Zahlreiche Würdenträger aller Nationalitäten und Glaubensgemeinschaften wurden im Europarat empfangen. Diese Männer und Frauen, die an politischen, sozialen und kulturellen Projekten beteiligt sind oder waren, zeigen die Dynamik und die Werte, die die Arbeit des Europarates seit den 50er Jahren prägen.
Um den Inhalt dieser Seite darzustellen,
in Ihrem Browser
oder aktualisieren Sie Ihre Version des Flash Players !
Bronislaw Geremek [1932 - 2008]
24. Juni 1998
The Council of Europe is most fortunate in possessing the complete legal language of respect for human rights in conventions and in the Court of Human Rights
The approach to the Council of
Europe from behind the Iron Curtain was somewhat different
from the one practised in the Western world. There, at a
certain stage the Council of Europe became almost an
ordinary institution, an institution proclaiming respect for
democracy, human rights and rule of law, but appearing in
its Western context as a monument without a definite
purpose. Then in 1989 the other Europe's awakening to
freedom completely altered the situation. The whole of
Europe suddenly realised this institution's potential
importance thanks to its proclamation and its philosophy of
human rights and rule of law, the concept of democracy, and
also the body of conventions in its keeping. But for we
others in the other Europe, for the democratic opposition in
the countries of central and eastern Europe, the Council of
Europe was precisely the institution that presented us with
something like a Sèvres porcelain figure of European
freedom, and it can be said that this was our dream. This
time, however, the dreams had some substantial content.
In surveying the long history of the Council of Europe, it must be realised that the Council's philosophy of action was built up over decades and that the Council of Europe acquired its full lustre and its magnificent potency after 1989 through the encounter with the mighty human aspiration of the peoples of the other Europe.
The Council of Europe did not accept the 1989 elections as democratic - with good cause, because the elections on that occasion were more contractual than democratic. Not until after the 1991 elections did the Council of Europe decide that Poland had achieved an adequate threshold of political maturity.
I consider it very difficult to see how this concept of human rights can be given real and definite substance. To my mind, the solution hinges on the idea of civil society. When we say civil society, it is not quite certain what we are talking about. Institutions, yes. The Council of Europe has its Secretary General and administration; the telephone number is obtainable. But the telephone number and the directory listing of civil society are hard to find. In fact civil society is the citizen taking part in public affairs, knowing his rights and how to fight for them, and it is also the non-governmental organisations.
At the time of Communist rule, civil society was a way of saying, "All right, they hold power but we are society and as such we organise ourselves outside all the power structures."
I believe that the Council of Europe is most fortunate in possessing the complete legal language of respect for human rights in conventions and in the Court of Human Rights. The Strasbourg Court lends a certain force to the concept of human rights and to the entire action of the Council of Europe, and so this legal language is united with the social action directed at creating civil society, local initiatives and non-governmental organisations. This is the context where the Council of Europe would find a place in the networks of European institutions upholding the cause of peace in Europe. War is so remote from us that we tend to forget the true role of this entire framework: securing peace.