Nicosia, May 18 (CTK special correspondent) – Tolerance of human rights violations can return the world to the situation where force plays the main role, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told CTK on Thursday.

He spoke on the eve of the Czech Republic taking over the presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which supervises human rights protection, in Cyprus.

Zaoralek said the CE is capable of exerting pressure on the countries where human rights are violated and mentioned Russia and Turkey as examples.

“I think it is no big oversimplifying to say that tolerance of human rights violations in Europe and the fact that they were overlooked eased the way for Nazism and the ideas that most shockingly trampled man’s elementary dignity,” Zaoralek said.

He said history has shown that the violations of the rights of smaller countries only followed one step after human rights violations.

“The unwillingness to pay attention to this may be fatal. It may happen that not even the rights of smaller countries will be observed, that we will be returning to the world in which force will play the main role and in which only great powers will be deciding,” Zaoralek said.

On Friday, Zaoralek will take part in a meeting of the CE Committee of Ministers, which is the executive body of the organisation associating 47 countries, in Cyprus.

During the meeting, he will take over the half-year presidency of the committee from his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasulidis.

Many countries will be represented by ambassadors. The Russian and Slovak foreign ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Miroslav Lajcak, respectively, will also arrive.

Zaoralek said the importance of the Council of Europe rests in that it can put pressure on countries where journalists or opposition politicians are persecuted.

“Even where there are conflicts, for instance, in Turkey or Russia, the countries negotiate with representatives of the Council of Europe and try to reach certain compromises and find a solution,” Zaoralek said.

He said it is necessary that all Council of Europe member countries respect the verdicts given by the European Human Rights Court which falls under the CE.

This is one of five priorities of the Czech presidency.

During the next six months, the Czech presidency also wants to push for the protection of human rights of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups of people, for instance, Romanies or migrants and their children.

Another Czech priority is support for democracy on the local and regional levels and public administration reforms.

An improvement in language teaching and sharing experience in education towards human rights is also the Czech presidency’s goal.