The Commissioner's Human Rights Comment The Commissioner's Human Rights Comment

Human Rights Comment

Austerity budgets will cause further child poverty

21/12/2010 Strasbourg

While the European Union promoted 2010 as the “European Year Against Poverty”, several member states presented austerity budgets which will inevitably push more people into destitution. There are already large numbers of children among the poor, and it is obvious that the struggle against child...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Countries of the former Yugoslavia need to step up their efforts to resolve cases of missing persons

14/12/2010 Strasbourg

The presidents of Serbia and Croatia have met on several occasions recently and the issue of missing persons has been high on their agenda. It has been reported that the president of Serbia, Mr Boris Tadic, brought with him important documents to the latest meeting concerning persons who have...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Desecrations of cemeteries are hate crimes that exacerbate intolerance

30/11/2010 Strasbourg

Every second day a cemetery is desecrated in France. Acts of profanation, such as the destructions of tombs and sprayed hate messages on religious and other symbolic places, are on the rise in Europe. This is not just an issue of serious concern for the respect of religious freedom – these are...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Europe should accept more refugees in need of safe resettlement

23/11/2010 Strasbourg

European countries are closing their borders to migrants, arguing that they have room only for “genuine” refugees, who cannot return to their home countries without risking their lives or freedom. Yet Europe’s role to help such refugees into safety is relatively small. More ought to be done in...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

European Muslims are stigmatised by populist rhetoric

28/10/2010 Strasbourg

European countries appear to face another crisis beyond budget deficits – the disintegration of human values. One symptom is the increasing expression of intolerance towards Muslims. The Swiss referendum banning the building of minarets was no exception: opinion polls in several European...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Freedom to demonstrate is a human right – even when the message is critical

26/10/2010 Strasbourg

Sunday 31 October will be a test for the effectiveness in practice of the right to peaceful assembly, which is enshrined in Article 31 of the Russian Constitution. For more than a year “Strategy 31” rallies have been held in Moscow, St Petersburg and some other Russian cities on months with that...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Inhuman treatment of persons with disabilities in institutions

21/10/2010 Strasbourg

The prosecutor general in Bulgaria has initiated criminal investigations into 166 deaths and 30 more cases of abuse of children living in state homes for young people with mental disabilities. This was an important signal not only for the Bulgarian authorities but for several other states with...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Airlines are not immigration authorities

12/10/2010 Strasbourg

European states seek to reduce immigration through improper threats of sanctions against airlines and other transport companies. They pass heavy responsibility on to the carriers in order to limit access to their territories. Travel personnel, who cannot possibly have the appropriate competencies...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

The public has the right to know what those they elected are doing

27/09/2010 Strasbourg

Voters have the right to know about the decisions taken by their elected politicians and public administrations. The need for such transparency is recognised in principle in several European countries, but is not yet a reality throughout large parts of the continent. While the authorities collect...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

The ‘Dublin Regulation’ undermines refugee rights

22/09/2010 Strasbourg

The asylum procedures of European countries are still flawed – they need to be improved and better harmonised. One of the necessary reforms is to overhaul the dysfunctional so-called Dublin Regulation within the European Union. Under the Dublin system, the responsibility for examining asylum...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Do not stigmatise Roma

15/09/2010 Strasbourg

Repatriation of Roma EU citizens is now common in several European countries. France’s crackdown on crime has specifically targeted Roma from Romania and Bulgaria. And France is not alone. Italy, for instance, has arrested and deported a considerable number of Romanian Roma in the last few years....

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Forced divorce and sterilisation – a reality for many transgender persons

31/08/2010 Strasbourg

The rights of transgender persons are still ignored or violated, but some signs of understanding now begin to appear. One example is the outcome, at long last, of Lydia Foy’s struggle in Ireland. She was registered as male at birth but has lived as a woman since 1992. This summer she finally...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Refugee children should have a genuine chance to seek asylum

24/08/2010 Strasbourg

The real asylum policies in Europe today largely ignore children among refugees. They are often not listened to and rather treated as if they were possessions belonging to their parents. It is often forgotten that they could have their own reasons for seeking protection. Some of them do. When...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Stateless Roma: no documents – no rights

17/08/2010 Strasbourg

Tens of thousands of Roma live in Europe without a nationality. Lacking birth certificates, identity cards, passports and other documents, they are often denied basic rights such as education, healthcare, social assistance and the right to vote. The exclusion and marginalisation that Roma persons...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Elderly across Europe live in extreme hardship and poverty

05/08/2010 Strasbourg

Hundreds of thousands of elderly persons across Europe are struggling for their everyday survival. Many suffer a shocking level of poverty. They tend to be ignored by politicians and are often seen as being non-productive and worthless in modern society. The human rights of the older generation...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Landmines still kill in Europe: Time for an absolute ban

26/07/2010 Strasbourg

There have been more than 3 000 casualties caused by landmines in Europe in the last ten years. Anti-personnel landmines continue to kill or maim indiscriminately long after wars have finished. They are therefore banned under international law. However, this prohibition has not been effectively...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Those responsible for the death of Natalia Estemirova must be brought to justice

13/07/2010 Strasbourg

One year has passed since human rights defender Natalia Estemirova was brutally murdered. On 15 July 2009 she was abducted near her house in Grozny, Chechnya. She was pushed into a car by several assailants and some hours later her body was found in a forest in Ingushetia. She had been shot in...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Children victimised when families are forced to return to Kosovo

09/07/2010 Strasbourg

Several thousand persons have been forcibly returned to Kosovo by west European states in the last few years, mainly from Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Among the returnees have been persons belonging to minorities, and in particular Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians. For them these...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

European states should respect advice by UNHCR

16/06/2010 Strasbourg

Advice by the authoritative United Nations refugee agency is nowadays not sufficiently respected by governments and state agencies in Europe. Strong recommendations by UNHCR have simply been ignored in a number of recent cases. This policy puts refugees at risk and undermines the agreed...

Read More

EN FR

Human Rights Comment

Atrocities in the past must be recognised, documented and learned from - but not distorted or misused for political purposes

22/03/2010 Strasbourg

Gross human rights violations in the past continue to affect relations in today’s Europe. In some cases the right lessons have been learned; genuine knowledge of history has facilitated understanding, tolerance and trust between individuals and peoples. However, some serious atrocities are denied...

Read More

Human Rights Comment

Rulings anywhere that women must wear the burqa should be condemned - but banning such dresses here would be wrong

08/03/2010 Strasbourg

Prohibition of the burqa and the niqab would not liberate oppressed women, but might instead lead to their further alienation in European societies. A general ban on such attires would constitute an ill-advised invasion of individual privacy. Depending on its precise terms, a prohibition also...

Read More

EN FR

Human Rights Comment

European migration policies discriminate against Roma people

22/02/2010 Strasbourg

European governments are not giving Roma migrants the same treatment as others who are in similar need of protection. Roma migrants are returned by force to places where they are at risk of human rights violations. In Germany, Austria and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, large...

Read More

EN FR

Human Rights Comment

The Strasbourg Court is a source of hope for many – its continued effective functioning must be guaranteed

08/02/2010 Strasbourg

The European Court of Human Rights has been overwhelmed by the response from ordinary people all over Europe. More than fifty thousand applications were received during 2009 and the number of pending cases is now well over one hundred thousand. These figures underline the need to reform the...

Read More

EN FR

Human Rights Comment

Language rights of national minorities must be respected – their denial undermines human rights and causes inter-communal tensions

25/01/2010 Strasbourg

Language rights have become an issue of contention within several European countries, and as a consequence also between neighbouring states. While some governments take steps to strengthen the standing of the official language, national minorities are concerned that their linguistic rights are...

Read More

EN FR

Human Rights Comment

Impunity for rape of women has to be stopped

11/01/2010 Strasbourg

Sexual assault crimes must be taken more seriously by governments and parliaments. The injuries inflicted by rape are deep and long-lasting, in many cases gravely hurting the physical and psychological integrity of the victims. Though these crimes are largely hidden and their precise scale is...

Read More

 

Subscribe to our mailing list
* indicates required
Group