Belgian Presidency of the Council of Europe: strengthening democracy, human rights and rule of law

Since 13 November 2014 and until May 2015, Belgium is chairing the Committee of Ministers, the political decision making organ of the Council of Europe. Under the Belgian Presidency, migration and asylum will be part of the issues tackled.

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On 13 November 2014, the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe passed from Azerbaijan to Belgium. The new Chair of the Committee of Ministers, Didier Reynders, Vice-Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European affairs of Belgium, presented the set of priorities to be addressed over its mandate:

  1. Continuation of reform: meeting current and future challenges
  2. Political consultations and the development of external synergies through practical projects
  3. Shared responsibility for the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights
  4. The strengthening of human rights protection
  5. The future of social rights in Europe
  6. The role of culture and education in the promotion of shared values
  7. The role of governance and local authorities

In the context of the strengthening of human rights protection, the Council of Europe is to organize, with Belgium’s support, the launch of the Curriculum on “Asylum and the European Convention on Human Rights”. This e-learning activity has been launched on 4 December 2014 in the Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons and specifically concerns professionals, in particular judges. Dirck Van den Bulck, Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons, has highlighted the importance of the case law issued by the European Court for Human Rights to achieve a common European Asylum System.

Many other initiatives will be supported under the Belgian Chairmanship such as the council of Europe “No hate speech” campaign, the conference that took place on 12-13 November 2014 on diversity inclusiveness in the media and several seminars and conferences focusing on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and individuals (disabled people and young Roma for example).

To know more on Belgian priorities and activities under the Council of Europe Chairmanship: visit the dedicated website.