Hatred on the rise, MFA warns Council of Europe

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs told the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in Brussels Tuesday that the political organization should pay attention to the growing hatred, violent extremism and radicalism which are on the rise in Europe, the ministry reported.

He cited the terror attacks in Paris, Copenhagen and Brussels and the tragic situation with refugees on the Mediterranean as the compelling background for the addendum to the Council’s 2005 Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, which he called a “giant step forward” in the battle against foreign terrorists.

“One shouldn’t underestimate the role of the European Court of Human Rights in strengthening European democracy and rule-of-law,” Rinkēvičs went on to say. “But effective implementation at the state level is no less critical. The same applies to the EU’s process of accession to the European Human Rights Convention, which would foster greater unity and harmony amongst European values, which have become more relevant than ever before,” he concluded.

The minister’s remarks come as the UK’s freshly-ensconced post-election Conservative government is not just pondering, but outright planning a full pull-out from the European Human Rights Convention (championed by Winston Churchill in the aftermath of World War II) in favor of its own insular British Bill of Rights.

Speaking at the 125th session of ministers from the 47 Council of Europe member nations and five observer states, Latvia’s MFA concurred with the Council’s position that Russia’s occupation of Crimea was in violation of international norms of conduct. He lauded the Ministers’ Committee for ruling to urge Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and abide by the Minsk Agreement.

“The Council of Europe has repeatedly stressed Russia’s responsibility and unacceptable human rights situation, affecting Crimea’s Tatars, Ukrainians and other minorities on the peninsula,” said Rinkēvičs.

Latvia’s senior diplomat also expressed his country’s support for Georgia and the Committee decision to condemn Russia’s partnership agreements with the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  

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