Human rights protection in Palestine is set to be boosted following an agreement between the Parliamentary Assembly and the Palestine National Council.
The assembly voted to grant ‘Partnership for Democracy’ status to the council on 4 October.
Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland hailed the decision as “an important event.” He added: “This is part of a broader policy of advanced cooperation with all the countries in the region because we look upon Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East as a common space for political action. We have the same challenges and the same destiny.”
Salim Al-Za’noon, Speaker of the Palestinian National Council, also welcomed the “achievement” and hoped its impact would spread far beyond Strasbourg.
“We consider this to be an important achievement obtained by the PNC,” he declared. “We hope that the consensus witnessed will have its impact on all European peoples and will be reflected in the positions of their representatives at the UN Security Council in defence of justice and peace.”
In accepting the status, the PNC committed itself to Council of Europe values, – “pluralist and gender parity-based democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
According to the assembly’s partnership rules, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) is now committed to “act to abolish the death penalty and to encourage the competent authorities to introduce a moratorium on executions;
It must organise free and fair elections in compliance with relevant international standards and ensure the balanced participation of women and men in public and political life.
Other points include refraining from violence, rejecting terrorism, recognising the right of Israel to exist and freeing the soldier Gilad Shalit.
The Assembly will review the PNC’s compliance within two years.
Statements: Salim Al-Za’noon, Speaker of the Palestinian National Council and Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland
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Rules: Assembly conditions for Partnership for Democracy status
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