On 18-19 May, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs took part in the 127th session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) in Cyprus, the country currently holding the CoE Chairmanship.
The Foreign Minister welcomed the report by the CoE Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland on human rights, the rule of law and challenges to democracy in Europe, with a special focus on the spread of misinformation. Edgars Rinkēvičs drew attention to the root causes of the problem, calling on the CoE member states to ensure the presence of strong, independent and diverse media. It is vital for society to be able to make decisions based on true facts and critical thinking, the Minister emphasised.
In his remarks, Edgar Rinkēvičs highlighted human rights violations in Russia and called on its institutions to undertake urgent investigation into the torture and persecution of individuals, especially based on their different sexual orientation, in Chechnya. The Minister pointed out that is essential to ensure security for minorities across the region, as well as protecting journalists – whistleblowers. The Council of Europe must be active in this matter and follow up on the implementation by Russia of the obligations laid down in international conventions. The Council of Europe should also evaluate what is taking place in Chechnya and make every effort to remedy the situation, asserted Edgars Rinkēvičs.
The Latvian Foreign Minister expressed strong support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia and expressed concern over the fact that there still are territories access to which is denied for international human rights monitoring mechanisms.
The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe was established in 1949 and is the oldest political organisation in Europe with 47 member states. The goal of the Council of Europe is to build a common area of democracy and justice by ensuring that its fundamental values – human rights, democracy and the rule of law – are observed and protected.
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