News 2015 News 2015

End of visit

Cyprus: More efforts needed to protect migrants and victims of economic crisis

11/12/2015 Nicosia

“The readiness of Cyprus to receive asylum seekers in the context of the EU relocation scheme is promising. However, I remain seriously concerned about the grave shortcomings of the national asylum system. The authorities need to redouble their efforts to improve reception conditions and fully...

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Statement

European countries’ migration and asylum policies have been disastrous

10/12/2015 Strasbourg

“Only this year more than 3 600 persons, many of them women and children, have lost their lives trying to reach safety and protection in Europe, fleeing war-torn or impoverished homelands. They were asylum seekers or migrants, but above all they were human beings who believed that their lives and...

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Statement

Turkey should ensure the protection of human rights in the fight against terrorism

18/11/2015 Strasbourg

I have been informed that the round-the-clock curfew declared in three neighbourhoods of Silvan on 2 November in the framework of anti-terror operations was lifted on 14 November, after 12 days. According to information provided by the Turkish authorities on my request, four curfews had already...

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European Day

Protect children from sexual violence

18/11/2015 Strasbourg

Combating sexual abuses and sexual exploitation of children is a very important but challenging task. The problem is far too often under-estimated, and sometimes even overlooked.

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Visit to Georgia

Georgia: further efforts needed in justice reform and combating intolerance

16/11/2015 Strasbourg

“I am heartened to see a number of positive achievements of the justice sector reforms, notably in the area of juvenile justice. It is also encouraging to see an overall decrease in recourse to pre-trial detention, although its use remains problematic in certain cases”, said the Commissioner...

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Third party intervention

Commissioner Muižnieks intervenes before the European Court of Human Rights on migration cases concerning Spain

12/11/2015 Strasbourg

Today, Commissioner Muižnieks has submitted written observations to the European Court of Human Rights in relation to two complaints concerning alleged pushbacks of migrants from the Spanish city of Melilla to Morocco. Basing his observations on his visit to Melilla in January 2015 as well as on...

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Visit report

Eastern Ukraine: urgent need to guarantee freedom of movement and humanitarian access

headline 03/11/2015 Strasbourg

Read the report “The conflict in the east of Ukraine has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and severe hardship for ordinary people living in the conflict-affected areas. All measures must be taken to prevent further deaths and provide urgent assistance to meet the basic needs of the...

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Opinion article

Europe is spying on you

Strasbourg 27/10/2015

New York Times, 28/10/2015 - When Edward Snowden disclosed details of America’s huge surveillance program two years ago, many in Europe thought that the response would be increased transparency and stronger oversight of security services.

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Letter

Commissioner Muižnieks urges the Czech authorities to adopt the bill on reparations for involuntary sterilisation of Roma women

22/10/2015 Strasbourg

“I regret the Czech government’s decision not to proceed with the adoption of the law allowing the granting of compensation to the Roma women who were victims of forced sterilisations,” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, making public a letter addressed to...

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Visit report

San Marino: media freedom and gender equality should be improved

15/10/2015 Strasbourg

Read the report “San Marino has made progress in promoting human rights in recent years. More sustained action is now needed to ensure media freedom and increase gender equality” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, releasing a report based on his visit to...

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Country visit report

Slovakia: Roma, LGBTI persons, and persons with disabilities need more protection

13/10/2015 Strasbourg

Read the report “Slovakia has to step up its efforts aimed at combating and eradicating discrimination in law and practice, and take effective measures to improve the protection of Roma, persons with disabilities and LGBTI persons,” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for...

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Report on visit

Germany's efforts to protect refugees are remarkable. Now it has to boost integration and improve fight against racism

01/10/2015 Berlin

“Germany’s considerable efforts in helping asylum-seekers and refugees, in particular Syrians, is commendable and the support of the vast majority of the population is heartening. However, progress is needed to improve reception conditions, speed up fair asylum procedures and accelerate refugee...

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Visit to Belgium

Belgium: accelerate reception of asylum-seekers and improve inclusive education

18/09/2015 Brussels

"The overwhelmingly positive response of Belgian society to the arrivals of refugees and the decision of the authorities to increase the quota of Syrian refugees they accept for resettlement are encouraging signs. They suggest that Belgium is ready to play its part to ensure that Europe meets the...

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Statement

Turkey should ensure immediate access to Cizre by independent observers

11/09/2015 Strasbourg

“I have been following with increasing alarm the escalation of violence in Turkey in recent weeks. I am particularly concerned about very distressing information I have received on developments in Cizre, a city of around 100 000 inhabitants in the Şırnak Province in South-Eastern Turkey” said...

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Opinion article

Europe can do more to protect refugees

02/09/2015 Strasbourg

For many years European countries have been warned about the inadequacy of their immigration and asylum systems. Now, with increased refugee arrivals and more frequent tragedies, this system is showing all its weaknesses. But refugee arrivals are not the real cause of this collapse. The real...

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Statement

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance

28/08/2015 Strasbourg

30 August, the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance, should not be the only day when we remember the victims and reflect on the harsh reality that thousands of families of victims are faced with, waiting and hoping to find out the truth about their loved ones. Regrettably,...

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Statement

Commissioner appalled by sentences against Leyla and Arif Yunus

13/08/2015 Strasbourg

I am appalled and saddened by Baku Court’s decision to sentence Leyla and Arif Yunus to respectively 8 years and a half and 7 years of prison. These sentences are a glaring illustration of the ongoing repression in Azerbaijan, where human rights defenders are selectively targeted with criminal...

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Opinion article

The Srebrenica genocide: addressing the needs of the victims must be the priority

10/07/2015 Oslobodjenje and others

The Srebrenica genocide is one of the vilest episodes of Europe’s contemporary history. In just a few days in July 1995, around 8 300 boys and men were executed while 30 000 women, children and elderly persons were forcibly displaced. Twenty years on, the victims of that genocide are still...

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Opinion

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights reiterates his call to bring Russian NGO legislation in line with European standards

09/07/2015 Strasbourg

Read the opinion “Russian NGO legislation falls short of European standards and must be revised to allow human rights defenders and NGOs in Russia to work in an environment conducive to performing their essential role in society,” said today Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils...

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Country visit report

Serbia: Impunity for war crimes, discrimination and lack of media freedom hamper human rights progress

08/07/2015 Strasbourg

Read the report “Serbia has to show more resolve in addressing the legacy of the past, to improve the fight against discrimination and to establish a safer media environment” said Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing the report based on his visit to the...

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Visit to Ukraine

Eastern Ukraine: freedom of movement is vital to preventing isolation and favouring reintegration

04/07/2015 Kyiv

“The continuing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has a devastating impact on the life of communities in the vicinity of the contact line”, stated the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, following his visit to Ukraine from 29 June to 3 July. “Facilities such as...

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Opinion article

You’re Better Than This, Europe

29/06/2015 Strasbourg

In an opinion editorial published today in the New York Times, the Commissioner calls European countries to improve their response to migration by adopting more humane policies. “During the last seven decades, European countries have painstakingly tried to rebuild a continent once shattered by...

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Country visit report

Progress on human rights protection remains slow in Bulgaria

22/06/2015 Strasbourg

Read the report “Bulgaria has made some progress in strengthening human rights protection, but this remains slow and fragile, in particular as regard the rights of persons placed in institutions, the human rights of migrants and media freedom,” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe...

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Visit to Slovak Republic

Slovakia should set ambitious targets for the social inclusion of Roma and persons with disabilities

19/06/2015 Bratislava

“Although Slovakia has taken important measures to advance its human rights agenda, much more ambitious targets need to be set for eradicating the social exclusion and marginalisation of Roma and persons with disabilities. Also much more should be done to reinforce the effectiveness of the...

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Visit to San Marino

San Marino should not jeopardize media freedom

11/06/2015 Strasbourg

"San Marino should reconsider its current plans to regulate the work of journalists and ensure full respect of the right to report in the public interest” stated Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, after his visit to the country on 9-10 June. The Commissioner was...

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Publication of an issue paper

Reinforcing democratic oversight of security services cannot be further delayed

05/06/2015 Strasbourg

Read the issue paper “The current systems of oversight of national security services in Europe remain largely ineffective. Revelations over the last years about security operations which have violated human rights should have prompted reforms in this field, but progress has been disappointingly...

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Opinion article

Sport cannot ignore human rights

04/06/2015 Strasbourg

On June 12 the first European Games begin in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. More than 6,000 athletes from 50 countries will run, fight and jump for medals, igniting the passions of millions of Europeans. We hope they will also stand up to halt the crackdown on human rights defenders occurring...

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Letter

The Commissioner urges Serbia to shield the national Ombudsman from undue pressure

01/06/2015 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Serbia, Mr Aleksandar VUČIĆ, in which he urges the government to fully respect the Serbian Ombudsman’s independence and guarantee a favourable environment for his work. “I am seriously concerned at reports indicating...

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Letter

The Commissioner calls on the Ukrainian Parliament to secure the independence of the Ombudsman institution

29/05/2015 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published a letter addressed to Mr Volodymyr Groysman, Chairperson of the Parliament of Ukraine, expressing his concerns about the legislative proposal aimed at annulling the appointment of the current Ombudsman of Ukraine, Ms Lutkovska. While drawing attention of the...

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Letter

The Commissioner addresses the French Senate on surveillance bill

20/05/2015 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner has released a letter addressed to the members of the French Senate Commission which is discussing the surveillance bill. The Commissioner reiterates the importance of adopting a law which is compliant with human rights and thus urges the Senators to dispel the concerns...

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Country visit report

Norway: people with disabilities and Roma need more attention

18/05/2015 Strasbourg

Read the report “Norway has a strong human rights architecture, but more attention should be given to the empowerment of people with disabilities and the full inclusion of Roma” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while publishing a report based on his...

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Visit to Germany

Germany should advance protection of asylum seekers and improve response to racism and extremism

11/05/2015 Strasbourg

“Germany has done a lot in the field of asylum in recent years, including launching three humanitarian admission programmes for Syrian refugees (concerning 20 000 individuals) and registering more than 200 000 asylum applications in 2014. However, with an estimate of 400 000 asylum applications...

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Press freedom day

Press freedom is under threat in Europe

30/04/15 Strasbourg

As the world will celebrate press freedom day on 3 May, journalists have increasingly become fair game in Europe. Just a few weeks ago, we mourned another journalist killed in Ukraine. He was the 14th journalist to be killed in Europe in the last 16 months. The rising death toll is the most...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Counter-terrorism

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...

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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»...

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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...

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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...

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Country 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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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Visit to Bulgaria

Bulgaria: progress needed to better protect children, improve media freedom and uphold the human rights of migrants

12/02/2015 Sofia

« Bulgaria should ensure that children’s rights are fully respected in the process of de-institutionalisation and reforming the juvenile justice system» said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, at the end of a three-day visit to Bulgaria. "Bulgaria should stop...

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Statement

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....

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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...

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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...

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