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As of today Estonia is the chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

18.05.2016


Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand attended the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Sofia and today, on May 18, adopted the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from Bulgaria. “As the spokesperson for the members of the Council of Europe, Estonia stands strongly for Europe’s fundamental values – human rights, democracy and the rule of law,” Foreign Minister Kaljurand emphasized.

Foreign Minister Kaljurand congratulated Bulgaria on its successful chairmanship and confirmed that Estonia will continue with the issues raised by Bulgaria during its period as chairman, and for its part, will also add other dimensions, including a digital one. “We will focus on human rights and the rule of law on the Internet, on gender equality and the rights of children,” Foreign Minister Kaljurand said.

According to Kaljurand, in promoting children's rights Estonia will focus on three main topics: the greater involvement and participation of children in decision-making processes, children's rights in the digital environment, and children in the migration crisis. “Contributing to children's rights is essential for the development of a more just and inclusive society,” Kaljurand said. On the basis of international law, the Council of Europe promotes and protects the rights of some 150 million children. Several events dedicated to children's right are planned for the period of Estonia's chairmanship.

Kaljurand said that as chair, Estonia will continue protecting human rights and the rule of law on the Internet by supporting the activities of the Council of Europe in the management of the Internet. “Due to the rapidly evolving ICT sector and its effects, more attention must be paid to protecting the human rights of Internet users and maintaining and disseminating the principles of democracy,” Foreign Minister Kaljurand said.

For example, Estonia is helping to organise the EuroDIG conference in Brussels in June, which has been the main platform for inclusive discussion and debate on Internet governance in Europe.

On the subject of gender equality, a high-level conference will be held in Tallinn in cooperation with the Council of Europe on June 30 and July 1, where gender integration and the effect of new media on gender equality will be discussed on a national level and in international organizations.

At today's meeting in Sofia, the foreign ministers discussed the security of European democracy and the situation of human rights and the rule of law in Council of Europe Member States. Kaljurand stressed that respecting the norms of international law and the principles of the Council of Europe convention system by all countries is an important guarantee of security, especially for small countries. On the topic of guaranteeing human rights in conflict areas, Foreign Minister Kaljurand stressed the need to keep continuous attention focused on the situation in illegally occupied Crimea, as well as in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Estonia is the chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe until November 22, when Cyprus will take over the chairmanship. During the chairmanship, the Foreign Minister of the country who is the chair represents the organisation politically. Estonia's first chairmanship of the Council of Europe was held in 1996.

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry/albums/721576660...

More about Estonia's chairmanship, including priorities and a calender: http://vm.ee/en/estonian-chairmanship-council-europe

Council of Europe homepage: http://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/home


 

COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENT, FOREIGN MINISTRY

(+372) 5216821

press@mfa.ee

www.vm.ee

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