News

Annual activity report

2014 was a bad year for human rights in Europe

23/04/2015 Strasbourg
Annual activity report 2014 “Last year thousands of people died who should not have died, primarily in the Mediterranean Sea and in eastern Ukraine. They should not have died in a Europe that prides itself on being a space where the rule of law and democracy prevails, on a continent that claims to have drawn lessons from its own bloody and violent history,” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of...
Opinion Article

Crisis in the Mediterranean: Europe must change course

22/04/2015 Strasbourg
The Mediterranean Sea has for centuries been the cradle of modern European civilisation. It has today become a huge graveyard, as thousands of migrants continue to drown under Europe’s distracted look. When in October 2013 a shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa took the lives of 300 migrants, European leaders were unanimous in declaring ‘no more deaths’. Yet, 18 months and some 5,000...
Third party intervention

Azerbaijan: Commissioner Muižnieks intervenes in Leyla and Arif Yunus’ case before the European Court of Human Rights

20/04/2015 Strasbourg
Today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, published his written observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights on the case of Leyla and Arif Yunus. This is the last of five interventions published since February 2015 in which the Commissioner highlights systematic deficiencies in the area of freedom of expression and association in Azerbaijan,...
Human Rights Comment

Armenian-Turkish Reconnections and Human Rights

17/04/2015 Strasbourg
History continues to divide Armenian and Turkish officialdom, but there are many civil society, cultural and academic initiatives aiming to reconnect the two societies.  April 24 marks the centennial of the beginning of the mass killings, deportations and dispossession of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, which resulted in the near-total elimination of Armenians from Anatolia. These...
Interview

ARTE Interview on France's draft law on surveillance

13/04/2015 Strasbourg
VIDEO : https://youtu.be/WweNEpHmwYs?t=13m32s
Media freedom

Commissioner Muižnieks calls for unhindered broadcasting of ATR TV

02/04/2015 Strasbourg
Commissioner Muižnieks is concerned about reports that the Crimean Tatar ATR TV has been forced to stop broadcasting in Crimea.  Current obstacles placed by the authorities to the work of ATR and other Crimean Tatar media outlets send a chilling message to media professionals working on the peninsula and endanger the diversity of the media landscape in Crimea. During his mission to Crimea in...
Third party intervention

Commissioner Muižnieks intervenes before the European Court of Human Rights on the cases of Rasul Jafarov and Anar Mammadli

01/04/2015 Strasbourg
Today the Commissioner made public two written contributions sent to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the cases of human rights defenders Rasul Jafarov and Anar Mammadli. Following the amicus curiae submissions on the cases of Hilal Mammadov and Intigam Aliyev, today's interventions further illustrate the serious and systemic human rights problems faced in Azerbaijan by...

The Commissioner is concerned about the new anti-terrorism measures

23/03/2015 Strasbourg
I am concerned about the strictly security-based approach characterising both discussions about stepping up the fight against terrorism and the relevant legislation. The blocking of Internet sites without prior judicial authorisation which recently started in France is a clear example of the risks that such measures represent for human rights, and particularly for freedom of expression and the...
Visit to Serbia

Serbia urged to safeguard the human rights of persons with disabilities and displaced Roma

20/03/2015 Belgrade
«Serbia needs to take immediate steps to address serious issues relating to the right to legal capacity of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities and their de-institutionalisation in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by which Serbia is bound» said Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights at the end of his visit to...
Third party intervention

Commissioner Muižnieks intervenes before the European Court of Human Rights on the case of Intigam Aliyev

18/03/2015 Strasbourg
Today the Commissioner made public his written contribution sent to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the case of human rights defender and lawyer Intigam Aliyev. The Commissioner underscores that the present case is an illustration of a serious and systemic human rights problem in Azerbaijan, where critical voices are often subject to reprisals and judicially harassed. Today’s...
Statement

Spain : Commissioner concerned about adoption of amendment to the Aliens Act

13/03/2015 Strasbourg
Yesterday’s adoption by the Senate of the amendment to Spain’s Aliens Act falls short of providing clear guarantees against refoulement and collective expulsions, and of establishing adequate safeguards for the right of every person to seek and enjoy asylum, irrespective of the way they reach Spanish territory, said today Commissioner Muižnieks. This new legal context has the potential to open...
Visit report

Armenia should intensify its efforts to ensure gender equality and protect human rights in the justice system

10/03/2015 Strasbourg
Read the report “Gender inequality and violence against women are serious human rights concerns in Armenia. More vigorous efforts are needed to address them,” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, publishing the report of his visit to Armenia from 5 to 9 October 2014. The adoption of gender-related action plans and the 2013 Law on Equal Rights and Equal...
International Women's Day

Fulfilling women’s rights

05/03/2015 Strasbourg
On the occasion of the International Women’s day, the Commissioner calls on European governments to make gender equality and the fulfilment of women’s rights a reality. “Progress has been made in recent decades in a number of areas, in particular in establishing legislation and mechanisms prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sex. Ambitious goals, including for the equal participation of...
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 “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 22 to 26...
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,...
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