Strasbourg, June 27 (CTK special correspondent) – Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek called for fighting terrorism, racism, xenophobia and populism in his speech at the plenary session of the Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe (CE) today.

Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) is now the chairman of the Committee of Ministers, the CE’s main decision-making body, after the Czech Republic assumed its six-month presidency on May 19.

The CE, associating 47 countries, including Russia and Turkey, is watching the observance of human rights and democratic principles.

The fight with terrorism remains a key issue, which the recent terrorist attacks in Britain reminded, Zaoralek said.

He added that the Committee of Ministers was intensively dealing with possible reactions to the rise in extremism, xenophobia, populism and racism.

He also said he was aware that the EC paid a special attention to these issues and that he believed there were many possibilities for the CE bodies to act in this respect.

Zaoralek met CE General Secretary Thorbjorn Jagland before his speech at the plenary session.

Zaoralek told reporters that Jagland was interested in the case of a Czech citizen beaten up to death in London. A British court acquitted the perpetrator of the fatal attack of charges. The only possibility to challenge the verdict now is to turn to the European Court of Human Rights, which is a CE institution.

Zaoralek reiterated that Czech diplomacy was cooperating with the killed man’s sister who must turn to the court. She will probably do so, he added.

Jagland and Zaoralek also discussed the situation in Turkey where people arrested after the attempted coup were still imprisoned. As a last resort, the Human Rights Court might deal with these cases, which would be very serious, Zaoralek said.

Persisting tolerance of human rights violations in the territory of the CE members states is inadmissible, he added.

The CE’s Parliamentary Assembly meets in Strasbourg four times a year.

Its summer session, which started on Monday, focuses on migration.

The problems related to migration are one of the priorities of the Czech presidency of the Committee of Ministers, Zaoralek said.

Prague would like to help improve the rules of treating underage migrants.

All 47 CE member states approved the Action Plan on protecting refugee and migrant children at the May session of the Committee of Ministers where Zaoralek assumed its presidency on behalf of the Czech Republic.

Within the presidency, the Czech Republic also wants to push for the protection of further vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, such as the Roma people.

Besides, the Czech Republic plans to focus on support for democracy on the local and regional levels, the improvement in language teaching and sharing experience in education towards human rights and on strengthening law enforceability.

Zaoralek remembered in his speech that shortly after the collapse of the Communist regime, the CE had helped the then Czechoslovakia return among democratic countries.

He also appreciated that the CE annually presented an award for human rights protection, bearing the name of the first post-communist Czechoslovak and Czech president Vaclav Havel (1936-2011).

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