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Human rights and more on the agenda

April 15, 2011


Hi and thanks for visiting. Last weekend was beautiful in Strasbourg and I enjoyed using my bike – rented from the City of Strasbourg velo program – to ride along the canals. Since I’m an old guy not in the best shape, I appreciate the flat bike paths around the city!

This week my team and I have attended the sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Parliamentarians from the 47 member-states discussed several key issues, including: the situation in North Africa, migration, Georgia’s fulfillment of its obligations to the Council, the death penalty, strengthening anti-torture mechanisms, and the religious dimension of inter-cultural dialogue. Several speakers, including Human Rights Commissioner Hammarberg, Secretary General Jagland, and the Turkish Prime and Foreign Ministers also presented their views on international developments.

From my point of view, these discussions demonstrate how Europe’s representatives are thinking about important contemporary issues. Even more importantly, of course, is what action Europe – and the U.S. – take on so many of these questions.

Issues such as migration (how much is too much? What role does it play in increasing stability in the “South?”) and how do Europe and the U.S. best help those favoring democracy and human rights in various Arab countries have no easy answers. I’d welcome your views on these questions.

My team is also preparing for one of our major events – our reception celebrating America’s independence in July, as well as for the arrival of two delegations next week from Washington.

Have a great weekend and again, thanks for visiting us – let us know what you think!

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