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Did you know that the Council of Europe has played a crucial role in the abolishment of death penalty in Europe?

The Council of Europe played a crucial role in the abolishment of death penalty in Europe. The Protocol No.6 to the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the Parliamentary Assembly’s initiative for abolishment of the death penalty in peace time contributed a lot to raise awareness on the necessity to abolish the capital punishment. Thanks to this fight, Europe is today the only continent where the death penalty is abolished. All the member states of the Council of Europe have either abolished death penalty or instituted a moratorium on executions. Moreover, the abolition of the death penalty is one of the preconditions for membership in the Council of Europe.

Did you know that the North-South Centre is celebrating its 20 th anniversary?

The North-South Centre will celebrate its 21th anniversary. The Centre has 23 members and functions as an autonomous intergovernmental institution of the Council of Europe. It is run on the basis of a "quadrilogue": a combination of four partners from political institutions and civil society - governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities and NGOs. Its main goals are to incite the European co-operation and raise public awareness of global interdependence issues and to suggest policies of solidarity in accordance with the Council of Europe’s aims - respect for democracy, human rights and social cohesion.

Did you know that the European Convention on Human Rights is celebrating its 60th anniversary?

This year, the Council of Europe will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Convention today covers the human rights of 800 million Europeans in 47 states. The Convention is binding for all the member states of the Council of Europe and its respect is assured by the European Court of Human Rights.

Did you know that the European Union “had borrowed” its flag from the Council of Europe?

One of the symbols of the European Union, blue flag with 12 gold stars, is “borrowed” by the Council of Europe. The Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe approved the emblem in 1955. It was only in 1983 that the European Parliament decided to adopt the flag and suggested that it becomes the emblem of the European Union. The European institutions started using it in 1986.

Did you know that the Council of Europe allocates annually almost 3 million Euros for the European youth?

he Council of Europe dedicates a lot of attention and resources to the European youth. The Directorate of Youth and Sport, part of the Directorate General of Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe, the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ), the Advisory Council on Youth and the European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest create and implement COE policies concerning the youth. The European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe (EYF), with an annual budget of approximately € 3 million, gives financial support for various youth activities in Europe.

Did you know that this year is International Biodiversity Year?

2010 is the year of International Biodiversity. This is the United Nations’ initiative which aims to emphasize the importance of biodiversity for our lives and celebrates the life itself. The INGO Conference of the Council of Europe followed the initiative by organising in April the European Day of Biodiversity, in co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities  The celebration was crowned by signing of the Declaration "Working together for biodiversity, protection of natural areas and the fight against climate change" by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly, the President a.i. of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the President of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe.

Did you know that the first European Institute for Gender Equality was opened in Vilnius?

The first European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) was opened in Vilnius in December 2009. The Institute functions as an EU agency and its aim is to help EU institutions and member states to raise awareness on gender issues by providing them analysis, data collection and information on these questions. The Institute will also set up and co-ordinate a European electronic network on gender equality. It is led by Virginia Langbakk, Swedish expert in gender equality issues and democracy and human rights.

This year the Council of Europe celebrates 60th anniversary

This year the Council of Europe celebrates 60th anniversary. The Ceremony marking the signing of the London Statute of the Council of Europe took place at Lancaster House, London, UK on 5th of May 2009. Although there are people who doubt the relevance, the influence and the future of the Council of Europe, this intergovernmental organization is as important and necessary today as it was 60 years ago, perhaps even more.

The Council of Europe managed to abolish death penalty across Europe, developed and improved the rights of women, and people with disabilities. In the field of protection of democracy, human rights and the rule of law COE managed to successfully handle old threats, racism, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.

On this occasion, a new informative web site was launched by COE.
Please, visit http://www.coe.int/aboutCoe/default.asp.

 

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