24th Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, 19-21 March 2013)

      Gilbert Saboya Sunyé: “It is the responsibility of all the 800 million inhabitants of the European states to promote human rights”

      Strasbourg, 21.03.2013 - During the 24th session, 21 March 2013, Gilbert Saboya Sunyé, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Andorra, based his speech on the Andorran themes that overlap the values of the Congress, as the main topic concerned the stimulation and safeguarding of local democracy in Andorra and the other member states.

      Social cohesion forms the base of societal involvement, which in turn provides input to local democracy. It must remain top priority on each level of each state, even when the economic climate is less favourable, he explains. Andorra was inspired in the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council due to the wish to promote democratic life in the matters of education in law, human rights and democracy. Citizens’ cognition of these topics will inherently ameliorate the attitude to one another, therefore supporting social cohesion.

      But there are more battlefronts on the field of acceptation: to fight discrimination and the loss of trust in institutions form major challenges that stand in cohesion’s way. A focus on youth shows how significant their participation is in the promotion of freedom, equality and comradeship in a local as in a global setting. Mr Saboya Sunyé stresses this point with the example of the global network of Young Ambassadors for Peace, for which the Andorran government provides training to develop themselves.

      But in the end, it is the responsibility of all the 800 million inhabitants of the European states to promote and honour human rights. Not only the government, but all levels need to show their commitment to human rights and to promote active citizenship. The Council of Europe has already showed her active support on Roma inclusion, for which Minister Saboya Sunyé declared his congratulations for the initiatives undertaken.

      Promoting ethics and preventing corruption was the last issue that was mentioned during this statement. “Combating corruption is another priority identified by the Andorran, Armenian and Austrian chairmanships and which is closely linked to the responsibility of political representatives of all member states towards their electorate. Integrity and a commitment to stringently upholding the rule of law is essential if we wish to keep the trust of our citizens in democratic institutions and in those who represent them.”

      “More than ever we need to promote the values of this Organisation during this turbulent juncture of European history. This requires not only the member states’ common energies and commitment but also a readiness to be innovative in their action.”

      The Andorran Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed to be ensured that through common efforts, the Council of Europe will continue to play out its core mission of protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law across the Continent. “Together we have a key role to play in this respect and I want to pay tribute to your action to this end.”



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