Minister Byrne to address Council of Europe Committee of Ministers & HELP Annual Network Conference
Press release30 June 2022
Minister of State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne TD will visit Strasbourg on Thursday 30 June as part of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of Europe.
The Minister will address the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies, where he will call for the Council of Europe to convene a Summit of Heads of State and Government as soon as possible.
Speaking of the need for a Summit, Minister Byrne said:
“The Council of Europe was established in the wake of war on our continent, with Ireland amongst its founding members. Now, as war ravages Ukraine, we believe it’s time for our 46 Heads of State and Government to reconvene to redouble the institution’s support for Ukraine, refocus its relations with the EU, and recommit to our founding freedoms, above all the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.”
While in Strasbourg, Minister Byrne will open the annual conference of the Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) programme.
Explaining the value of the initiative, the Minister said:
‘‘One of Ireland’s highest priorities during its Presidency is to support the Council of Europe in protecting human rights across the continent, above all in areas of conflict. The Council’s HELP Programme meaningfully advances this key objective by enhancing the capacity of judges, lawyers and prosecutors, in all 46 Council of Europe member states and beyond, to apply the European human rights standards in their daily work as legal professionals.’’
The Minister will also take part in a signing ceremony to announce additional voluntary financial contributions of over €350,000 to the Council of Europe, largely directed towards the European Court of Human Rights.
30 June 2022
Notes to editors
• Established in 1949, and headquartered in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe is the continent’s largest and oldest intergovernmental organisation.
• Ireland was amongst the organisation’s ten founding members. Today, following the expulsion of the Russian Federation in March, it comprises 46 member states, including the 27 EU member states, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Ukraine.
• The organisation plays a leading role in the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law across Europe and beyond – notably through the European Court of Human Rights, which ensures the observance by member states of their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
• The Irish Presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers began on 20 May and runs to mid-November. Further details are available on www.ireland.ie/coe.
• The HELP programme is designed to enhance the capacity of legal professionals across the Council’s 46 member states to apply European human rights standards in their daily work. This year’s conference will see approximately several hundred judges, jurists, officials and civil society representatives gather in Strasbourg to consider the Council’s response to the war in Ukraine and the work of legal professionals in times of war.
• Organised under the patronage of the Irish Presidency, Youth Action Week celebrates 50 years of the youth sector in the Council of Europe, with over 500 young people from across the continent gathering in Strasbourg. Aimed at strengthening mutual trust between young people and democratic processes, the initiative advances one of Ireland’s Presidency priorities, championing the voices of young people through participative democracy.