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

Restrictions on defenders of migrants’ rights should stop

19/12/2012 Strasbourg

Defamation, threats, verbal and physical attacks, administrative sanctions and judicial harassment are used to deter human rights defenders from working with migrants and from combating the rising xenophobia and racism in Europe. Perpetrators can be both state and non-state actors. It is not...

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Human Rights Comment

Stop chasing Roma. Start including them.

22/11/2012 Strasbourg

Evictions of Roma are on the rise in Europe In recent years, the situation of Roma has been largely debated in Europe. However, this attention for the situation of the most discriminated minority in Europe has not been matched by much concrete action by governments. European countries continue...

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Human Rights Comment

States must take resolute measures to end school segregation of Roma

08/11/2012 Strasbourg

Roma children are experiencing segregated and substandard education in the school systems in the majority of the 47 Council of Europe member states. The consequences are devastating. It makes it very hard for these children to escape poverty and marginalisation later on in life. Non-integration...

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Human Rights Comment

States should do more to protect women from violence

09/10/2012 Strasbourg

Around the world – and indeed across Europe – women are beaten and threatened. Domestic violence is the most common form of abuse of women worldwide, irrespective of economics, religion or culture. There is a strange acceptance of the prevalence of domestic violence and violence against women in...

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Human Rights Comment

Internally displaced persons in Europe: Another lost generation?

03/09/2012 Strasbourg

The media have frequently raised the prospect of a “lost generation” appearing in Europe as a result of the economic crisis. However, a different kind of “lost generation” has been struggling to cope in many European countries as the result of past military-political crises. I have in mind...

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Human Rights Comment

Anti-Muslim prejudice hinders integration

24/07/2012 Strasbourg

Muslims in Europe want to interact with other Europeans and participate as full and equal members of society, but regularly face various forms of prejudice, discrimination and violence that reinforce their social exclusion. This is the conclusion of recent research by various international...

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Human Rights Comment

Silencing voices against homophobia violates human rights

21/06/2012 Strasbourg

Recent months have seen renewed efforts in some Council of Europe member states to silence voices against homophobia and transphobia. Laws banning information about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) issues mark a worrying step back towards a bygone era when homosexuals...

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Human Rights Comment

Continued attacks in Europe: journalists need protection from violence

05/06/2012 Strasbourg

Journalism is a dangerous profession, including in Europe. Since the beginning of this year, journalists have suffered physical attacks in Azerbaijan on a number of occasions, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Russia. Governments should treat violence...

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Human Rights Comment

National Human Rights Structures can help mitigate the effects of austerity measures

31/05/2012 Strasbourg

Effective protection of human rights at national level requires good laws and efficient judiciaries – but also strong, independent national human rights structures (NHRSs). This need is especially evident in times of crisis and austerity. NHRSs – independent commissions, general or specialised...

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Human Rights Comment

Government leaders distort justice when they interfere in individual court cases

20/03/2012 Strasbourg

Outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered Russia’s Prosecutor General to verify the legality of the conviction of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of the oil company Yukos. Cases relating to co-accused Platon Lebedev and 30 others would also be assessed. Though the deadline set for the...

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Human Rights Comment

Persons with disabilities have a right to be included in the community – and others must respect this principle

13/03/2012 Strasbourg

Persons with disabilities have long been cut off and forced to lead lives of isolation, in large-scale institutions or the back-rooms of family homes. Ironically, this has sometimes been inflicted on them with good intentions, in the name of charity, care, welfare or medical rehabilitation....

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Human Rights Comment

Persons with intellectual and psycho-social disabilities must not be deprived of their individual rights

20/02/2012 Strasbourg

Persons with intellectual and psycho-social disabilities are today routinely placed under a guardianship regime in several European countries - they are deprived of their “legal capacity”. In the eyes of the law they are seen as non-persons and their decisions have no legal relevance. This policy...

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Human Rights Comment

The right to conscientious objection to military service should be guaranteed in all parts of Europe

02/02/2012 Strasbourg

People should not be imprisoned when their religious or other convictions prevent them from doing military service. Instead they should be offered a genuinely civilian alternative. This is now the established European standard, respected in most countries – but there are some unfortunate...

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Human Rights Comment

Discriminatory policies towards elderly people must stop

19/01/2012 Strasbourg

The privatisation of institutional care for older persons in Sweden has recently been marked by scandals. Media have revealed that a business company running a number of such institutions has prioritised profit making and bonuses for top managers over decent care for the residents. Cases of...

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