SP Senator Kox on ECHR: 'We're only halfway there'

6 October 2010

SP Senator Kox on ECHR: 'We're only halfway there'

It's terrific that 800 million Europeans can see their human rights set down and can appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if they believe that their rights have been abridged. More than 130,000 people have a case before the Court. But it would be so much better if human rights for everyone everywhere were guaranteed and protected. We are at best half-way there. What we need to do is together look into how we can help people elsewhere so that they get what we got here in Europe sixty years ago - enforceable rights for everyone.' So said SP Senator Tiny Kox at the celebration in Strasbourg today of sixty years of existence of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Tiny KoxSixty years ago the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) took the initiative to establish a unique human rights convention, the only one in the world to be enforceable in law. Senator Kox called on the Assembly to take a new and daring initiative and make proposals as to how other countries on other continents might make use of the experience gained and ideas developed in Europe regarding the protection of human rights. At the same time he called for the ECHR to be given the chance to speed up and improve its decisions and for national juridical procedures to be improved so that fewer people feel the need to go to the Strasbourg Court. He also called urgently on his colleagues from the Council of Europe's forty-seven member states to take a stand against the extremist parties which were currently disregarding human rights and which see them as a superfluous luxury.

In the commemorative gathering in Strasbourg the leaders of the Assembly's four other political groups spoke along with Kox, who is leader of the United Left group (GUE), as did the president of PACE and the president of the ECHR. Each emphasised how important had been the decision sixty years ago to write the Convention for everyone now living in Europe. Andreas Gross, leader of the social democratic group, wondered aloud whether the parliamentarians and governments of today would have dared to extend such rights to their citizens, and to guarantee them. With Kox he will be working on new proposals as to how Europe can further human rights elsewhere and give them universal validity.

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