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Opinion article

Europe can do more to protect refugees

02/09/2015 Strasbourg

For many years European countries have been warned about the inadequacy of their immigration and asylum systems. Now, with increased refugee arrivals and more frequent tragedies, this system is showing all its weaknesses. But refugee arrivals are not the real cause of this collapse. The real...

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Statement

OSCE Representative and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights condemn sentencing of journalist Khadija Ismayilova in Azerbaijan

01 September 2015 Strasbourg/Vienna

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, today condemned the sentencing of Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova. “The charges brought against Ismayilova, and the trial, are unjust; they...

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Statement

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance

28/08/2015 Strasbourg

30 August, the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance, should not be the only day when we remember the victims and reflect on the harsh reality that thousands of families of victims are faced with, waiting and hoping to find out the truth about their loved ones. Regrettably,...

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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...

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Statement

Commissioner appalled by sentences against Leyla and Arif Yunus

13/08/2015 Strasbourg

I am appalled and saddened by Baku Court’s decision to sentence Leyla and Arif Yunus to respectively 8 years and a half and 7 years of prison. These sentences are a glaring illustration of the ongoing repression in Azerbaijan, where human rights defenders are selectively targeted with criminal...

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Human Rights Comment

Time to cure amnesia about the history of Roma in Europe

30/07/2015 Strasbourg

In a few days, we will commemorate the liquidation 71 years ago of the so-called “Gypsy family camp” at Auschwitz-Birkenau. On 2 August 1944, 2 897 persons were taken to the gas chambers and exterminated. Only a few months earlier, on 16 May 1944, the detainees of the “Gypsy camp” had refused to...

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Human Rights Comment

Time to debunk myths and prejudices about Roma migrants in Europe

16/07/2015 Strasbourg

Political and media debates on Roma migration have become recurrent in several European countries. Since the eastward expansion of the European Union in 2004 and 2007, and the lifting of employment restrictions regarding Romanian and Bulgarian citizens in a number of EU member states in 2014,...

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Opinion article

The Srebrenica genocide: addressing the needs of the victims must be the priority

10/07/2015 Oslobodjenje and others

The Srebrenica genocide is one of the vilest episodes of Europe’s contemporary history. In just a few days in July 1995, around 8 300 boys and men were executed while 30 000 women, children and elderly persons were forcibly displaced. Twenty years on, the victims of that genocide are still...

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Opinion

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights reiterates his call to bring Russian NGO legislation in line with European standards

09/07/2015 Strasbourg

Read the opinion “Russian NGO legislation falls short of European standards and must be revised to allow human rights defenders and NGOs in Russia to work in an environment conducive to performing their essential role in society,” said today Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils...

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Visit report

Serbia: Impunity for war crimes, discrimination and lack of media freedom hamper human rights progress

08/07/2015 Strasbourg

Read the report “Serbia has to show more resolve in addressing the legacy of the past, to improve the fight against discrimination and to establish a safer media environment” said Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing the report based on his visit to the...

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Visit to Ukraine

Eastern Ukraine: freedom of movement is vital to preventing isolation and favouring reintegration

04/07/2015 Kyiv

“The continuing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has a devastating impact on the life of communities in the vicinity of the contact line”, stated the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, following his visit to Ukraine from 29 June to 3 July. “Facilities such as...

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Opinion article

You’re Better Than This, Europe

29/06/2015 Strasbourg

In an opinion editorial published today in the New York Times, the Commissioner calls European countries to improve their response to migration by adopting more humane policies. “During the last seven decades, European countries have painstakingly tried to rebuild a continent once shattered by...

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Visit report

Progress on human rights protection remains slow in Bulgaria

22/06/2015 Strasbourg

Read the report “Bulgaria has made some progress in strengthening human rights protection, but this remains slow and fragile, in particular as regard the rights of persons placed in institutions, the human rights of migrants and media freedom,” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe...

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Visit to Slovak Republic

Slovakia should set ambitious targets for the social inclusion of Roma and persons with disabilities

19/06/2015 Bratislava

“Although Slovakia has taken important measures to advance its human rights agenda, much more ambitious targets need to be set for eradicating the social exclusion and marginalisation of Roma and persons with disabilities. Also much more should be done to reinforce the effectiveness of the...

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Visit to San Marino

San Marino should not jeopardize media freedom

11/06/2015 Strasbourg

"San Marino should reconsider its current plans to regulate the work of journalists and ensure full respect of the right to report in the public interest” stated Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, after his visit to the country on 9-10 June. The Commissioner was...

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Publication of an issue paper

Reinforcing democratic oversight of security services cannot be further delayed

05/06/2015 Strasbourg

Read the issue paper “The current systems of oversight of national security services in Europe remain largely ineffective. Revelations over the last years about security operations which have violated human rights should have prompted reforms in this field, but progress has been disappointingly...

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Opinion article

Sport cannot ignore human rights

04/06/2015 Strasbourg

On June 12 the first European Games begin in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. More than 6,000 athletes from 50 countries will run, fight and jump for medals, igniting the passions of millions of Europeans. We hope they will also stand up to halt the crackdown on human rights defenders occurring...

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Letter

The Commissioner urges Serbia to shield the national Ombudsman from undue pressure

01/06/2015 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Serbia, Mr Aleksandar VUČIĆ, in which he urges the government to fully respect the Serbian Ombudsman’s independence and guarantee a favourable environment for his work. “I am seriously concerned at reports indicating...

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Letter

The Commissioner calls on the Ukrainian Parliament to secure the independence of the Ombudsman institution

29/05/2015 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published a letter addressed to Mr Volodymyr Groysman, Chairperson of the Parliament of Ukraine, expressing his concerns about the legislative proposal aimed at annulling the appointment of the current Ombudsman of Ukraine, Ms Lutkovska. While drawing attention of the...

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Letter

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...

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