AS (2014) CR 13
2014 ORDINARY SESSION
Tuesday, 8 April 2014 at 3.30 p.m.
Request for Partner for Democracy status with the Parliamentary Assembly submitted by the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic
The following texts were submitted for inclusion in the official report by members who were present in the Chamber but were prevented by lack of time from delivering them.
Mr CHISU (Observer from Canada) – I would like to thank you for this opportunity to express Canada’s support for granting the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic Partnership for Democracy status with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. I would like to thank the rapporteur for his hard work on this report and his favourable view on the request for Partner for Democracy status of the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic.
As noted by the previous rapporteur, the Kyrgyz Republic is the only country in the region to enjoy genuine political pluralism and free and fair democratic elections. Indeed, as an Assembly, it is important to recognise the progress that the Kyrgyz Republic has made since the revolution of 2010, including the adoption of the new constitution, which establishes the republic as the first parliamentary democracy in Central Asia. In addition, the country’s electoral code promotes the participation of women in politics through the establishment of a gender quota for the lists of candidates for political parties. By requesting this status, the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic is expressing its commitment to continuing to align its values and principles with those of the Council of Europe in areas such as democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights and freedoms.
While these developments are promising, the draft resolution acknowledges that significant challenges to this fledgling democracy remain, including widespread corruption, the lack of an independent and impartial judiciary system, on-going inter-ethnic tensions and concerns surrounding child labour. Canada expects the granting of the status to encourage the parliament to play a more prominent role in the process of reforms. Granting the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic Partnership for Democracy status will allow the country to draw on the Council of Europe’s expertise in democratic development and the rule of law to help address some of these issues.
Furthermore, the Council of Europe’s on-going engagement with the Kyrgyz Republic will also serve to complement the efforts of other multilateral organisations contributing to political and economic stability in the country, such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
In line with the draft resolution, the Government of Canada provides support for democratic development in the country by funding local initiatives aimed at promoting ethnic tolerance, which are undertaken by the very active Kyrgyz community through non-governmental organisations. It is important to note that civil society activists in Kyrgyzstan also see the parliament's request for Partner for Democracy status as an opportunity to reinforce their efforts to promote democratic values in the country.
Let me conclude by saying that Canada looks forward to continuing to work with the Kyrgyz Republic in the area of good governance.
Mr TÜRKEŞ (Turkey) – First, I would like to express my astonishment at hearing remarks full of hatred and of an islamophobic nature in this Assembly. I strongly condemn the unacceptable remarks made by Ms Faber-van de Klashorst. It dishonours our Assembly and it shows the need to be vigilant against such growing tendencies in Europe. Secondly, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Mr Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, former President of our Assembly and former rapporteur of this report, and to Mr Andreas Gross for their tireless efforts in preparation of this report.
The integration of Central Asian countries with international organisations has been an important element for stability and security in the region. On the basis of this understanding, I strongly support efforts to intensify collaboration between the Council of Europe and Kyrgyzstan, and believe that granting Partnership for Democracy status to the Kyrgyz Parliament will be an important step in this direction.
As stated in the report, we observe the political commitment by the Kyrgyz Parliament to work towards compliance with the basic values and principles of the Council of Europe. Partnership for Democracy status will provide an appropriate framework for strengthening the involvement of the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan in the implementation of necessary reforms. I also encourage the Kyrgyz national authorities to make full use of the Council of Europe’s expertise and standards and to benefit from the values it enshrines. The Parliament of Kyrgyzstan has demonstrated its will to embark on this path and its readiness to learn from best European practice, so we should give a positive response to this request.
Based on these findings, I share the conclusions arrived at by the rapporteur: we believe that the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan meets the criteria for, and consequently should be granted, Partnership for Democracy status.
Mr SABELLA (Palestine) – It is indeed a good sign that the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic is seeking Partnership for Democracy status with the Council of Europe. From our experience in Palestine this partnership has its requirements, obligations and expectations.
Subscribing to the universal values of the Council of Europe means that we also need constantly to examine how well we are doing in our efforts to promote and protect these values at home. It is not always easy; hence the need for a partnership. The partnership is not a free ride, as its obligations are not only to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and its values, but most importantly to our people’s aspirations; it is a means to develop the guarantees that will safeguard citizens’ rights, irrespective of their particular characteristics and orientations.
I take this opportunity, as the Partner for Democracy programme expands, to promote the idea that it is necessary to develop a plan – a strategy if you wish – to favour a sustainable active exchange on values and practices between the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Partners for Democracy.
From the lessons we have learned in this distinguished Chamber, two stand out: first, disagreements, conflicts and differences of opinion can be discussed in an environment that strives towards peaceful outcomes, despite unfavourable odds and challenges; secondly, institutional arrangements are in fact most elementary in not only promoting the values of the Council but also in finding, promoting and implementing mechanisms to ensure compliance and application.
As I look forward to welcoming the Kyrgyz Republic as a new Partner for Democracy, I do hope that this partnership will bring results and fulfil promises that are for the good of the Kyrgyz people and, more generally, for the good of all of our citizens.