News 2013

Syrian refugees: a neglected human rights crisis in Europe

Human Rights Comment Strasbourg 20/12/2013 One of the world’s biggest refugee crises of recent times is unfolding on Europe’s doorstep, but most European governments have reacted with complete indifference. Close to 4 million people are internally displaced in Syria and almost 3 million have left the country since the beginning of the conflict. The...

Europe is failing Syrian refugees

Press conference Syrian Refugees - A neglected human crisis par Apollofilm Visit to Turkey, Bulgaria and Germany on the Syrian refugee crisis Berlin, 19/12/2013 - , In a press conference in Berlin concluding a 5-day visit to Turkey, Bulgaria and Germany on the Syrian refugee crisis, the Commissioner urged European countries to step up their efforts in...

Serbia should end degrading reception conditions for asylum seekers

Letter to the Prime Minister of Serbia Strasbourg 12/12/2013 Commissioner's visit to Bogovadja "Serbia needs to strengthen its asylum system and reception capacities in order to cope with the ever increasing number of arrivals, in particular from war-torn Syria. I could witness signs of the current strains on the Serbian asylum system during my...

The municipality of Rome should step up its support to Roma and refugees

Letter to the Mayor of Rome Strasbourg 11/12/2013 Roma settlement in Italy "The situation of Roma and refugees in Italy is a long-standing concern. Local authorities, including in Rome, have an important role to play in improving the living conditions of these people," said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while...

Restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly still serious human rights concerns in Azerbaijan

[11/12/2013] In a video message to the Azerbaijan's Human Rights Forum, organized by the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS), in Baku, Azerbaijan, the Commissioner expressed his serious concern at the apparent intensification of the practice of unjustified or selective criminal prosecution of journalists and others who express critical opinions, including bloggers and...

Austerity measures across Europe have undermined human rights

Publication of an Issue Paper Strasbourg 04/12/13 photo Milos Bicanski "Many governments in Europe imposing austerity measures have forgotten about their human rights obligations, especially the social and economic rights of the most vulnerable, the need to ensure access to justice, and the right to equal treatment. Regrettably, international lenders...

Commissioner concerned about the situation in Ukraine

Freedom of assembly Strasbourg 02/12/2013 "I have been following with great concern the recent events in Ukraine. Freedom of assembly is a fundamental human right and as such must be always upheld by the authorities. Several cases of excessive use of force were reported, both against the demonstrators and the journalists covering the events.  The...

Police misconduct in Turkey raises serious human rights concerns

"The police's handling of demonstrations in Turkey exposes once again the long-standing, serious human rights problem of the misconduct of law enforcement officials in the country. It is time for the Turkish police to improve their record of compliance with human rights standards", said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, releasing a report on...

Children’s rights should be better respected in migration and asylum

Visit to Denmark Copenhagen 22/11/2013 Sandholm asylum centre, Denmark "More systematic consideration should be given to the best interests of the child in migration and asylum policies and procedures" said Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, after a three-day visit to Copenhagen (19-22 November 2013). The...

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

Strasbourg 14/11/2013 Chritiane Taubira - photo Mathieu Delmestre 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...

Russia must strengthen the independence and the impartiality of the judiciary

Report on visit to the Russian Federation (2013) Strasbourg 12/11/2013 The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation "Substantial reforms should continue in order to remedy the systemic deficiencies in the administration of justice and strengthen the independence and impartiality of the judiciary in the Russian Federation", said today Nils Muižnieks,...

Freedom of expression and democracy in the digital age - Opportunities, rights, responsibilities

Belgrade 07/11/2013 In his keynote speech at the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and Information Society today, the Commissioner highlighted restrictions to media freedom on grounds of national security as particularly serious ones, following the recent disclosure of the US and UK mass surveillance programmes. ...

EU border control policies negatively affect human rights

Strasbourg 06/11/2013 - 9:30 "The EU externalisation of border control policies has a deleterious effect on human rights, in particular the right to leave a country, which is a prerequisite to the enjoyment of other rights – most importantly, the right to seek asylum", said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while...

On-site visit to detention centre of Geispolsheim

Visit to France Strasbourg 30/10/2013 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...

Legal recognition of LGBTI families

Strasbourg 25/10/2013 - 11:00 In a video message at the ILGA-Europe Annual Conference "Family matters! Reaching out to hearts and minds" in Zagreb, Croatia, the Commissioner urged all European countries to give equal legal recognition to LGBTI couples and families. The European Court of Human Rights has clearly recognised that same-sex couples living...

Human rights at risk when secret surveillance spreads

Human Rights Comment Strasbourg 24/10/2013 The fear of terrorism, technology that is developing at the speed of light, private companies and state security agencies compiling personal information – this topical mix has become a severe threat to the right to privacy. Despite the intentions, secret surveillance to counter terrorism can destroy...

Irresponsible media reporting on Roma propagates negative myths

[Strasbourg, 24/10/2013 09:30] – "The long-standing problem of negative media reporting on minorities has vehemently re-emerged with the cases of the children found in Roma families in Greece and Ireland. Most news reports, not only in Europe but all over the world, have insisted on the ethnicity of the families from which the children have been taken, thus propagating age-old myths...

Slovenia : Justice has to be done for all the erased

[Strasbourg, 19/10/2013 09:30] – Twenty two years have passed since the erasure of more than 25 000 persons from the Slovene Register of Permanent Residents, a decision which caused serious violations of human rights and grave suffering of the individuals concerned and their families. As a result, the erased became, in effect, irregular migrants – without documents, healthcare and...

Commissioner warns the UK about the consequences of non-compliance with judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

[Strasbourg, 17/10/2013 17:00] – In a Memorandum published today, the Commissioner underscores the obligation for member States to execute judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and the importance that such compliance has for the European system of human rights protection. He also warns about the possible negative consequences for the UK's interests, international...

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...
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