Human Rights Comment

Protecting Children's Rights: Europe should do more

18/11/2014 Strasbourg
25 years of child rights protection Twenty-five years ago, on 20 November 1989, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). It was a landmark development: for the first time, states recognised children as fully-fledged bearers of a range of human rights, just like adults. Today, the Convention is still the most important international text for the...
Report on mission to Kyiv, Moscow and Crimea

In Crimea serious human rights violations and attacks on minorities and journalists require urgent action

27/102014 Strasbourg
Report “All cases of serious human rights violations that have occurred in Crimea[1] since February 2014, including the recent cases of abductions, must be effectively investigated and those responsible held accountable. Urgent steps must also be taken to ensure minority rights and security, as well as media freedom and journalists’ safety” stated today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe...
Visit to Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan: Stop reprisals against human rights defenders

24/10/2014 Baku
“The targeting of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan must stop” said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, at the end of a two-day visit to the country.  “The urgency of this visit was dictated by the arrest and detention over last summer of virtually all the civil society partners of my Office, which makes it increasingly difficult to work on human rights...
Report on visit to the Netherlands

Migrants’ and children’s rights need better protection in the Netherlands

14/10/2014 Strasbourg
“The Netherlands has a solid human rights protection system, but in practice there are shortcomings, in particular as concerns migrants and children, that need to be addressed” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing the report on his visit to the country carried out last May. Particularly concerning is the extensive use of administrative...
Human Rights Comment

Preserving Europe's social model

13/10/2014 Strasbourg
PRESERVING EUROPE’S SOCIAL MODEL As we enter the 7th year of the economic crisis, the end is not yet in sight. Worse, in most countries, the adoption of austerity measures has so far contributed little to recovery, but has exacerbated the dire living conditions of millions of people. Not surprisingly, disillusioned Europeans are increasingly giving their support to populist movements and...
Visit to Armenia

Armenia should address gender inequality and enhance the independence of the judiciary

09/10/2014 Yerevan
“Much remains to be done in Armenia towards ensuring the equal protection of human rights of women and men”, said the Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, at the end of a 5-day visit to Armenia. “The adoption in 2013 of a Law on Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Men and Women and of gender-related policy documents are steps in the right direction”, said the Commissioner, urging...
Human Rights Comment

LGBTI children have the right to safety and equality

02/10/2014 Strasbourg
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) children are often victims of bullying and violence in schools, at home and via social media. This has a serious effect on their well-being and prevents openness about their personal identity. Like all children, LGBTI [i] children are entitled to enjoy human rights and require a safe environment in order to participate fully in society....
Opinion article

Europe, Wake up!

30/09/2014 Strasbourg
In an opinion editorial published yesterday by New Europe, the Commissioner calls for a change in European migration policy, in order to make it more humane and human rights compliant. “Just a few days ago more than 700 people died in two shipwrecks near Malta and off the coast of Libya. Stories told by the few survivors are dreadful. However hard the EU tries to dissuade migrants from...
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...
Mission to Kyiv, Moscow and Simferopol

Human rights abuses in Crimea need to be addressed

12/09/2014 Strasbourg
“Cases of serious human rights violations, including killings, enforced disappearances, severe physical ill-treatment and arbitrary detention in Crimea[1] since March 2014 have to be addressed" said Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, at the end of a mission to Kyiv, Moscow and Simferopol from 7 to 12 September 2014. Some of the allegations implicate the...
Human Rights Comment

Missing persons in Europe: the truth is yet to be told

28/08/2014 Strasbourg
Tens of thousands of persons remain missing and still haunt Europe decades after the demise of dictatorships and the end of armed conflicts. For example, Spain has yet to come to terms with its past and shed light on the fate of more than 150 000 persons who remain missing as a result of the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship. About 20 000 persons remain missing  following the armed...
Human Rigths Comment

Maintain universal access to health care

07/08/2014 Strasbourg
Universal access to health care has been undermined by austerity measures and the economic crisis. Cuts in health services and difficult economic and social conditions are beginning to have a measurable impact on the health of the population in many countries. Yet the right to health is guaranteed by international and European human rights instruments. Everyone’s access to health care without...

Concerns over the situation of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan

07/08/2014 Strasbourg
The arrest of Rasul Jafarov and the travel ban imposed on Emin Huseynov provide yet another disturbing illustration of how human rights defenders in Azerbaijan are systematically threatened with an instrumental use of criminal suits. These cases happen shortly after the arrest of Leyla Yunus and her husband, which followed a long list of arrests of activists who are now muzzled behind bars.  By...
Opinion article

Safeguarding human rights in the fight against terrorism

31/7/2014 Strasbourg
In an opinion editorial published today by New Europe, the Commissioner underscores the importance of safeguarding human rights in the fight against terrorism. “Anti-terror policies and actions must become more human-rights compliant. By doing so, state security is not reduced. On the contrary, governments would increase their credibility among the public and weaken support for anti-democratic...
Human Rights Comment

Fighting violence against women must become a top priority

29/07/2014 Strasbourg
On August 1, the Istanbul Convention, a landmark treaty of the Council of Europe dedicated to preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, will enter into force. It could not come at a better time. Violence against women remains one of the most widespread human rights violations which takes place every day in Europe; intimate partner violence is still among the major...
Letter to the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office

Commissioner expresses concern over NGOs in Hungary

24/07/2014 Strasbourg
“The stigmatizing rhetoric used in Hungary against non-governmental organisations (NGOs) active in the field of promoting human rights and democratic values, with politicians questioning the legitimacy of their work, is of great concern to me” said today Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, publishing a letter addressed to the Minister of the Prime Minister’s...
Letter to the Prime Minister

Ukraine: urgent action needed to protect internally displaced persons

17/07/2014 Strasbourg
“I am deeply concerned about the situation of internally displaced people in Ukraine. Many of the IDPs, who include women, children, and persons with disabilities, are traumatised by the hostilities and need special care. The government must urgently develop a coordinated response at the central level, first of all, by establishing a centralised registration system and designating a state...
Human Rights Comments

Protect women’s rights during the crisis

10/07/2014 Strasbourg
Women and men entered the economic crisis on an unequal footing. The crisis and resulting austerity measures have hit women disproportionately and endangered the progress already made in the enjoyment of human rights by women. A gender-sensitive response is necessary to halt and reverse this trend. Female poverty on the rise In most of the countries affected by the economic crisis, an...
Report on visit to Romania

Vulnerable groups require better protection in Romania

08/07/2014 Strasbourg
“Romania must show a much stronger commitment to effectively protecting the human rights of persons with disabilities, children and Roma”, said today Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, releasing a report on his visit to Romania from 31 March to 4 April 2014. “Many persons with disabilities, including children, are isolated from society in a growing number of...
Visit to Hungary

Hungary should do more for the human rights of Roma, migrants and persons with disabilities

04/07/2014 Strasbourg
"The impact of recent changes in the legal framework in Hungary on human rights has attracted considerable international criticism. While some of the issues raised in that context have been addressed, the situation of vulnerable groups in the country remains of serious concern” said today Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, at the end of a four-day visit to...
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