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Anne Brasseur: the situation in Ukraine and the migration tragedy are our two main challenges

Council of Europe

"Human rights are universal. Refugees must be able to live in dignity and in decent conditions! As a guardian of human rights and fundamental freedoms, our Assembly is duty bound to ring the alarm bell and launch a discussion about how we can better address the migration issue from a human rights perspective", said Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly President Anne Brasseur when opening the spring session, which has an urgent debate on "The human tragedy in the Mediterranean: immediate action needed" scheduled for Thursday 23 April.

"Responsibility-sharing does not only require pooling additional resources, but above all a change of policy and an understanding that the paradigm has shifted. Immigration is not only a domestic problem of the member states that are affected. It concerns Europe as a whole. The current EU regulations – the so-called Dublin system – is not only antiquated and unable to deal with today’s challenges but it is also unfair for first-entry countries, as well as for the asylum seekers", she continued.

Referring to the fragile cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, she pointed out that, fragile though it was, it was a chance to move from violence to dialogue. "Now, all of us have to shoulder our responsibilities and seize this new opportunity for building peace. As an organisation upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law, the Council of Europe should play a leading role in building an environment for sustainable peace in Ukraine", she stressed. The PACE will hold a current affairs debate on "The political and security situation in Ukraine and its implications" on 22 April.

Finally, the President of the PACE called once again on the Russian authorities to free Nadia Savchenko, member of the Ukrainian PACE delegation, including on humanitarian grounds and in line with the Minsk II agreement.