Kox: 'Don’t play games with human rights’

20 June 2012

Kox: 'Don’t play games with human rights’

Accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) must not be postponed further, say both the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Today the two assemblies issued a joint statement in Paris calling on all European governments to speed up the process of arriving at a single system for protection of human rights in Europe. SP-senator Tiny Kox: 'We have been waiting three years for the agreed accession of the EU. If we have to wait so long to get something we all agree on, how will we deal with Europe’s other problems?’

Tiny Kox SPSenator Kox is a member of the Council of Europe’s parliamentary negotiating team. He is concerned over the delay in implementing the accord. ‘Every country in Europe, on accession to the Council of Europe, affiliates to the ECHR,’ he explains. ‘Their citizens can, if they feel that their human rights are being breached, in the final instance appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which issues binding judgments. The Court’s judges are elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in which all forty-seven European countries are represented. When the EU accedes, its legislation will also come under the supervision of the Strasbourg Court. This is important as we will then have a sound system of human rights surveillance covering the entire continent. The Lisbon Treaty obliges the EU to accede. There is already an agreement between the European Parliament and PACE on the participation of the EP in election of judges. But the governments evidently don’t want to speed things up. That’s why we today issued an urgent call on them to finally conclude this business, which would be in the interests of all of Europe’s people.'

The SP Senator hopes that the Dutch government will take a lead in speeding up the accession process. ‘Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal knows that the national Parliament is fed up of waiting,’ says Kox. ‘So let him for once bang his fist on the table when meeting his counterparts from other EU countries and gee them up. You don’t play games with human rights!’

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