The Council of Europe has proven to be an essential, indispensable guardian of human rights during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is one of the main conclusions of a new report by the Secretary General covering the Council of Europe’s actions since the Helsinki Ministerial Meeting in May 2019 and the organisation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
“Our value-based support and guidance to member states in upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law during the crisis is a perfect example of multilateralism and why we need to protect it. In that sense we have passed the stress test” said Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić in a briefing to journalists.
The report details the Council of Europe’s guidance to member states during the pandemic including the so-called toolkit designed to help ensure that measures taken by member states during the crisis remain proportionate to the threat posed by the spread of the virus and are limited in time.
The Secretary General also underlined the need for further reforms. “I want to make the Council of Europe even stronger and more effective to address both continuing and emerging challenges”, she said and highlighted gender equality, the fight against hate speech and hate crimes and artificial intelligence as priorities of the organisation.