The Commissioner's Human Rights Comment The Commissioner's Human Rights Comment
EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Public service media needed to strengthen pluralism

06/12/2011 Strasbourg

Two major threats to media freedom exist across Europe today. One is the attempt by state authorities to dominate the media market. The other is the trend towards commercialisation and monopoly. Both these tendencies undermine freedom of expression – and are good reasons for strengthening public...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Politically-motivated murders are not effectively investigated – this feeds a culture of impunity

29/11/2011 Strasbourg

Assassinations of human rights defenders, investigative journalists, activist lawyers and critical opinion makers have not been seriously investigated in a number of critical cases. These flagrant examples have come to symbolise the phenomenon of impunity, which encourages further murders and has...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

The right to leave one’s country should be applied without discrimination

22/11/2011 Strasbourg

Strong measures have been taken by the Macedonian authorities to prevent citizens from travelling to EU countries - and seeking asylum there. The numbers doing so have gone up considerably since the EU agreed that people in Balkan countries would no longer require visas to enter EU territory....

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Ethical journalism: self-regulation protects the independence of media

08/11/2011 Strasbourg

The media play an enormously important role in the protection of human rights. They expose human rights violations and offer an arena for different voices to be heard in public discourse. However, the power of the media can also be misused to the extent that the very functioning of democracy is...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Only genuine justice can ensure durable peace in the Balkans

03/11/2011 Strasbourg

European institutions failed to protect people in the former Yugoslavia from ethnic cleansing and other war atrocities in the 1990s. The return to normalcy has been slow and major obstacles still remain. However, there are now grounds for some hope – which gives Europe a second chance to offer...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Protection of journalists is essential for media freedom in Europe

04/10/2011 Strasbourg

In recent years, some of the leading investigative journalists in Europe have fallen victim to brutal killings: Hrant Dink in Turkey, Georgyi Gongadze in Ukraine and Elmar Huseynov in Azerbaijan. On 7 October 2011 it will be five years since Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in Russia. No effort...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Schools must stop spreading homophobic and transphobic messages

27/09/2011 Strasbourg

In schools across Europe young persons are being harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Homophobic and transphobic bullying is an every day reality in the lives of many. It is time to react – especially in view of several national studies and reports warning that there...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Human rights defenders need solidarity from all parts of Europe when repressed by their governments

13/09/2011 Strasbourg

The clampdown on human rights defenders in Belarus continues unabated. In early August, Ales Bialiatski, the chair of the Human Rights Centre Viasna and vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), was arrested. He is still being held in pre-trial detention. Activists...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Europeans must account for their complicity in CIA secret detention and torture

05/09/2011 Strasbourg

From late 2001 onwards, the US Central Intelligence Agency developed a vast network of clandestine counter-terrorism operations to capture and detain its most wanted suspects. The CIA’s partner agencies in various foreign countries – including across Europe – lent their close collaboration. The...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Ten years of “global war on terror” undermined human rights – also in Europe

01/09/2011 Strasbourg

The ten-year anniversary of the atrocious Nine Eleven attacks is an occasion for sombre reflection. Almost three thousand lives were ended indiscriminately by a criminal conspiracy to turn passenger aircraft into weapons of mass destruction. This was a crime against humanity, the gravity of which...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Excessive use of pre-trial detention runs against human rights

18/08/2011 Strasbourg

Twenty-five per cent of the individuals kept in prison in Europe today are in pre-trial detention, “detained on remand”. They have not been tried at all or are waiting for the review of an earlier sentence. As their guilt is not established, they are in principle to be regarded as innocent. The...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Methods for assessing the age of migrant children must be improved

09/08/2011 Strasbourg

Age can determine the future for a migrant. If recognised as a child, he or she might be granted the right to stay. If considered an adult, the migrant could quickly end up in detention and be deported. The crucial dividing line is at 18 years of age. There are certainly strong reasons for the...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Several hundred thousand people in Europe are stateless – they need extra protection

02/08/2011 Strasbourg

Having a nationality is a basic human right – so basic that it amounts to a “right to have rights”. The tragedy of persons without nationality gained attention after World War II and a first United Nations treaty was agreed in 1954 on the Status of Stateless Persons to be be followed by another...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Clear laws needed to protect trans persons from discrimination and hatred

26/07/2011 Strasbourg

Trans persons face severe discrimination in many areas of life, not least in employment, education, health care and leisure activities. Bullying at school is common-place. Surveys have demonstrated that about half of trans persons hide their gender identity at work for fear of losing their job....

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Penalising women who wear the burqa does not liberate them

20/07/2011 Strasbourg

Islamophobia and anti-Muslim prejudices continue to undermine tolerance in Europe. One symptom is the debate about banning the burqa and niqab in public places. In Belgium a law will enter into force on Saturday 23 July, which besides a fine provides for up to seven days of imprisonment for women...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Judgments issued by the European Court cannot be ignored

19/07/2011 Strasbourg

People turn to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg because they feel unable to find justice at home. Though the majority of European states do comply with the Court’s decisions, there are some which are strikingly slow to abide by their obligation to execute the judgments. This is...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

European media and anti-Gypsy stereotypes

07/07/2011 Strasbourg

Anti-Gypsy stereotypes continue to be spread and perpetuated in several media across Europe. The media has an important role to play in countering prejudices – but a number of journals and broadcast media have not lived up to their responsibility when it comes to Roma and Travellers. They have...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Politicians using anti-Roma rhetoric are spreading hate

28/06/2011 Strasbourg

Posters displayed in Milan during the recent municipal election campaign warned against the risk of the city turning into a “Gypsy town”. Though this was an extreme display of xenophobia, anti-Roma statements by politicians are in fact commonplace in several countries in Europe. Until this stops,...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Austerity budgets tend to victimise the most vulnerable

14/06/2011 Strasbourg

Radical austerity measures have been introduced in several European countries. Although governments have stated they will try to minimise the negative social impacts, it is already clear that there have been - and will be further – serious consequences for the most vulnerable groups: the very...

Read More

EN FR

Human Rights Comment

African migrants are drowning in the Mediterranean

08/06/2011 Strasbourg

Another boat carrying migrants from Libya capsized last week. At least 150 persons drowned, while others were saved by the Tunisian coast guard and fishing boats. In a similar tragedy in May, about 600 persons lost their lives. There are other reports about missing vessels with migrants on board...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Human Rights Defenders in Belarus are severely persecuted

25/05/2011 Strasbourg

In Belarus, the crackdown on opposition politicians, civil society groups, human rights defenders and media continues. While no less than seven hundred demonstrators were arrested in the evening after the elections of 19 December, several of them have now been brought to court, have faced...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Zero tolerance for sexual abuse of children

05/05/2011 Strasbourg

A former Belgian bishop recently trivialised his sexual abuse of two of his nephews by insisting he was not a paedo-criminal. During a television interview he brushed aside several years of sexual abuse of a dependent child as “a small relationship”. The statements by the bishop provoked wide...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Social Networks: potential for social change – but privacy must be protected

27/04/2011 Strasbourg

The popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt were to a large extent made possible by social networking, primarily on Facebook. Democracy activists posted details of anti-regime gatherings, and word spread from one network to the next with the efficacy of just a few clicks. The resultant mass street...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Prisoners should have the right to vote

31/03/2011 Strasbourg

The European Court of Human Rights has confirmed its position that there should be no blanket ban against prisoners voting in general elections. This judgment was not particularly popular in the United Kingdom, the country from where another complaint had been filed with the Court. Even leading...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Persons with disabilities must not be denied the right to vote

22/03/2011 Strasbourg

People with disabilities do not generally ask for charity; they demand equal human rights. Their message was heard when the United Nations adopted a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. This treaty has now been ratified by 27 member states of the Council of Europe and...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Overuse of the European Arrest Warrant – a threat to human rights

15/03/2011 Strasbourg

The request made by Sweden to the United Kingdom for the surrender of the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, put the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in the headlines. The EAW was created in 2002 as a response to the risk of further terrorist actions after the September 2001 attacks in the United...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Women are underpaid all over Europe

08/03/2011 Strasbourg

After years of debate and protests, the pay gap still remains. Every day European women continue to experience one of the most deep-rooted injustices – being paid less than a man for work of equal value. Furthermore, the well-known ‘glass ceiling’ continues to prevent many women from career...

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Migrant children should not be detained

08/02/2011 Strasbourg

Thousands of migrant children are detained every year in Europe. They are forcibly brought to detention centres in a number of countries, in most cases with a view of preparing for their deportation. There they have to endure prison-like conditions, in spite of not having committed any crime....

Read More

EN FR RU

Human Rights Comment

Restrictive laws prevent families from reuniting

02/02/2011 Strasbourg

It is becoming more and more difficult for immigrants in Europe to have their family members join them. Even long-term residents and naturalised citizens are being deprived of this human right as policies in host countries are now becoming more restrictive and selective. Applicants have to fulfil...

Read More

 

Subscribe to our mailing list
* indicates required
Group