Press Release

Council of Europe Office in Georgia

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Nils Muižnieks takes up office as Commissioner for Human Rights

Strasbourg, 1/4/2012 – Nils Muižnieks takes up today the post of Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. Elected in January 2012 by the Parliamentary Assembly, Muižnieks is the third Commissioner, succeeding Thomas Hammarberg (2006-2012) and Alvaro Gil-Robles (1999-2006).  

“I intend to build on the work done so far in order to develop the contribution of the Commissioner’s Office to the effective observance and full enjoyment of human rights in member states” said Muižnieks. “One essential element in this endeavour is maintaining the independence and impartiality of the Office. I will also continue the country and thematic work, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable groups, such as children, the elderly and persons with disabilities. This is all the more important in a period when the economic crisis may undermine the protection of human rights”. 

Further work will concern the human rights of migrants, including, aslyum-seekers and refugees; women’s rights and gender equality; minority rights; and the importance of respecting human rights standards within the information society, in particular as regards media freedom, data protection, social networking and access to digital literacy.  

The Commissioner will also enhance co-operation with national human rights structures with the aim of fostering human rights oriented policies at national level and addressing systemic shortcomings in member states. 

“Proximity to people and objectivity in my dialogue with national authorities will characterise my mandate. These qualities are indeed essential requisites for anybody committed to making human rights a reality for all.”  

Nils Muižnieks (48), of Latvian nationality, has been working in the field of human rights for the past two decades and has acquired extensive knowledge in the field of international human rights monitoring, training and education. Prior to his appointment as Commissioner for Human Rights, he held prominent posts such as Director of the Advanced Social and Political Research Institute at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Latvia in Riga (2005-2012); Chairman of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (2010-2012); Latvian minister responsible for social integration, anti-discrimination, minority rights, and civil society development (2002-2004); and Director of the Latvian Centre for Human Rights and Ethnic Studies - now Latvian Human Rights Centre (1994-2002). 

The change of mandates is also marked by the launching of the Commissioner's new web-site.

Press contact in the Commissioner’s Office

Stefano Montanari, + 33 (0)6 61 14 70 37;

Keep up to date with the Commissioner on Twitter


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A political organisation set up in 1949, the Council of Europe works to promote democracy and human rights continent-wide. It also develops common responses to social, cultural and legal challenges in its 47 member states.

Council of Europe Office in Georgia