27 September 2017
Stockholm – ESI presentation on corruption in the Council of Europe and the end of Caviar Diplomacy
Presentation by Gerald Knaus on corruption in the Council of Europe. Video: Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation

On 22 September, ESI's Gerald Knaus gave a presentation at the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation in Stockholm.

For over a decade, authoritarian governments have tried to capture Europe's oldest human rights institution, the Council of Europe, through bribes and KGB-tactics. The aim has been to neutralize the international human rights movement's strategy of "naming and shaming" those who falsifies elections and violates basic human rights.

This trend reached its peak when the President of the Council's Parliamentary Assembly earlier this year flew into Damascus on a Russian jet, as part of a delegation led by a leading member of Russia's far-right party. Their agenda included a meeting with president Bashar al-Assad and took place two weeks before a sarin gas attack in Syria's Idlib provice.

A coalition of politicians, prosecutors, journalists and civil society actors are now fighting back and an unprecedented independent investigation has been launched to look into the corruption.

Gerald Knaus, Chairman of the European Stability Initiative, and Tobias Billström, Deputy Chairman of the Swedish Delegation to the Council of Europe, presented the current state of affairs in the Council of Europe and the struggle for a solid human rights regime in Europe.

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Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com