on human rights. Every government and every parliament has to
respect it. – Bulgaria, the country where BlueLink.info is based. recently dealt a great blow to the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, which was proclaimed unconstitutional in Bulgaria, thus preventing it from being ratified by the EU. And the reason for this decision was a
great level of manipulation in the country, saying that gender is an alien
hostile concept. So it seems that countries like Bulgaria are now willing to
withdraw from certain basic rights. What would be the response to this by the
international entities? – The international entities of course have to react because the (purpose of) the Istanbul Convention is to protect -especially women but not only women – from domestic violence. That is about the Istanbul Convention: to
make prevention and then also to protect. Because women are mostly the victims of
domestic violence – but also children – so you have to protect them. If a
country like Bulgaria is not protecting its own citizens that is more than appalling. I really regret really that decision which
was taken under the same notion like (denying) LGBTI rights – when they say “well there is the traditional family”. Well what is the traditional family? If
two men or two women fall in love with each other why can’t they have
the same rights like all the others? They are not harming anybody. And we have to keep in mind that despite all of our differences – and we have differences unfortunately – we are all equal and we have
to be considered as being on equal footing.

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