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More control is needed of police databases

15/12/2008 Strasbourg

Fighting crime, including international terrorism, requires the use of modern and effective methods of investigation. The use of fingerprints, cellular samples and DNA profiles in our criminal justice systems is undeniable when determining innocence or guilt. But caution still needs to be taken...

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Arbitrary procedures for terrorist black-listing must now be changed

01/12/2008 Strasbourg

The ‘war on terror’ has gravely undermined previously agreed human rights standards. The counter-terrorism measures taken since 9/11 must now be thoroughly reviewed and changed, not only in the United States and other affected countries, but also in inter-governmental organisations. Innocent...

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In times of economic crisis it is particularly essential to ensure the protection of social rights

17/11/2008 Strasbourg

Enormous sums of tax payers’ money have been poured into the banking system in order to prevent a global financial meltdown. Ordinary people have been forced to pay for the reckless practices of a few. On top of this, there are already signs that it is the less wealthy who will suffer most from...

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Concrete and comprehensive action plans are needed to ensure implementation of human rights

03/11/2008 Strasbourg

The 1993 World Conference on Human Rights expressed concern about the gap between the agreed norms and the reality in a number of countries. It recommended that all governments should produce a national plan for the implementation of their human rights obligations. Fifteen years have passed since...

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Respect and rights-based action instead of charity for people with disabilities

20/10/2008 Strasbourg

There are more than 80 million persons with disabilities in Europe. Their rights are recognized in international human rights treaties, including the recent UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, these rights are still far from realized. Moving from rhetoric to...

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Human Rights education is a priority – more concrete action is needed

06/10/2008 Strasbourg

Human rights can only be realised if people are informed about their rights and know how to use them. Education about human rights is therefore central to the effective implementation of the agreed standards. While this was emphasised 60 years ago when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...

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It is wrong to criminalize migration

29/09/2008 Strasbourg

I have observed with increasing concern a trend to criminalize the irregular entry and presence of migrants as part of a policy of ‘migration management’. Such a method of controlling international movement corrodes established international law principles. It also causes many human tragedies...

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Persons displaced during conflicts have the right to return

15/09/2008 Strasbourg

Armed conflict and inter-ethnic violence still force people to run from their homes and seek refuge in safer places. The outbreak of the war in South Ossetia this August 2008 has created a new wave of displaced persons, some of whom may have to wait a long time before being able to return home....

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Roma representatives must be welcomed into political decision-making

01/09/2008 Strasbourg

Roma populations are grossly under-represented in local and national assemblies and government administrations all over Europe. This is a serious shortcoming in our democracies, violates the right to political participation and perpetuates a situation of exclusion and marginalization of some ten...

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The shameful history of anti-Gypsyism is forgotten - and repeated

18/08/2008 Strasbourg

Only a few thousand Roma in Germany survived the Holocaust and the concentration camps. They faced enormous difficulties when trying to build up their lives again, having lost so many of their family members and relatives, and having had their properties destroyed or confiscated. Many of them had...

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Refugees must be able to reunite with their family members

04/08/2008 Strasbourg

A restrictive refugee policy in European countries has affected the possibilities of reunifying separated families. Governments have tried to limit the arrival of close relatives to those refugees who already reside in the country. The result is unnecessary human suffering in a number of cases...

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Hate crimes – the ugly face of racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Gypsyism, Islamophobia and homophobia

21/07/2008 Strasbourg

Hate crimes are a daily reality all over the European continent. Credible recent reports show that people suffer violence because they are black, Jewish, Roma or Muslim or because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. They give examples of how individuals have been physically attacked...

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Fighting terrorism – learn the lessons from Northern Ireland

11/07/2008 Strasbourg

In recent years Europe has been struck by the most vicious terrorist acts. We still remember with horror the attacks in Beslan, Istanbul, London, Madrid and several other cities. It is of the utmost importance that effective measures are taken to prevent such evil crimes in future. One of the...

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Corruption distorts the system of justice and damages poor people in particular

24/06/2008 Strasbourg

In several European countries there is a widespread belief that the judiciary is corrupt and that the courts tend to favour people with money and contacts. Though this perception may sometimes be exaggerated, it should be taken seriously. No system of justice is effective if not trusted by the...

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No one should have to be stateless in today’s Europe

09/06/2008 Strasbourg

Everyone has the right to a nationality. Also, no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her nationality or denied the right to change nationality. These rights are spelled out in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights – but still not respected in a number of countries, also in...

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Strong data protection rules are needed to prevent the emergence of a surveillance society

26/05/2008 Strasbourg

Surveillance technology is developing with breath-taking speed. This creates new instruments in the struggle against terrorism and organised crime, but also raises fundamental questions on the right to privacy for everyone. Individuals should be protected from intrusions into their private life...

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Time to recognise that human rights principles apply also to sexual orientation and gender identity

14/05/2008 Strasbourg

A number of people around the world – including in Europe – continue to be stigmatised because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. In some cases these individuals are still being denied their right to education, health care, housing and work. Some of them are...

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Aged people are too often ignored and denied their full human rights

28/04/2008 Strasbourg

Older people have the same rights as others. Because of their vulnerability they need special protection and already the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated specifically that elderly persons have the right to security. Many of the subsequent human rights treaties stipulate basic rights...

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International human rights bodies worldwide need more support and more self-criticism

14/04/2008 Strasbourg

Governments have agreed to set up multilateral mechanisms to monitor and assist the realisation of international human rights norms. This reflects a recognition that these standards are indeed an international concern and that cooperation on their implementation is desirable. However, it does...

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The key to the promotion of Roma rights: early and inclusive education

31/03/2008 Strasbourg

In many European countries the Roma population are still denied basic human rights. They remain far behind the majority populations in education, employment, housing and health standards and have virtually no political representation. Many Roma live in abject poverty and have little prospect of...

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States should not impose penalties on arriving asylum-seekers

17/03/2008 Strasbourg

A minimum of solidarity with those oppressed is to receive them when they are forced to flee. The “right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution” is indeed a key provision in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sadly, this right is not fully observed in parts of...

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Mind the gap – women are underpaid all over Europe

03/03/2008

Equal pay for equal work is a fundamental principle of justice. This is one of the core standards of the International Labour Office (ILO) and a central provision in the agreed treaties on economic and social rights, including the European Social Charter. However, surveys demonstrate that...

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The protection against torture must be strengthened

18/02/2008 Strasbourg

Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are prohibited under international law. No exceptions are allowed, ever. Torture was made unthinkable – or at least impossible to defend - after the ban had been inscribed in United Nations human rights treaties, the...

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“Serious human rights violations during anti-terror campaign must be corrected - and never repeated”

04/02/2008 Strasbourg

Strong and coordinated action is needed to prevent and punish terrorist acts. The tragic mistake after September 11 2001 was not the determination to respond, but the choice of methods: terrorism must not be fought with terrorist means. The US-led “war on terror” has violated core principles of...

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Europe is moving towards a total ban of domestic violence against children

21/01/2008 Strasbourg

A majority of the 47 Council of Europe member states have now committed themselves to put an end to all corporal punishment of children. Full prohibition in law has so far been adopted by 18 member states and at least seven others have publicly pledged to do the same within the near future. If...

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An international or European treaty is needed for the protection of women against violence

07/01/2008 Strasbourg

Domestic violence still plagues European societies. In spite of all the international conferences and declarations, women continue to be battered in their own homes. It is apparent that it will take a long time before such ill-treatment is put to an end, but that is why it is even more necessary...

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