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Statement by Minister Coveney on the exclusion of the Russian Federation from the Council of Europe

From today, the Russian Federation will cease to be a member of the Council of Europe. This follows a decision this morning by the Council’s Committee of Ministers, which Ireland will chair from May, and the Russian Federation’s announcement of its intent to withdraw and denounce the European Convention on Human Rights.  The decision is unprecedented in the 73-year history of the Council of Europe, of which Ireland is proud to be a founding member. It reflects the strongest possible condemnation of Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, another Council of Europe member, and its disavowal of the values, principles, and legal obligations which membership of the Council of Europe entails.

I echo Italy’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio, current chair of the Committee of Ministers, and other leaders across the Council of Europe, in expressing regret that, through their actions in Ukraine, the Russian authorities deprive the Russian people of the benefit of the world’s most advanced human rights protection system. But regrettable as it is, the exclusion is necessary.

As I have stressed repeatedly, Ireland’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and its right to choose its own foreign and security policy path, is unwavering. At the Council of Europe, as at the UN Security Council, and across other multilateral organisations, we remain at the forefront of efforts to bring the violence to an end and hold the Russian authorities to account.

I once again urge the Russian Federation to cease hostilities immediately, unconditionally withdraw its forces from the entire territory of Ukraine and refrain from further threat or use of force of any kind against Ukraine or any other Member State



Note for editor

Established in 1949, the Council of Europe is an international organisation, headquartered in Strasbourg, and now comprising 46 member states, including all of the member states of the European Union. Ireland is one of its ten founding members. It plays a leading role in the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Europe, notably through the European Court of Human Rights, which ensures the observance by the member states of their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Council of Europe comprises two main organs: the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly. The Committee of Ministers consists of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of each of the member states. The Parliamentary Assembly comprises national parliamentarians from all Council of Europe members. Ireland has a national delegation of four Oireachtas members, with four alternates.

The Committee of Ministers is the principal intergovernmental decision-making body of the Council. Chaired on a rotating basis by the member states over six month terms, Ireland has chaired the Committee on six previous occasions, most recently in 2000.  Ireland will assume the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers again from 20 May, succeeding Italy, with Minister Coveney chairing relevant meetings in Strasbourg.

The Council of Europe’s press release confirming the decision to exclude the Russian Federation is available here.

Any Irish citizen requiring emergency consular assistance in Ukraine should contact the Department of Foreign Affairs’ dedicated consular telephone line, on +353 1 613 1700. The Department continues to issue regular updates online and on the @dfatirl twitter account on the evolving situation.

The safety and security of Irish citizens and their dependents in Ukraine is our priority.

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