The Secretary General of the 47-nation Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, has made the following statement ahead of Human Rights Day on 10 December:
“When faced with difficult challenges, it can be tempting for states to consider relaxing human rights protections. In fact, the opposite should happen – when times get tough is when we most need to stand up for, and abide by, the unique system of values that we have built up over the last 70 years. There is no doubt that Europe is currently facing a number of significant challenges, not least in the form of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, illegal migration, climate change and societal issues including growing religious intolerance, racism, discrimination and violence against women.
“The European Convention on Human Rights was designed to help national authorities ensure respect for the basic human rights of ordinary people in all circumstances, not just in good times. The Convention, and the system behind it, has successfully stood up to this challenge and adapted to changing circumstances for over seven decades. More than 20,000 judgments from the European Court of Human Rights, and their implementation by our 47 member states, have brought many real improvements to people’s lives – on a wide range of issues, including equality, non-discrimination, health and the environment – as well as benefitting our societies more broadly.
“Human rights, democracy and the rule of law are under significant pressure. Now more than ever we must stay true to our values, as embodied in the human rights convention, and ensure the swift and effective implementation of judgments from the European Court.”
Ahead of Human Rights Day, the Council of Europe has today published an updated and expanded version of its interactive website highlighting the Impact of the European Convention on Human Rights. The site provides around 175 examples of judgments from the European Court of Human Rights which, following their implementation by member states, have helped bring about significant positive changes for the applicants involved and for society more broadly. The updated version of the site includes a brand new section on Human rights and health, alongside recently-added sections on Freedom from violence against women and Human rights and the environment, as well as a selection of new case studies, videos and animations.
Statement by Luigi Di Maio, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy and Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day (10 December 2021)