IN RESPONSE TO COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE Mr. THOMAS HAMMERBERG

Tacan İLDEM 02.02.2012
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TACAN ILDEM
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF TURKEY
IN RESPONSE TO COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN
RIGHTS OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE, Mr. THOMAS HAMMERBERG
(900th Permanent Council Meeting, 2 February 2012)

Mr. Chairperson,

I join the previous speakers in warmly welcoming Mr. Thomas Hammarberg back to the Permanent Council for the last time in his capacity as the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe.

In his comprehensive overview, the Commissioner has dwelled upon a number of important issues relevant not only to the work of the Council of Europe, to that of the OSCE as well. In order to address the challenges we all face, it is certainly necessary to promote further the cooperation and coordination between the two organizations, while respecting the distinct roles that they play and the value added they provide.

If I may spell some of the challenges, i.e. freedom of expression, effective functioning of justice systems, racism and intolerance, situation of migrants and members of other vulnerable groups particularly in times of economic crisis are crucial, these are only some of the issues that need to be tackled in an urgent manner.

The intervals of incidents which raise concerns vis-à-vis the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms are unfortunately neither few nor far between. While recognizing the main responsibility of the governments in the quest of human rights and democracy, recent developments in the South Mediterranean region underlined the importance of constant and vigilant efforts of individuals, civil society, academia and international organizations.

In this respect, Turkey is pleased to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the Council of Europe and in particular of its Commissioner for Human Rights. Mr. Hammarberg’s competent and committed dedication to the universal values of the Council of Europe as well as his professionalism in fulfilling his mandate for the last six years will always be remembered.

The Turkish Government has cherished the fruitful line of communication with the Commissioner based on mutual understanding throughout his tenure. His country specific reports and recommendations together with viewpoints and general comments have been and will remain as important points of reference in our future undertakings.

We also would like to express our gratitude to the Commissioner for raising awareness of the growing nature of racism, xenophobia, intolerance and discrimination in Europe, particularly against migrants and Roma communities. The findings and statements made by international organizations, including the Council of Europe as well as by reputable NGOs confirm the gravity of the situation. We note with dismay that many countries, including some OSCE participating States, continue to remain indifferent to this phenomenon let alone taking effective measures.

Since tolerance and non-discrimination is one of the four areas of institutional cooperation between the OSCE and the Council of Europe, we believe that the two organizations should seek to enhance the ongoing collaboration on this issue together with others with a view to creating greater synergy and complementarity in their respective activities.

In concluding, let me thank the Commissioner once again for his thought-provoking presentation and wish him every possible success in his future endeavors.

Thank you.