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Paet Calls For Improvement of Human Rights Situation in Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia Regions

12.05.2009

In his speech today at the meeting of the Council of Europe foreign ministers in Madrid, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that in the wake of the Russia-Georgia war it is necessary to guarantee international aid organisations and monitors access to all of Georgia's territory. "Guaranteed access for humanitarian aid will help with the return of IDPs to their homes and with ensuring basic human rights in occupied South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Council of Europe must demand this unanimously," emphasised Paet.

Paet stated that last year the members of the Council of Europe underestimated the possibility of a conflict erupting between two members of the Council of Europe-Russia and Georgia. "Dealing with the aftermath of the conflict and ensuring the human rights of the victims is a touchstone for the Council of Europe's political credibility," he added.

In his speech, Paet emphasised Estonia's readiness to move forward with the reform of the European Court of Human Rights and called upon other member states to do so as well. "In order to support the court's work in ensuring human rights and basic freedoms, the rapid improvement of the case-processing system is essential," Paet noted.

Foreign Minister Paet also mentioned the new Council of Europe co-operation project for fighting cybercrime. "The Council of Europe, which is a multi-faceted organisation that brings most of the countries of Europe together, is this year celebrating 60 years of supporting basic rights and freedoms, rule of law, economic freedom, and democracy," said Paet. "A new challenge in fulfilling these goals comes in the form of co-operating to fight cybercrime, which includes increasing the group of nations that has joined the Convention on Cybercrime," said the Estonian foreign minister.

The Council of Europe foreign ministers that gathered today, 12 May, in Madrid also discussed the Council of Europe's co-operation with other international organisations (the EU, OSCE) and the upcoming election of a new Secretary General of the Council of Europe, for which the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will meet in Strasbourg in June.

Spain handed the presidency of the Council of Europe over to the next presidency nation, Slovenia.

Journalists, you can find background information on the activities and goals of the Council of Europe in the Foreign Ministry's Yearbook in both Estonian and English.

SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE
+372 637 7654
+372 521 3085
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