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

Travellers – Time to counter deep-rooted hostility

04/02/2016 Strasbourg
In October 2015, 10 persons died in a fire which broke in a Travellers’ site near Dublin. Following this tragic event, neighbours prevented the authorities from providing alternative accommodation to the surviving members of the group on a nearby site by blocking roads leading to the new site. Sadly, this episode illustrates well how deep-rooted hostility against those identified as Travellers, Gypsies, Roma, Manouches, Sinti, Romani/Taters or Yenish, still affects the lives of these persons...
Human Rights Comment

Improving protection for victims of forced labour and human trafficking

12/11/2015 Strasbourg
Everyone in Europe - children, women and men - should be protected from forced labour and trafficking in human beings, two serious human rights violations. The latest International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates indicate some 20.9 million people around the world still being subjected to forced labour, and 880,000 in the European Union. Among these victims, 90% are exploited in the private economy, by individuals or private companies. Within this group, 22% are victims of forced sexual...
Human Rights Comment

The new development agenda should fulfil human rights

14/10/2015 Strasbourg
Most European countries have become accustomed to seeing the United Nations (UN) development agenda as being “for export”, as not directly relevant for Europe itself. However, the economic crisis and austerity have made this universal agenda topical on our continent as well. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, launched by a UN summit in New York on 25-27 September 2015, is aimed at ending poverty in all its forms everywhere. Its 17 Sustainable Development Goals comprise an ambitious...
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...
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