News 2009

Each child in need should grow up in a safe and stable environment

[28/12/09 10:00] "The process of de-institutionalisation of large-scale institutions for orphans and children with disabilities must continue, but it has to be pursued with care in the best interests of the child", declared Commissioner Hammarberg in his latest Viewpoint . Stating that suitable alternatives must be developed and supported by the authorities – also in a period of economic...

Georgia: Commissioner Hammarberg brings process of releases forward

[21/12/09 11:00] On Saturday, three detained minors were released following the intervention of Thomas Hammarberg in Tskhinvali. "These young people were reunited with their families, two of them after more than a month in detention; the third one had been held more than five months. This process must continue, and more needs to be done to resolve the remaining cases on both sides. This...

Commissioner Hammarberg stresses need to halt returns to Kosovo*

Letter to Germany Strasbourg 15/12/2009 "The forced return to Kosovo of people who have found shelter in European states should be halted", said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights publishing today a letter to the Chancellor of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel. He notes that Kosovo lacks infrastructures allowing refugees' sustainable reintegration. ...

Commissioner Hammarberg: Andrei Sakharov still an inspiration for human rights activists

  Strasbourg, 14/12/2009 – "The example and thoughts of Andrei Sakharov remain acutely relevant," said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his Viewpoint published today, twenty years after Andrei Sakharov's death on December 14, 1989. "Sakharov presented a universal vision for a peaceful and progressive society based on...

Migrants’ rights: Commissioner Hammarberg publishes two letters to Italy and Malta

Strasbourg, 10/12/2009 – The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, published today two letters he sent last August to the Minister of Interior of Italy, Roberto Maroni, and to the Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, of Malta Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici. The Commissioner's letters refer to that month's incident involving a boat which set off from Libya with...

[09/12/09 15:00] “Systematic work is necessary to prevent human rights violations”

"There is an urgent need to prevent and remedy human rights violations at national level through systematic work for the implementation of existing standards" said Commissioner Hammarberg publishing today his Memorandum in view of the High-Level Conference on the "Future of the European Court of Human Rights" which will take place in Interlaken, Switzerland, on 18-19 February 2010. The...

Human Rights Commissioner at press conference in Tbilisi: “Ordinary people should be protected from the consequences of the conflict”

Visit to Georgia Strasbourg 04/12/2009 The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights visited Georgia from 27 November to 3 December. He was determined to contribute to the release of detainees and to family reunification during his mission. He achieved the following: two Georgian teenage school boys who were being detained in Tskhinvali since 4 November 2009...

Commissioner Hammarberg in Georgia: detainees released

Strasbourg, 03/12/2009 – Two detained teenagers were released on Wednesday after intervention by Thomas Hammarberg in Tskhinvali. Two other minors will be freed within the coming days according to a pledge given to the Commissioner. The boys had crossed the administrative borderline from Georgia in early November and were tried on charges of illegal entry carrying weapons. The Commissioner...

Kosovo*: “Time is not right for returns”, stresses Human Rights Commissioner

Strasbourg, 02/12/2009 – The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, expressed today his very deep concern at the forced returns to Kosovo of people who have found shelter in European states. "The time simply is not right for returns in general, let alone forced returns", said the Commissioner. Commissioner Hammarberg visited Kosovo last March and in July he...

North Caucasus: “Persistent pattern of impunity”, reports Commissioner Hammarberg

Strasbourg, 24.11.2009 – "Stability in the North Caucasus region has not been achieved. Increased activity by illegal armed groups, the lack of effective investigations into disappearances and killings, and murders of human rights activists are of particular concern" said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, publishing today his report based on the visit to...

"UN Child Rights treaty 20 years on: Implementation still not satisfactory" says Commissioner Hammarberg

Strasbourg, 16.11.2009 – "The 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child should be a moment of reflection: many children still suffer grave violations. Their concerns are seldom given top priority in politics" said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest {C}{C} Viewpoint published today. "The Convention on the Rights...

The child’s right to respect: new publication on Janusz Korczak’s work

Strasbourg, 16/11/2009 – On the initiative of Commissioner Hammarberg, the Council of Europe published today the book "Janusz Korczak – The child's right to respect" which contains a series of five lectures held across Europe from 2007 to 2009. The publication presents an English translation of one of Korczak's best-known texts, The Child's Right to Respect, which contains a summary of...

The Joint Conference concerning Roma Migration and Freedom of Movement

[09/11/2009] The serious human rights challenges faced by Roma when migrating or exercising their right to freedom of movement, as well as the security implications, will be the focus of a joint international conference in Vienna on 9-10 November 2009, organised by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights (CommHR), the OSCE...

Commissioner Hammarberg encourages Bulgaria to make more efforts to protect the rights of minorities and children

[06/11/2009] Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg concluded a three-day visit to Sofia during which he assessed progress on the protection of the rights of minorities and disadvantaged children. The Commissioner met with the Minister of Interior, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister of Labour and Social Policy, and Acting Minister of Education, Youth and Science, as well as with members of...

“Intelligence secrecy is no excuse for covering up human rights violations” says Commissioner

[02/11/09 11:00] " Intelligence agencies have acquired new powers and resources - but they are not kept under sufficient political and judicial control. Governments should improve the oversight of these services" writes Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg in his new Viewpoint article. In particular, he points out the need to control co-operation between agencies in different countries....

“Europe should embrace multiculturalism and avoid narrow definitions of national identities” says Commissioner Hammarberg

Strasbourg, 30.11.2009 – "Europe is still not free from racism, xenophobia and discrimination. Minorities are made targets of hate speech, violence and systematic discrimination, not least in the job market", said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint published today. He asked politicians to take such negative tendencies more...

Commissioner Hammarberg visits Bulgaria to discuss the rights of children and minorities

Strasbourg, 30.10.2009 – The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, will visit Bulgaria from 3 to 5 November for high-level talks on protection of children's rights and on the respect of minority rights. The programme of the visit includes meetings with the Ministers of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Labour and Social Policy, and with the Acting Minister of...

Commissioner Hammarberg continues dialogue with Hungarian Prime Minister to eradicate intolerance and discrimination

Strasbourg, 26/11/2009 – "The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, published today a letter sent to the Prime Minister of Hungary, Mr Gordon Bajnai, on the fight against intolerance, discrimination and racism affecting members of minority groups, in particular Roma. The letter follows the Commissioner's visit to Hungary last October during which he...

The Commissioner discussed minorities’ rights and discrimination issues during his visit to Lithuania

[22/10/2009] Commissioner Hammarberg visited Lithuania from 19 to 20 October for high level discussions with the Lithuanian authorities where a number of human rights issues were raised, including minority rights, the need to investigate the alleged existence in Lithuania of a secret detention centre for terrorist suspects, and the deficiencies of the Law on the Protection of Minors...

“Climate change is also a human rights concern” says Commissioner Hammarberg

Strasbourg, 19.10.2009 – "The daily lives of millions of people are already being affected by the natural effects of global warming. Basic human rights - such as the right to life, health, food, water, shelter or property - are also threatened" said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint published today. Calling for a spirit of global...
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