The Commissioner's Human Rights Comments The Commissioner's Human Rights Comments
Human Rights Comment

Remove obstacles to the work of women’s rights defenders

22/09/2015 Strasbourg
Human rights defenders and civil society organisations working to protect the human rights of women and gender equality perform an essential role in Europe. They provide much needed assistance to victims of gender-based violence, combat discrimination against women, contribute to peace-building and hold authorities accountable for fulfilling their human rights obligations. Unfortunately, as I learned at a roundtable with a group of women’s rights defenders in Vilnius in July, they also face...
Human Rights Comment

Without papers but not without rights: the basic social rights of irregular migrants

20/08/2015 Strasbourg
Those who think that irregular migrants have no rights because they have no papers are wrong. Everyone is a holder of human rights regardless of their status. It is easy to understand that the prohibition of torture protects all people but we should also be aware of the fact that basic social rights are also universal, because their enjoyment constitutes a prerequisite for human dignity. Therefore, member states of the Council of Europe should stand by their obligations to protect the basic...
Human Rights Comment

Time to cure amnesia about the history of Roma in Europe

30/07/2015 Strasbourg
In a few days, we will commemorate the liquidation 71 years ago of the so-called “Gypsy family camp” at Auschwitz-Birkenau. On 2 August 1944, 2 897 persons were taken to the gas chambers and exterminated. Only a few months earlier, on 16 May 1944, the detainees of the “Gypsy camp” had refused to obey the orders of the SS soldiers who had come to kill them. Knowledge about both the Roma uprising and the liquidation of the “Gypsy camp” remains limited in European societies today. A black hole...
Human Rights Comment

Time to debunk myths and prejudices about Roma migrants in Europe

16/07/2015 Strasbourg
Political and media debates on Roma migration have become recurrent in several European countries.  Since the eastward expansion of the European Union in 2004 and 2007, and the lifting of employment restrictions regarding Romanian and Bulgarian citizens in a number of EU member states in 2014, fears of Roma migration have often triggered uninformed and inflammatory discourse. No “invasion” by Roma Media in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and other countries have often put...
Human Rights Comment

Inclusive education vital for social cohesion in diverse societies

05/05/2015 Strasbourg
Public debates on the need to ensure more inclusive education for children and young adults who face social exclusion in diverse societies have recently rekindled in Europe. Evidence shows that in many European states the dropout rate of children coming from migrant families or minority groups, such as Roma, is at least twice as high as that of native or ethnic majority students. In many countries, children with disabilities and Roma continue to be educated separately, though adequate support...
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