New Council of Europe commissioner for human rights to pay his first visit in this office to Ukraine

Monday, 1 April 2024

Michael O'Flaherty, the new Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, has commenced his six-year mandate on 1 April with a promise to put human rights at the heart of the member states' agenda.

As reported by the press service of the Council of Europe (CoE), O'Flaherty announced that his first visit as Commissioner will be to Ukraine.

"I can think of nothing more urgent than addressing the human rights consequences of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which has caused terrible human suffering and destruction," O'Flaherty said.

He added that he intends to "inject a human rights perspective into the greatest challenges facing our societies".

The commissioner has also outlined other areas in which stronger human rights protection is urgently needed, including the climate crisis, the management of artificial intelligence, freedom of expression, migration and the rise of hate speech, including anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim violence.

A significant part of the commissioner's agenda will also be devoted to bringing the struggles of marginalised people and victims of discrimination to the forefront of human rights discussions. "In particular, Roma and Travellers face an intolerable situation that requires greater attention," the commissioner said.

In addition, the commissioner stressed his intention to focus on youth issues, social and economic rights and human rights defenders, as well as to use his mandate to promote the implementation of the European Court of Human Rights rulings.

"Human rights affect every aspect of our lives. At a time when they face multiple challenges, we must recommit ourselves to weaving them into the fabric of our societies. This will require a concerted effort and I intend to play my part to the best of my ability," said O'Flaherty.

At its meeting on 24 January, the Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE elected Michael O'Flaherty, the Irish representative and head of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, as the new Commissioner for Human Rights.

Former Commissioner Dunja Mijatović visited Ukraine several times after Russia's full-scale invasion and advocated the creation of a mechanism for bringing back Ukrainian children abducted by Russia.

If you notice an error, select the required text and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editors.