On May 5, we mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Council of Europe – a pan-European international organisation that today protects the rights and freedoms of about 800 million people in 47 Member States.
The Statute of the Council of Europe signed in London on May 5, 1949, for the years to come has established the commitment of the Member States to the principles underpinning every genuine democracy – personal and political freedoms and the rule of law.
Over the past 70 years, the Council of Europe has achieved remarkable results in defending democratic European ideals and principles. An effective protection system for human rights enshrined in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms was established.
The organisation has developed and adopted more than 200 international treaties, mainly related to human rights protection. It had established such bodies as the European Court of Human Rights, the Venice Commission, the Group of States against Corruption – GRECO, as well as other institutions that actively and efficiently work for national legislation reforms in line with the best European standards in the fields of human rights, constitutional law, anti-corruption, judicial systems development, etc.
Ukraine has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1995. It works actively in the Council of Europe statutory and working bodies and contributes to a common European legal space by acceding to more than 90 Council of Europe treaties. Ukrainian citizens have the opportunity to apply to the European Court of Human Rights for the protection of their rights.
The Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine is an instrument of practical cooperation for legal reforms in our country in line with European standards.
The Council of Europe has paved the way for further integration on the European continent, and its standards have become a guidance for the protection of democratic values. However, regrettably we have to note that the Organisation marks its 70 years anniversary in a crisis caused mainly by the destructive actions of the Russian Federation, its aggression against Ukraine and direct blackmailing the Council of Europe in order to pursue its antidemocratic foreign policy goals.
This crisis has become a challenge for the Organisation which has to make a choice – either to adhere to its values and principles or to yield to blackmailing and threats questioning the confidiality and authority gained during the 70 years of its work.
Ukraine hopes that for the decades the Council of Europe gained enough strength and common sense to remain an example of democracy but not to mark its 70th anniversary being half-ruined and compromised due to the unfounded concessions to a Member State, who is the biggest violator of its norms and principles.
For its part, Ukraine stays by its commitments taken upon accession to the Council of Europe and will continue to protect the rights and freedoms of each person and citizen within its territory, including in the temporarily occupied territories, and will actively resist all attempts to destroy the Organisation. A strong Council of Europe is needed for Ukraine and for Europe.