Council of Europe Holds Summit for Unification of Human Rights Standards
Wednesday, May 18, 2005 1:20 PM

Heads of states and governments of 46 European countries met in Warsaw for a summit to discuss human rights. At the summit, three conventions were opened for signing, including two on terrorism and one on trafficking in human beings.

One aim of the Council of Europe's Warsaw Summit was to create a unified and more efficient system of human rights protection.  Delegates expressed concern that having multiple human rights organizations addressing similar issues creates overlap and inefficiency.

In addition, a unified system of rights was called for in Europe. The President of the CoE Parliamentary Assembly, René van der Linden, highlighted the importance of all 800 million citizens enjoying the same rights and freedoms.

The External Commissioner of the EU, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, reminded those at the summit of the European Union's plans to acceed to the Convention on Human Rights. "Accession negotiations (to the convention) can only begin once the EU constitution has entered into force..." she stated.

Citizens of any of the member countries are able to bring a claim to the European Court of Human Rights charging a violation of rights set forth in adopted agreements. As pointed out by Mr. Linden, however, the court is backlogged and the Convention on Human Rights may be in danger of "collapsing." 

The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 and is Europe's oldest human rights and pro-democracy organization.

Compiled from: "European Summit calls for human rights reform," Lucia Kobosova, EUobserver, 17 May 2005.