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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....

The Commissioner addresses the French Senate on surveillance bill

20/05/2015 Strasbourg
Today the Commissioner has released a letter addressed to the members of the French Senate Commission which is discussing the surveillance bill. The Commissioner reiterates the importance of adopting a law which is compliant with human rights and thus urges the Senators to dispel the concerns raised by the current text, namely by clarifying its scope, counterbalancing the powers of the...
Visit report

France: persistent discrimination endangers human rights

17/02/2015 Strasbourg
Read the report “Despite advances in legislation and measures to combat intolerance and racism, discrimination and hate speech not only persist in France but are on the rise. There is an urgent need to combat this in a sustained and systematic manner,” Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, said today, publishing the report on his visit to France from 22 to 26...
Visit to France

France must keep its promises concerning equality

26/09/2014 Paris
“Despite efforts to implement the principle of equality in France, many forms of discrimination remain and show that a number of the Republic’s major undertakings are still to be honoured in this vital area for social cohesion and human rights”, said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, today, following a five-day visit to France. Intolerance is on the rise and...

Commissioner's reaction to racist attacks on French Minister of Justice Taubira

14/11/2013 Strasbourg
The racist attacks on Ms Christiane Taubira, the French Minister of Justice, over the last few months give serious cause for concern. Racist speech and, more broadly speaking, the rejection of diversity, seriously undermine human rights, human dignity and the values on which today's Europe is founded. I therefore wish to express my solidarity with Ms Taubira. Unfortunately this type of attack...
Visit to France

On-site visit to detention centre of Geispolsheim

30/10/2013 Strasbourg
On 29 October the Commissioner made an on-site visit to Strasbourg and its area focused on the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. After having met local lawyers and NGOs expert in this field, he visited the migrant detention centre of Geispolsheim, where he held discussions with the staff and detainees. He concluded the visit with a constructive meeting with the Prefect of Bas-Rhin and of...

France: Off-site hearings raise human rights concerns

[Strasbourg, 17/10/2013] – In a letter sent to the Minister of Justice, Ms Christiane Taubira, on 2 October 2013 and published today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, expresses concern about respect for the human rights of the migrants required to appear at hearings of the Courts of Meaux and Bobigny held off site in the administrative detention centre of Le...
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 acceptable to intimidate and attack defenders of migrants’ rights In several European countries, the...
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 too often to resort to old methods of dealing with this pressing human rights issue, as the increasing...

How long must LGBTI persons still wait to live free from prejudice?

[17/10/2012 11:00] "The lives of millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex persons are still burdened by widespread prejudice, stigmatisation and in some cases even violence. Many of them are treated as second-class human beings. This situation is unbearable in today's Europe", said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, on the eve of his participation...
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