Speaking at the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament in Strasbourg, the President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor said that pan-European conventions have played a major role in the shaping and the existence of democratic rule of law states that value human rights.
Nestor said that the collapse of a repressive regime does not in itself result in a democratic rule of law that respects human rights. It requires commitment both from the public and politicians, and comes much easier in the framework of a stable international system. “The successes of Estonia – and all other European countries – would not have been possible without the visionary statesmen who understood the potential of Europe-wide institutions and conventions,” he added.
Nestor emphasised that one of the first big achievements of the Council of Europe was the adoption of the European Convention on Human Rights that entered into force in 1953. “The Convention secures the right to life, the right to a fair hearing, freedom of thought, and freedom of expression. The ratification of the Convention assured people that all of them were valued and protected as individuals, but it was also a proof that states could effectively work together on some fundamental issues,” he said.
Nestor also spoke about Russia’s inability to respect the European Convention on Human Rights. “In December 2015, Russia adopted a law allowing it to overrule judgements from the European Court of Human Rights,” he added.
“More than two years have passed since Russia illegally annexed Crimea and started fuelling the conflict in Eastern part of Ukraine. Until a viable political solution that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is achieved, the sanctions imposed by the PACE on the Russian participation must remain in place,” Nestor said.
“Although Europe has achieved tremendous successes in the sphere of human rights, the rule of law and democracy, we need to continue to work towards a situation when certain fundamental freedoms are beyond question – a natural part of life – for all European nations,” Nestor noted.
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