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Letter

Azerbaijan: efforts to deal with the past should become the priority to ensure reconciliation and lasting peace

27/04/2021 Strasbourg

In a letter to the President of Azerbaijan, made public today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, urges to take utmost care not to perpetuate and multiply the already deeply-running grievances between the communities affected by the conflict in and around...

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Annual activity report

A renewed impetus is needed to narrow the gap between human rights standards and reality

21/04/2021 Strasbourg

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the erosion of the democratic fabric of our society on which the protection of human rights ultimately depends”, warned Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, while presenting today her annual activity report covering 2020 before...

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Letter

Romania: the appointment of the new leadership of the CRPD Monitoring Council should be an opportunity to strengthen the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities

14/04/2021 Strasbourg

In a letter to the President of the Senate of Romania and the Chairperson of its Human Rights Committee, made public today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights invites the Senate to use the appointment of the new leadership of the CRPD Monitoring Council to strengthen the...

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Speech

Exchange of views with the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

31/03/2021 Strasbourg

Ladies and Gentlemen, It is pleasure and honour for me to meet with you today. There is much to share, and I look forward to discussing how we can complement and reinforce each other’s work for increased impact. Our meeting takes place in special circumstances, which affect people across Europe...

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Report

Environmental Rights Activism and Advocacy in Europe: Issues, Threats, Opportunities

31/03/2021 Strasbourg

“Environmental protection is a critical pillar in ensuring that everyone in Europe can fully enjoy human rights,” the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, said today upon the release of a report on a round-table with environmental human rights defenders from across...

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Country Memorandum

It is high time for Hungary to restore journalistic and media freedoms

30/03/2021 Strasbourg

“The combined effects of a politically controlled media regulatory authority and distortionary state intervention in the media market have eroded media pluralism and freedom of expression in Hungary”, said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, in a Memorandum...

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Country Memorandum

Portugal should act more resolutely to tackle racism and continue efforts to combat violence against women

24/03/2021 Strasbourg

In a memorandum published today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, called on the authorities of Portugal to address more resolutely the increasing level of racism in the country, as well as to take additional steps to prevent and combat violence against women...

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Statement

Turkey’s announced withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention endangers women’s rights

22/03/2021 Strasbourg

“Turkey’s Presidential Decree published on 20 March announcing the withdrawal from the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is an ill-advised decision. It undermines women’s rights and sends the wrong signal to all women in Turkey...

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Letter

Spanish authorities should amend the Criminal Code to strengthen existing safeguards of the right to freedom of expression

22/03/2021 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Justice of Spain, made public today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović invites the Spanish authorities to amend in a comprehensive manner the Criminal Code to strengthen existing safeguards of the right to freedom of...

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Report

European countries should lift the taboo on Afrophobia and start addressing this phenomenon

19/03/2021 Strasbourg

“Racism and racial discrimination against people of African descent remain a widespread yet unacknowledged problem in Europe. It is time to recognise it and take measures to combat Afrophobia more effectively”, said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović,...

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Statement

Human rights abuses in Chechnya should be investigated, not covered up

18/03/2021 Strasbourg

“The shocking testimonies revealed by Novaya Gazeta about extrajudicial executions and other grave human rights violations committed in Chechnya over the last years warrant an immediate, impartial, and independent investigation by the Russian federal investigative authorities into such...

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Letter

Cypriot authorities should investigate allegations of pushbacks and ill-treatment of migrants, improve reception conditions, and ensure an enabling environment for NGOs

18/03/2021 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Interior of Cyprus, made public today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović urges the Cypriot authorities to ensure that independent and effective investigations are carried out into allegations of pushbacks and of...

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Speech

PACE Hearing on deinstitutionalisation of persons with disabilities

16/03/2021 Strasbourg

Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development Parliamentary Assembly "About two years ago, I had the privilege of addressing the Parliamentary Assembly on the issue of ending coercion in psychiatry and witnessed the unanimous adoption of its Resolution on this question. This...

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Letter

Poland: draft laws on the media sector should respect European human rights standards on freedom of expression, media pluralism and data protection

16/03/2021 Strasbourg

In a letter to the Prime Minister of Poland, made public today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović urges the government to ensure that two draft laws concerning an ‘advertising revenue tax on media outlets’ and ‘protection of freedom of speech of social media...

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Letter

Turkey: authorities should refrain from further restricting NGOs activities and freedom of association in the name of counter-terrorism

10/03/2021 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Justice of Turkey, made public today, the Commissioner calls on the authorities to refrain from further implementing the Law on Preventing Financing of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, pending the outcome of the...

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Follow-up report

European countries must urgently change their migration policies which endanger refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean

09/03/2021 Strasbourg

“European countries are failing to protect refugees and migrants trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean. Backsliding in the protection of the lives and rights of refugees and migrants is worsening and causing thousands of avoidable deaths each year”, said today Dunja Mijatović, the Council...

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Issue Paper

States must act now on their duty to ensure the best attainable standard of physical and mental health for all

19/02/2021 Strasbourg

"For one year now, countries around the world have been battling with the catastrophic consequences of COVID-19. As governments are making mass vaccination their top priority, they should act now to rebuild inclusive health care systems," said today Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe...

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Letter

The Commissioner urges the Russian authorities to halt the practice of arresting peaceful demonstrators and to align policing of demonstrations with human rights standards

11/02/2021 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic published a letter addressed to the Minister of Interior of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, in which she highlights a number of human rights concerns related to the policing of demonstrations that had taken place in many...

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Statement

Navalny judgment contravenes Russia’s international human rights obligations

02/02/2021 Strasbourg

“Today’s judgment ordering Alexei Navalny’s imprisonment in a correctional colony for three and a half years defies all credibility and contravenes Russia’s international human rights obligations”, said the Commissioner. “Mr Navalny should not have been arrested and tried in the first place...

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Statement

Russian Federation: freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly must be respected

01/02/2021 Strasbourg

"The detention of more than 5,000 demonstrators and of dozens of journalists during the large-scale protests that had remained predominantly peaceful, and the subsequent arrests of some of them based on hasty judicial proceedings fly in the face of Russia’s obligations to uphold freedom of...

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Statement

Guarding the truth about the Holocaust intact

27/01/2021 Strasbourg

“This year, we mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in unusual circumstances. While we are confronted with one of the biggest crises of our century, we must not let our attention waver and allow the memory of Holocaust victims to be misused or insulted”, said today the Council of...

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Statement

Russian authorities should release Alexey Navalny and guarantee freedoms of expression and of assembly

21/01/2021 Strasbourg

“The hasty arrest, judicial hearing and detention of Alexey Navalny cast serious doubts on the respect of the rule of law”, said today the Commissioner. “These proceedings appear to defy credibility and contradict Russia’s own law and judicial procedures, as well as international human rights...

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Speech

Human Rights in the Era of AI Europe as international Standard Setter for Artificial Intelligence

20/01/2021 Strasbourg

Dear Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, Ensuring that technological development works for and not against human rights, democracy and the rule of law is one of the biggest tasks that states face. Early on in my mandate I warned about the human rights implications of new technology, including AI...

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Third Party Intervention

Commissioner publishes observations on summary returns of migrants from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina

11/01/2021 Strasbourg

The Commissioner published today her written observations to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the cases of three Syrian applicants summarily returned from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Commissioner stresses that all the information available points to the existence of an...

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Letter

The French Senate should amend the General Security Bill to make it compatible with human rights

18/12/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter to the Chair and members of the Law Committee of the French Senate, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, urges the senators to make substantial amendments to the General Security Bill to make it more human rights-compliant. The Commissioner invites the...

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Statement

Albanian authorities must prevent further police violence and uphold the right to freedom of peaceful assembly

16/12/2020 Strasbourg

The Albanian authorities must show restraint in policing demonstrations and ensure thorough, independent and effective investigations into all allegations of excessive use of force,” said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović in a statement today, expressing concern...

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Letter

Bosnia and Herzegovina must urgently improve its migrant reception capacities, improve access to asylum and protect unaccompanied migrant children

11/12/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter published today, the Commissioner calls on the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to address the persistent shortcomings in their handling of migrants and asylum seekers. The letter was addressed to Mr Zoran Tegeltija, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina,...

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Letter

Commissioner calls on Slovenia’s Prime Minister to ensure that the decision to suspend public funding for the country’s Press Agency be reversed

11/12/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter published today, the Commissioner calls on Slovenia's Prime Minister, Mr Janez Janša, to ensure that the government’s decision to suspend public funding for the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) be reversed. "The suspension of public funding may seriously hamper STA's work, possibly even...

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Speech

The impact of COVID-19 on human rights and how to move forward

10/12/2020 Strasbourg

2020 has been a disastrous year for human rights in Europe. While, increasingly, commitment to upholding human rights standards has been faltering all over the continent for several years, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the erosion of the democratic fabric of our society, on which...

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Statement

Commissioner for Human Rights calls on the State Duma to refrain from adopting legislation which violates the rights of NGOs and civil society activists

07/12/2020 Strasbourg

“I have been following closely recent discussions concerning a number of new bills related to NGOs and, in particular, I note that Russian civil society has expressed criticism of these bills. Based on all the information received, I call on the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian...

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Memorandum

Poland should stop the stigmatisation of LGBTI people

03/12/2020 Strasbourg

“Public officials and opinion makers should stop promoting an atmosphere of hate and intolerance vis-à-vis LGBTI people and instead, improve respect for their human rights. Stigmatisation and hate speech carry a real risk of legitimising violence. LGBTI are people, not an ideology”, said the...

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Speech

Violence against Women and Girls in France

03/12/2020 Strasbourg

Conference held by the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank you for inviting me to open this webinar on a topic which has been very high on my agenda since the beginning of my mandate in 2018. Violence against women and domestic violence are human...

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Statement

States should deliver on their commitments to persons with disabilities

02/12/2020 Strasbourg

This year, we mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities at a time when the COVID19 pandemic is still raging in Europe. The pandemic has disproportionately affected persons with disabilities and exposed all the pre-existing failings in Council of Europe member states. Among many...

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Statement

Stop cyberviolence against women and girls

25/11/2020 Strasbourg

“Cyberviolence against women is an increasing problem in Europe. It can take many forms, including (sexual) harassment, revenge porn and threats of rape, sexual assault or murder. Perpetrators can be partners or ex-partners, colleagues, schoolmates or, as is often the case, anonymous...

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Statement

Commissioner urges Hungary’s Parliament to postpone the vote on draft bills that, if adopted, will have far-reaching adverse effects on human rights in the country

20/11/2020 Strasbourg

“The Hungarian Government bills submitted to Parliament last week comprising proposals to amend the Constitution and other legislative instruments may have serious adverse effects on human rights in the country”, said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović today. “I...

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Statement

Member states must give renewed impetus to children’s rights

19/11/2020 Strasbourg

“The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened and widened pre-existing inequalities that undermine children’s ability to enjoy their human rights, including in terms of health, safety, education, and living conditions. There is a clear risk that COVID-19 will have adverse long-term effects on children and...

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Letter

The Commissioner calls on the Russian investigating authorities to take urgent action in the case of Mr Salman Tepsurkayev, abducted in September and subjected to torture in Chechnya

19/11/2020 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published a letter she had addressed to the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Mr Alexander Bastrykin, concerning the case of Mr Salman Tepsurkayev, a 19-year old chat moderator on the 1ADAT news channel on Telegram who was abducted,...

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Third party intervention

Commissioner publishes observations on the absence of legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Poland

13/11/2020 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published her written observations to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the cases of Katarzyna Formela and Sylwia Formela v. Poland and 3 other applications, Cecylia Przybyszewska v. Poland and 9 other applications, and Antoni Meszkes v. Poland, all of which...

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Speech

Council of Europe Conference to mark the European Day against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children

12/11/2020 Strasbourg

Good afternoon to you all and thank you very much for the invitation to contribute to this important event! The world we and our children live in is often described as over-sexualised. Children are exposed to sexualised images and messages from the media, advertisements and popular culture on a...

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Rule 9

Czech authorities should adopt broader measures to end school segregation of Roma children

09/11/2020 Strasbourg

The Commissioner published today her submission to the Committee of Ministers in the context of the supervision of the execution of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 2007 in the case of D.H. and Others v. the Czech Republic. This case relates to the violation of Article 14 of...

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Letter

UK lawmakers should reject provisions of the Overseas Operations Bill undermining the fight against impunity for serious human rights violations

03/11/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the members of the House of Commons made public today, the Commissioner warns that provisions of the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill currently under discussion give “cause for grave concern about their compliance with the United Kingdom’s...

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Rule 9

Bulgarian authorities should prevent forced evictions, tackle the stigmatisation and marginalisation of Roma and improve their access to adequate housing, including social housing

02/11/2020 Strasbourg

The Commissioner published today her submission to the Committee of Ministers in the context of the supervision of the execution of the judgment of 24 April 2012 by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Yordanova and Others v. Bulgaria. The case concerns the planned eviction of Roma...

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Letter

Polish authorities should ensure the continuity, independence and effectiveness of the Ombudsman institution

22/10/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, made public today, the Commissioner raises her concerns about risks to the continuity and the effective functioning of the Polish Ombudsman institution. A constitutional challenge to the legal provision allowing the current...

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Statement

Croatian authorities must stop pushbacks and border violence, and end impunity

21 October 2020 Strasbourg

The latest allegations of collective expulsions of migrants, denial of access to asylum, and of extreme violence by Croatian law enforcement officers used in this context are extremely worrying. Numerous human rights organisations and international organisations have been documenting for a long...

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Statement

Truth and Justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia

16/10/2020 Strasbourg

“Another year has passed, and there is still no truth or justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia in sight. Three years after her murder, it has still not been established who ordered it and what the motives behind her brutal assassination were. Daphne Caruana Galizia has become the symbol of a...

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Speech

Welcome Address at the Online Conference on Safety of Journalists

14/10/2020 Strasbourg

Ten years ago, I received a phone call from Strasbourg, just a few months after I had taken up office as the new OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. On the other end of the line was Thomas Hammarberg, who back then was holding the position I hold today. He told me he was working on a...

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Speech

Introductory remarks at the exchange of views with PACE Standing Committee

13/10/2020 Strasbourg

Dear PACE members, It is a pleasure to meet with you today, although only from cyberspace. I would have preferred to get together with you last April at your plenary session to discuss my annual report. Regrettably, the pandemic made it impossible and I was only able to circulate my report...

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Speech

Structural inequality as the root of violence against women

07/10/2020 Strasbourg

Annual conference of the WAVE network (Women Against Violence Europe) Dear organisers, dear participants, Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about these issues which are so high on my agenda. 1. I would like to reflect first on some recent attempts to undermine women’s rights....

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Statement

Nagorno-Karabakh: The escalation of the conflict is posing a serious threat to human rights

01/10/2020 Strasbourg

“I deeply regret the resumption of the military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which has already resulted in many casualties”, said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović. “I remind both states about their obligation under the European Convention on...

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Statement

International day of older persons – reflection and reaction needed in the time of the pandemic

01/10/2020 Strasbourg

The international day of older persons is an opportunity to celebrate older persons, their achievements and their continuing contribution to our societies. This year, we are marking this day in the exceptional context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed serious failings in all the Council...

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