Numerous dignitaries of all nationalities and beliefs have been the honoured guests of the Council of Europe. These men and women, often instrumental in the implementation of political, social and cultural initiatives, illustrate the dynamism and values which, since the 1950s, have governed the work of the Council of Europe
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François Mitterrand [1916 - 1996]
President of the French Republic
5 May 1989
The freedoms, all the freedoms; human rights, all human rights
Europe’s identity, what gives our
continent its impact in the world, rests on the values on
the basis of which the Council of Europe has developed its
action. I would say simply, like you and after you: the
freedoms, all the freedoms; human rights, all human rights.
How, in this year when we are celebrating the bicentenary of
the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen,
could we fail to salute the decisive progress represented,
with the European Convention on Human Rights, by the
unprecedented possibility afforded to each and every
European citizen to arraign his own state before an
international court of justice, the European Court of Human
This machinery is being constantly improved, whether we consider procedures or the actual convention. I am thinking for example of the prevention of torture, a convention on which was signed in 1987.
We know, of course, that serious breaches still occur in our continent of what we regard as inalienable rights. Our free countries must show solidarity in condemning those breaches, brooking no argument, and demanding that they cease. It is up to the Council of Europe, in this most important field, to exercise constant vigilance, to set a moral example...