Third party interventions

Commissioner Muižnieks intervenes in cases concerning Azerbaijan before the European Court of Human Rights

24/02/2015 Strasbourg
Today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, published written observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights on the case of Hilal Mammadov against Azerbaijan, in which he stresses the systematic deficiencies in the area of freedom of expression, including judicial harassment of critical voices, and a pattern of retaliatory measures against those who...
Visit report

France: persistent discrimination endangers human rights

17/02/2015 Strasbourg
Read the report (in French) “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...
Human Rights Comment

Syrian refugees: ‘Reset’ needed in Europe’s approach

03/02/2015 Strasbourg
Just over a year ago, I decided to follow the steps of Syrian refugees in Europe, to better understand what they were going through. At that time, I was worried that most European governments were reacting with indifference to the biggest refugee crisis facing our continent in over two decades. There were reports of Syrian refugees being pushed back, while others, having arrived in Europe,...
Statement on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

Europe still needs to draw lessons from the Holocaust

26/01/2015 Strasbourg
70 years ago the Auschwitz death camp was liberated. What the world’s peoples saw shocked their conscience and made them realise man’s possible barbarity. The Holocaust resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish population as well as of numerous persons belonging to other minority groups. Many vowed 'Never again'. However genocides reoccurred in Europe and in other parts of the globe....
Visit to Norway

Recognise legal capacity of all people with disabilities

23/01/2015 Oslo
"Norway should recognise the legal capacity of all people with disabilities, including persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities” - said Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, after a visit to Norway (19-23 January 2015). "As a first step, the authorities should collect data on the extent of depriving legal capacity under current legislation in view...
Visit to Spain

Spain: Legislation and practice on immigration and asylum must adhere to human rights standards

16/01/2015 Madrid
“The proposed amendments to the Aliens Act aimed at legalising push-backs of migrants arriving in Ceuta and Melilla currently discussed in Spain are in clear breach of human rights law. The Spanish authorities should reconsider them and ensure that any future legislation fully abides by Spain's international obligations, which include ensuring full access to an effective asylum procedure,...
Opinion editorial

Eastern Ukraine: the humanity behind the headlines

18/12/2014 Strasbourg
The government in Kyiv, aid organisations and the international community must work together to address the humanitarian crisis created by the fighting in the east.
Report on visit to Hungary

Hungary: progress needed on media freedom, anti-discrimination measures and migrants’ rights

16/12/2014 Strasbourg
Read the report “Hungary should better ensure media freedom, combat widespread intolerance and discrimination, and improve the protection of the human rights of migrants” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing a report based on the findings of his July visit to Hungary. While welcoming improvements to Hungary’s media legislation introduced...

Commissioner concerned about arrest of journalists in Turkey

15/12/2014 Strasbourg
I am following with deep concern the events unfolding in Turkey. The arrest yesterday of journalists and media workers is a serious setback for media freedom in the country. Irrespective of the reasons which may have motivated them, such measures are disproportionate and unnecessary in a democracy. They are as worrying as the waves of arrests of journalists in 2011 which were condemned by my...
International Human Rights Day

Roma inclusion is mission possible

10/12/2014 Strasbourg
“In my two-and-a-half years in office, I have encountered one serious human rights problem in practically every member state - the prolonged exclusion and discrimination of the Roma population. This holds true whether the country is rich or poor, lies within or outside the European Union, and whether its Roma are indigenous or of migrant origin. This shameful situation cannot be further...
Publication of an Issue Paper

Do not switch human rights off

08/12/2014 Strasbourg
Issue Paper “The Internet and digital environment are not virtual worlds when it comes to human rights. Standards and principles that apply offline must also be upheld online” said today Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, releasing a report on the application of the rule of law to the Internet and the wider digital world. Addressing the pressing question of how...
Visit to Ukraine

Conflict in eastern Ukraine has dire impact on human rights

08/12/2014 Strasbourg
“The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has had devastating effects on the human rights of the population. The humanitarian situation is also extremely difficult and people continue to suffer greatly” stated today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, following a visit to Ukraine from 30 November to 5 December which included the capital Kyiv, as well as the eastern...
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....
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