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Statements and speeches Multiple Mechanisms

Türk praises Council of Europe discussion of potential legal frameworks on environment and artificial intelligence

17 May 2023

Delivered by

Assistant Secretary-General Ilze Brands Kehris

At

4th Council of Europe Summit of Heads of State and Government Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law

From

Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on behalf of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Location

Reykjavik, Iceland

Excellencies,

To safeguard the human rights of more than 650 million people in 46 countries: the mandate of the Council of Europe is far-reaching, and it has been transformational.

But today there is both light and shadow over Europe. Our world is experiencing a resurgence of conflict, accompanied by inequalities, deprivation and injustice.

Like our Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights details the lessons of Europe’s history. They map the steps that walk societies away from disaster.

We need to unite around these values and rebuild that foundation.

In this 75th year of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we must strengthen justice and equality, bringing legal protections fully to life in people’s day to day reality.

We need to rebuild trust, with accountable governance and a free civic space, so that everyone can participate.

We need to respond thoughtfully to new challenges, including digital and environmental threats. I welcome your discussions of possible new legal frameworks on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and on artificial intelligence, grounded in human rights.

I ask you to work with our year-long “Human Rights 75” initiative that is underway, and to make concrete pledges for transformational change.

The SDG Summit this September, and the Summit of the Future in 2024, can help put our world back on track to a joint, just, inclusive, and sustainable future.

The Council of Europe can be proud of its achievements across a range of rights. We look forward to deepening our partnership with you. Thank you.