On Monday, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway visited the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg. The reason for the visit was to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Council of Europe. This year also marks 60 years since the European Court of Human Rights was established. Crown Prince Haakon talked to the Court and the Council during his stay where he emphasised Norway’s strong and sustained support to the Court and the Human Rights Convention.
Crown Prince Haakon began the day meeting with the Norwegian Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland. The Crown Prince then learned more about Norwegian Judge Rolv Ryssdal – the longest serving President of the Court from 1985 to 1998. He is honoured with a bust in the Court’s hall.
In his speech to the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg, the Crown Prince said:
“We owe a debt of gratitude to those who came before us – who created the European Convention system. They had a vision for the future of Europe. A vision of cooperation and respect for individual rights. They understood the importance of respect for human rights for attaining and maintaining peace. To ensure that the horrors of World War II would never be repeated, they saw that a new approach was called for – an approach where the majority would not be able to deprive the minority of their basic human rights.”
Before his visit to the Human Rights Court, the Crown Prince visited the European Youth Centre. The centre encourages youth and youth organisations to come together, participate in political processes and influence social development. The Crown Prince heard about the centre’s history and the work they do.
The Council of Europe was founded 70 years ago, primarily as a peace project. The European Convention on Human Rights was adopted in 1950. It establishes a number of critical human rights, such as the right to life, freedom of expression and religious freedom, property rights and privacy. It prohibits torture and degrading treatment, slavery and the death penalty.
As a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Crown Prince Haakon is very concerned with the UN’s sustainability goals. Norway recognised the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights in 1964 and made the European Convention on Human Rights part of Norwegian law through the Human Rights Act of May 1999.
Crown Prince Haakon was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador of UNDP in 2003. During the first 12 years, he worked to promote the Millennium Development Goals, which were evaluated and completed in 2015. Then, the UN member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.