Speech by President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Mevlut Cavusoglu

Mr. President!

Madam Aliyeva!

Excellencies, distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great honour for me to participate in this international humanitarian forum convened at the initiative of the Azerbaijani government. Earlier this year Azerbaijan already organized another high-level event – the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue – in which I had the privilege to participate. Therefore, it is a great pleasure to come back toBaku once again for such an important gathering which I believe will be a success.

Dear friends,

The topic of this Forum is “Humanitarian aspects of the challenges of the 21st century”. I can say without hesitation that the Organization I represent – the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly–deals with the very essence of these challenges every day. The “core business” of the Council of Europe is democracy, human rights and the rule of law – the fundamental values which make up the foundations of our society. These fundamental values are not the goal in itself, but a means to ensure long-lasting peace and prosperity. Their respect creates a general framework for all human activity and general well-being.

Dear colleagues,

Let me start by saying that the biggest humanitarian challenge we have to face today is “Living together”. As we all know, new challenges to the European multi-cultural model are emerging: the formation of separate ethnically and culturally homogeneous parallel societies, coexisting together, even in a peaceful manner, but without interaction, creates a real potential for instability.

In fact, the lack of inter-cultural and inter-ethnic interaction leads to misunderstandings, lack of trust, prejudice and discrimination. Even worse, discrimination and prejudice leads to intolerance, extremism and xenophobia and, as we have recently seen in many places in Europe – to terrorism.

Our response to extremism should be a truly intercultural approach, which allows culturally different groups within society to interact. In this context, I would like to stress that the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue is one of the top priorities of the Assembly, as well as a key political priority of my mandate. In April this year, at the Baku International Forum on Intercultural Dialogue I presented to you our plans and reports on this issue. I am very glad that these plans are being implemented:

- In April 2011, our Assembly held a very interesting debate on the religious dimension of inter-cultural dialogue with the participation of representatives of different religions – Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim and Jewish. It was the first time in our history that they spoke together in our Assembly Chamber, sharing their belief that societies can only prosper if we promote respect and mutual understanding between peoples, strengthen solidarity between individuals and communities, as well as reinforce social cohesion.

- Moreover, in June 2011, our Assembly held a debate on “Living together in 21st-centuryEurope”, examining the report on the same subject prepared by the Group of Eminent Persons convened at the initiative of the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu, and the Council of Europe Secretary General, Torbjørn Jagland.

In this debate, we resolved to reflect on ways to overcome the current “crisis of leadership” in Europe; encourage politicians and elected representatives at all levels to speak out on the challenges currently raised by the threats to the European project as well as reflect on the proposal for an annual Forum against extremism.

Moreover, we recommended that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe consider launching a major “Campaign on living together” in order to promote the principles of tolerance and respect for differences, inter-cultural dialogue and fight against extremism and xenophobia in European societies. I am very much looking forward to the implementation of these recommendations.

Dear colleagues, friends,

The humanitarian challengesEuropeis facing are not only centered around problems we are confronted with at home. We are living in a globalised and inter-connected world where humanitarian problems in one particular region could have serious implications and consequences for all of us, even if we are not directly and immediately affected.

In this context, last week, during its 2011 October part-session, the Parliamentary Assembly held a current affairs debate on “How can Council of Europe member states come to the aid of countries touched by humanitarian catastrophes such as those in East Africa”.

In this debate, which I personally introduced to the Assembly, we came to the conclusion that the current European and international mechanisms for co-ordinating the provision of humanitarian aid must be improved. Europeneeds a truly pan-European co-ordination mechanism, supported at the highest political level by all Council of Europe member states. We particularly stressed the need to ensure transparency in the provision of aid, as well as broad information-sharing and efficient co-ordination of the operations, in order to avoid duplication of efforts, competition of resources and overlapping initiatives.

Moreover, we pointed out that the international community had to act in a proactive manner in order to create an environment in which the consequences of humanitarian disasters are minimized and the necessary aid can be delivered in an efficient and effective manner. In other words, we have to address the root causes of humanitarian catastrophes which are underdevelopment and lack of good governance.

And here I see a clear role for the Council of Europe. The standards we promote – and by this I mean democratic stability, human rights and sustainable development – make up this environment.

In this context, the situation inEast Africais not unique. I am thinking here in particular about Europe’s immediate neighbourhood – by which I mean, Northern Africa and theMiddle East– where the problems which triggered the Arab revolutions – inequality, corruption, lack of political freedom, but also unemployment, economic downturn and lack of opportunities on the job market – have yet to be resolved. As a result, many people from the region, especially, the young generations, continue to live in precarious humanitarian conditions.

As a result, in recent years, and more specifically, since the beginning of this year, Europe has been facing a tremendous increase in the number of refugees arriving by land or see, trying to escape humanitarian disasters, economic hardship or political repression. In the face of this new challenge, our response should be two-fold.

Firstly, it is our moral obligation to provide support and assistance to those in need. In the opinion of the Parliamentary Assembly, it is a paramount responsibility of each member state of the Council of Europe to meet its own international legal and humanitarian obligations under the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. It is a fact that, although the concentration of refugees in certain regions puts them under very strong pressure – and here I think in particular of Malta and the tiny island of Lampedusa – the number of asylum seekers in Europe, and in particular those arriving from the southern Mediterranean, should not pose an insurmountable problem for Europe as a whole. Therefore, it should be a common responsibility of all European countries to address this issue and ensure that those seeking international protection should have access to fair and efficient systems for the processing of their claims.

While we are talking about the refugees, as President Ilham Aliyev already underlined, we should not forget the refugees and displaced persons living in Azerbaijan due to the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh and as the result of the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan by another member state. There are around one million refugees and displaced persons living in Azerbaijan. And I know that President Ilham Aliyev and his government are doing their best to improve the living standards of these vulnerable people but we should not forget that especially women and children are still living in difficult conditions.     

Secondly, we should support our neighbors in promoting good governance and strengthening their democratic institutions. And with our new status of Partner for Democracy with the Parliamentary Assembly, the Council of Europe is very well equipped for this task. Without offering full membership, this status allows non-member parliamentarians to participate in the work of the Assembly, express their views, share their experiences and contribute to the development of new standards.

In June this year we granted the Partnership status to the Parliament of the Kingdom of Morocco. Last week we welcomed another new partner in our growing Family – the Palestinian National Council. We now actively promote this new status in Tunisia through the provision of support in the organization of democratic elections as well as their observation. We hope the new authorities will apply for the partnership status when they feel ready.

But I must stress that interest in the partnership status is growing not only around the Mediterranean. Last week, in Strasbourg, I received a delegation from the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, headed by a Vice-speaker of Parliament. During this visit, the Vice-speaker handed over to me a letter from the Speaker of Parliament informing me of the Parliament’s decision to apply for the Partnership status. This is a clear political message which I strongly support. Therefore, we are looking forward to receiving a formal application from the Kyrgyz Parliament, so that we can launch the procedure.

I am sure that the application from the Kyrgyz Parliament will be a good example for other countries from the region to follow. In particular, during my recent visit to Kazakhstan, I actively promoted this status too. And I can tell you that my arguments were positively received!

Dear friends,

We are living in a rapidly changing society. As I have just illustrated in my speech, the challenges we are facing inEuropeare closely interconnected with the humanitarian problems in other regions of the world. Therefore, a consolidated response is needed.

For our response to be effective, we have to stay united around the universal fundamental values which help us make progress. These values – and I mean, democracy, human rights and the rule of law – remain most relevant in the 21st century. And I am glad that this Forum gives us another opportunity to once again examine our joint actions in the light of these values in order to find new comprehensive responses to the challenges we are facing.

Thank you for your attention.

Информация для участников

İştİrakçIlar üçün məlumat

Information for participants

Всю подробную информацию о предстоящем Бакинском международном гуманитарном Форуме, который состоится 2-3 октября 2014 года, вы можете найти в данном разделе:

You can find all detailed information about forthcoming Baku International Humanitarian Forum, which will be held on October 2-3, 2014, in the section below:

2-3 oktyabr 2014-cü ildə keçiriləcək Bakı Beynəlxalq Humanitar Forumu haqqında ətraflı məlumatı Siz bu bölmədə əldə edə bilərsiniz:

Регистрация на форуме



Для участия в работе Бакинского международного гуманитарного Форума необходимо обязательно пройти процедуру онлайн регистрации в указанном ниже разделе.

Внимание! Не забудьте указать в регистрационной форме номер персонального пригласительного письма.

Информация о получении виз
Участники, приглашённые на Форум, в случае необходимости оформления визы для посещения Азербайджана, могут получить её, обратившись в Посольства и Консульства Азербайджанской Республики.

Боллее подробную информацию о визовом режиме вы можете получить на сайте Министерства Иностранных Дел Азербайджанской Республики

For participation in the work of the Baku International Humanitarian Forum you are required to go through online registration procedure in the below section.

Note! Do not forget to indicate in the registration form the number of your personal invitation letter.

Visa information
Participants invited to the Baku International Humanitarian Forum, in case they need a visa to visit Azerbaijan, can apply for visa at the Embassies and Consulates of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

For more information visit the official web site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairsof the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Bakı Beynəlxalq Humanitar Forumunun işində iştrak etmək üçün qeydiyyat prosedurasından keçməlisniz.

Vizanın alınmasına dair məlumat
Bakı Beynəlxalq Humanitar Forumuna dəvət olunmuş iştirakçılar Azərbaycana səfər etmək üçün viza rəsmiləşdirməsindən ehtiyac duyurlarsa, Azərbaycan Respublikasının Səfirlikləri və Konsulluqlarına müraciət edib əldə edə bilərlər.

Əlavə məlumatı Azərbaycan Respublikasının Xarici İşlər Nazirliyinin rəsmi internet səhifəsindən əldə etmək olar.

Туры по регионам Азербайджана

Tours to the regions of Azerbaijan

Azərbaycan regİonlarI üzrə turlar

Для участников Бакинского международного гуманитарного Форума c 4 по 5 октября 2014 года будут организованы туры по следующим регионам Азербайджана:

Tours to the following regions of Azerbaijan will be organized for the participants of the Baku International Humanitarian Forum 4-5, october 2014:

2014-cü il oktyabrın 4-5 -də Bakı Beynəlxalq Humanitar Forumunun iştirakçıları üçün Azərbaycanının aşağıda qeyd olunan regionları üzrə səfərlər təşkil olunacaqdır:




Азербайджанская Республика, г. Баку
Организационный Комитет
Бакинского Международного Гуманитарного Форума

тел .: +(99412) 492 89 50; 492 95 58
факс:+(99412) 437 19 23
э-почта: [email protected]

Republic of Azerbaijan, Baku
Organizing Committee of the Baku International Humanitarian Forum

tel.: +(99412) 492 89 50; 492 95 58
fax: +(99412) 437 19 23
e-mail: [email protected]

Azərbaycan Respublikası, Bakı ş.
Bakı Beynəlxalq Humanitar Forumunun Təşkilat Komitəsi

tel. : +(99412) 492 89 50; 492 95 58
faks:+(99412) 437 19 23
e-ünvan: [email protected]

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