As President of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe, I condemn the terrorist attack that took place on Friday 16 October in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (France). My thoughts go first and foremost to the family and friends of the victim, Mr Samuel Paty, a historty and geography teacher at the Bois d'Aulne College. Our thoughts also go out to the pupils and teaching staff of the school, to the young people and teachers in all the member States of the Council of Europe.
People sacrificed their lives in the past so that today we can all enjoy our freedom of expression. This right has been earned and we will not give it up.
Teachers play a crucial role for the future of democracy. Education is not only the basis of freedom it is also the path to freedom.
Teachers and students cannot be left alone in the face of danger from acts of violent extremism and terrorism. Freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion are universal and fundamental human rights in a democratic society where acts of hatred have no place.
President of the Conference of INGOs