News 2017 News 2017

Letter

Commissioner urges Azerbaijan to investigate allegations of human rights violations of LGBT persons recently arrested and detained in Baku

16/10/2017 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published a letter sent on 9 October to Ramil Usubov, Minister of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan, in which he calls for thorough investigations into serious allegations of human rights violations of LGBT persons recently arrested and detained in Baku. “Arrests based wholly...

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Country visit

Republic of Moldova: important advances on addressing domestic violence, but more progress needed in justice reform

13/10/2017 Chisinau

“Despite the reforms undertaken to date, further sustained efforts are needed in order to address deficiencies in the justice sector, strengthen the judiciary’s efficiency and impartiality, and restore public trust. In contrast, I was heartened to learn about progress achieved with regard to the...

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Letter

Commissioner seeks clarifications over Italy’s maritime operations in Libyan territorial waters

11/10/2017 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to Mr Marco Minniti, Minister of Interior of Italy, published today, the Commissioner requests information with regard to Italy’s maritime operations in Libyan territorial waters aimed at managing migration flows. Expressing appreciation for Italy’s efforts in saving lives...

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Letter

Romania: NGO expertise still vital for monitoring institutions for persons with disabilities

10/10/2017 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to Ms Lia-Olguța Vasilescu, Minister of Labour and Social Justice of Romania, published today, the Commissioner recommends that the government renew its co-operation with expert non-governmental organisations in order to enhance monitoring of institutions providing care to...

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Letter

Commissioner calls on Spain to investigate allegations of disproportionate use of police force in Catalonia

09/10/2017 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published a letter sent on 4 October to Mr Juan Ignacio Zoido Álvarez, Minister of the Interior of Spain, in which he raises concerns regarding allegations of disproportionate use of force by law enforcement authorities in Catalonia on 1 October 2017. “The Spanish...

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Country visit

Sweden: move beyond emergency mode in migration-related areas to strengthen human rights

06/10/2017 Stockholm

“Sweden has played a leading role in providing assistance to persons in need of international protection; this should continue” said today Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, at the end of a five-day visit to Sweden. Welcoming Sweden’s efforts within the...

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Memorandum

The law on freedom of assembly in the Russian Federation needs thorough revision

29/09/2017 Strasbourg

In a Memorandum published today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, recommends that the Russian authorities thoroughly revise the country’s legal framework governing public events, in consultation with domestic human rights structures, so as to bring it in line...

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Country visit

Luxembourg: Authorities encouraged to continue efforts to integrate asylum-seekers and migrants

22/09/2017 Luxembourg

“Luxembourg has made considerable efforts to respond to Europe’s refugee and migrant crisis by receiving asylum-seekers and relocating and resettling refugees from other parts of Europe and beyond. It has largely avoided the trap of political instrumentalisation of the issue of migration, and...

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Position paper

School segregation still deprives many children of quality education

12/09/2017 Strasbourg

“The right to education is a fundamental human right. Yet, many European countries still deny thousands of children, including children with disabilities, Roma children and refugee or migrant children, equal access to it by keeping them in segregated schools. This is a violation of children’s...

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Statement

European countries must acknowledge the Roma genocide

02/08/2017 Strasbourg

On the occasion of today’s commemoration of the “Pharrajimos’, the Roma genocide, I call on Council of Europe member states to make more vigorous efforts towards fully acknowledging the genocide and other past atrocities committed against the Roma. While some countries have in recent years taken...

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Letter

France: the anti-terrorism bill must be in line with the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights

17/07/2017 Strasbourg

The Commissioner publishes a letter today in which he calls on the French senators to improve the bill strengthening internal security and anti-terrorism measures so as to bring it fully into line with Council of Europe standards, particularly the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights....

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Third party intervention

The Russian Federation’s Law on Foreign Agents contravenes human rights

13/07/2017 Strasbourg

“The Russian Federation’s legislative framework on non-commercial organisations is incompatible with international and European human rights standards”, writes the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, in his observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights...

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Statement

Croatian government should reconsider the draft law on the Ombudsman for Children

11/07/2017 Strasbourg

“I understand that a draft law on the Ombudsman for Children, prepared by the Croatian Government, is scheduled to be debated today in the Croatian Parliament. Whereas the Constitutional Court’s decision which abolished the previous law has left a legal gap which needs to be filled, I am...

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Country visit report

Slovenia should pursue its efforts to protect vulnerable people

11/07/2017 Strasbourg

“Slovenia has undertaken a number of initiatives in recent years to address major human rights issues concerning migrants, Roma, the “erased” and people living in poverty. It is crucial to reinforce these efforts to ensure that no one is left behind and the human rights of all are upheld”, said...

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Statement

Victims of the Srebrenica genocide deserve respect and support

11/07/2017 Strasbourg

“Today we commemorate the genocide of 8 300 boys and men who were executed in Srebrenica in 1995 in one of the vilest episodes occurred in Europe after WWII. While we pay tribute to those innocent people who were brutally murdered, we should not forget the suffering of the relatives of the...

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Letter

Commissioner Muižnieks urges Italian Parliament to adopt a law on torture which is fully compliant with international human rights standards

21/06/2017 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Italian Parliament published today, Commissioner Muižnieks welcomes the efforts that are being made to incorporate the crime of torture into the Italian Criminal Code, but urges the Chamber of Deputies to improve the current Bill in order to make it fully compliant...

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Issue Paper

European countries must lift obstacles to reunification of refugee families

19/06/2017 Strasbourg

“The right to family reunification is a fundamental part of the right to family life, which is protected by international human rights law. This right is particularly important for refugees in Europe. Because of the dangers they face at home, their only option to enjoy their right to family life...

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Country visit

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Greater efforts needed to enhance social cohesion and media freedom

16/06/2017 Sarajevo/Banja Luka

“Deeply ingrained ethnic divisions and lack of a common vision of reconciliation and development still hamper the construction of a tolerant and cohesive society in Bosnia and Herzegovina more than 20 years after the war. The country has not yet managed to overcome its violent past and a number...

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Country visit

Switzerland: Commissioner welcomes progress on asylum, but the most vulnerable need better protection

30/05/2017 Strasbourg

“I call on the Swiss authorities to stop detaining migrant children arriving at Swiss international airports. Children, with or without their families, do not belong in detention” said today Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, after a three-day visit (22-24 May)...

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Letter

Commissioner calls on Ukrainian authorities to revise the anti-corruption legislation that might negatively affect NGOs and journalists

24/05/2017 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Deputy Head of the Administration of the President of Ukraine published today, the Commissioner recommends removing the recently-enacted provisions in the legislation on corruption prevention requiring civil society representatives or other persons working on...

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Statement

Commissioner concerned about sentencing of Human Rights Defender Murat Çelikkan in Turkey

18/05/2017 Strasbourg

I am dismayed at the sentencing of Murat Çelikkan on 15 May to 18 months in prison on terrorist propaganda charges for acting as a symbolic co-editor of the pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem. A prominent Turkish human rights defender, Murat Çelikkan has made invaluable contributions to my Office and...

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IDAHOT

On IDAHOT 2017, Commissioner calls for equal rights for LGBT families

17/05/2017 Strasbourg

The theme of this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is “Families”. On this occasion, Commissioner Muižnieks gave an interview in which he calls upon all member states of the Council of Europe to provide legal recognition for same-sex partnerships “as a matter...

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Statement

Azerbaijan should release all persons detained because of their views expressed or legitimate civic activity

17/05/2017 Strasbourg

Today marks the four-year anniversary of the arrest of Ilkin Rustamzade, a blogger and youth activist, imprisoned in Azerbaijan since 17 May 2013. He was arrested on charges of hooliganism, due to his alleged involvement in a ‘Harlem Shake’ video filmed in Baku. Concerns regarding his health...

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Joint statement

Embrace diversity and protect trans and gender diverse children and adolescents

16/05/2017 Geneva / Banjul / Strasbourg / Washington

Speaking ahead of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on 17 May, a group of United Nations and international human rights experts* urge States and other stakeholders to protect trans and gender diverse** children and adolescents effectively from discrimination,...

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Letter

Commissioner calls on Italy not to weaken the protection of children’s rights in the justice system

16/05/2017 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the President of the Italian Senate published today, the Commissioner expresses concerns about the bill on the efficiency of civil judicial proceedings. The planned transfer of juvenile justice competencies from specialised to ordinary courts and prosecution services...

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Letter

Romania should improve the protection of persons with disabilities

15/05/2017 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Romania published today, Commissioner Muižnieks urges the authorities to increase protection of persons with disabilities. The Commissioner calls for a thorough investigation of allegations concerning serious human rights violations, such as...

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Statement

Governments should better protect the right to family life of refugees and persons with a subsidiary protection status

12/05/2017 Strasbourg

Families have the right to live together. Regrettably, this principle is not the reality for many refugees in Europe who face restrictive family reunification policies. As many European countries celebrate Mother’s Day today, we should not forget all refugee mothers who remain separated from...

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Statement

The Commissioner urges the Czech authorities to create the necessary conditions to build a monument on the former Nazi concentration camp for Roma in Lety u Pisku

12/05/2017 Strasbourg

I am concerned about the persistent obstacles to removing the pig farm from the site of the former Nazi concentration camp for Roma in Lety u Pisku. The annual commemoration ceremony to honour the victims who suffered or died in this camp will take place on 13 May. I have repeatedly urged the...

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Third party intervention

The Commissioner intervenes before the European Court of Human Rights in a group of cases concerning anti-terrorism operations in South-Eastern Turkey

05/05/2017 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published his written observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights concerning a group of 34 cases related to events which have occurred since August 2015 in the context of counter-terrorism operations and curfews in South-Eastern Turkey. Based on two visits...

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Letter

Commissioner concerned about ill-treatment by law enforcement officials in Greece

04/05/2017 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published a letter he addressed to the Greek government expressing concern about new reports of ill-treatment by Greek police officers. He stresses that these are well-documented and very serious cases illustrating the long-standing and systemic problem of excessive use of...

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Letter

Commissioner calls on Hungary’s National Assembly to reject law on foreign-funded NGOs

03/05/2017 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary, Mr László Kövér, published today, Commissioner Muižnieks urges the members of this Assembly to reject a proposed draft law on the Transparency of Organisations Supported from Abroad. The Commissioner notes that the draft...

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Annual activity report

A critical turning point, not business as usual, for human rights in Europe

26/04/2017 Strasbourg

“2016 will likely be remembered as a critical turning point for human rights in Europe” said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks today while presenting his annual activity report for 2016. “We will either see it as a low point from which European countries,...

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Country visit report

Lithuania should strengthen the protection of women and children against violence and build a more inclusive society for persons with disabilities

19/04/2017 Strasbourg

“While considerable progress has been achieved in protecting human rights in recent years, the Lithuanian authorities still have to address some remaining shortcomings, in particular as regards the protection of women, children and persons with disabilities” said Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe...

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Letter

Commissioner encourages Croatia to accelerate the process of ratification of the Istanbul Convention

18/04/2017 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Croatia published today, Commissioner Muižnieks strongly encourages the authorities to move quickly forward on their path towards the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic...

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Memorandum

Justice, social cohesion and media freedom remain top challenges in Kosovo*

10/04/2017 Strasbourg

“Eighteen years after the end of the conflict, thousands of people are still denied justice in Kosovo. It is high time to change course and build a just and cohesive society. Major conditions for achieving this are to prosecute and effectively sanction all persons involved in wartime crimes,...

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Letter

Commissioner concerned about law undermining the independence of the judiciary in Poland

03/04/2017 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Speaker of Sejm of Poland published today, the Commissioner calls on the Polish Parliament to reject the amendments to the Act on the National Council for the Judiciary because they would encroach upon the independence of the judiciary. By giving Parliament the...

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Country visit report

Ireland should remove obstacles to the equality of Travellers, women and children

29/03/2017 Strasbourg

“The Irish government should ensure that the economic upturn benefits the most vulnerable groups and should promote equality of Travellers, women and children by removing the barriers that disproportionately hinder them from fully enjoying their rights”, said the Council of Europe Commissioner...

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Country visit

Slovenia: More should be done to ensure that Roma, migrants and those in poverty are not left behind

23/03/2017 Ljubljana

During his visit in Slovenia from 20 to 23 March, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, examined the situation of Roma, migrants and asylum seekers and of the increasing number of people living in poverty in the country. He stressed the centrality of human rights...

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Statement

Europe's duty to avoid detaining migrants

09/03/2017 Strasbourg

The recent recommendation of the European Commission (EC) on more and longer detention of migrants is likely to lead to human rights violations without furthering other goals, such as facilitating the processing of asylum claims or promoting dignified returns. EU law allows for a maximum...

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Statement

Commissioner concerned about Hungary’s new law allowing automatic detention of asylum seekers

08/03/2017 Strasbourg

I am deeply concerned to learn that the Hungarian parliament has approved yesterday a Bill on border management, which is likely to exacerbate the already highly problematic situation of asylum seekers in Hungary. As reported, the adopted Bill would allow the automatic detention of all asylum...

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Country visit

Portugal: progress in participation of Roma in local decision-making should be sustained

08/03/2017 Lisbon

Concrete measures to address the discrimination Roma face in Portugal and ways to foster the participation of Roma in society were at the centre of a two day visit the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks made to Lisbon and Torres Vedras on 6-7 March. “It is heartening...

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Visit Memorandum

Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey

15/02/2017 Strasbourg

“The space for democratic debate in Turkey has shrunk alarmingly following increased judicial harassment of large strata of society, including journalists, members of parliament, academics and ordinary citizens, and government action which has reduced pluralism and led to self-censorship. This...

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Mission to Kosovo*

Kosovo*: High time to restore social cohesion and safeguard media freedom

09/02/2017 Pristina

“Many victims of the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo, in particular displaced persons, families of missing persons and victims of wartime sexual violence, are still trying to re-build their lives, find out the truth about their loved ones and access justice. The on-going political deliberations have...

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Statement

Luxembourg should not extend the period of detention of migrant children but work to eliminate the practice

06/02/2017 Strabourg

I have learned with concern that the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies, in its examination of Bill No. 6992 on the free movement of persons and immigration and on the holding centre, is considering extending the maximum period for the detention of migrant children and their families to seven days....

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«В обществе должен произойти культурный сдвиг: нельзя поощрять и оправдывать насилие»

Коммерсантъ, 06/02/2017 Закон, отменяющий уголовную ответственность за семейное насилие, ожидает подписи президента РФ. О том, какие меры должны принять российские власти для борьбы с проблемой насилия в семье,— в статье комиссара Совета Европы по правам человека НИЛСА МУЙЖНИЕКСА, написанной...

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The duty to combat domestic violence

Kommersant, 06/02/2017 For many people, home means a refuge, a place where we feel safe and free. A place where our private life is sacred and where the state has no right to pry. But for victims of domestic violence, home means just the opposite: a source of stress and torment. The state has a...

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EU agreements with third countries must uphold human rights

The Huffington Post - 02/02/2017 As the European Council is set to meet in Malta on Friday to address the Union’s response to migration, one topic should be prominent on all points of its agenda: states’ obligations to uphold the human rights of migrants. The urgency for this is clear. Since 2014...

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Statement

Commissioner concerned about closure of two newspapers in Greece

30/01/2017 Strasbourg

I have learned with deep concern that the publication of historic Greek newspapers Ta Nea and To Vima has ceased due to a lack of agreement between their owner, the Lambrakis Press Group, and its lenders. This situation deals a harsh blow to media pluralism in Greece and shrinks the diversity of...

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Statement

Slovenia: Commissioner concerned about adoption of amendments to Aliens Act that violate human rights

27/01/2017 Strasbourg

“While the latest legislative revisions introduce an individualised identification procedure, I remain concerned that the amendments to the Slovenian Aliens Act adopted yesterday violate Slovenia’s international human rights obligations, as I stated in my recent letter to the President of the...

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Statement

Latvia: disproportionate defamation fine against Tvnet.lv can chill media freedom

26/01/2017 Strasbourg

The decision of the Riga Higher Court to impose a 50,000 euros fine on the portal Tvnet.lv for damaging the reputation of the National Opera with an opinion article can have a deleterious impact on media freedom and public speech in Latvia. Though the appeal decision has reduced the fine levied...

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Country visit

Monaco must consolidate the progress achieved in protecting the rights of children, people with disabilities and LGBTI persons

20/01/2017 Strasbourg

“Monaco has made significant progress in recent years in the protection of human rights. However, this progress must be consolidated by further improving protection of the rights of the most vulnerable, such as children, people with disabilities and LGBTI persons, and by strengthening the...

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Statement

Commissioner concerned about non-implementation of a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Russia

20/01/2017 Strasbourg

Yesterday’s decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation on the Yukos case bears far-reaching consequences for human rights protection in Russia and elsewhere in Europe. Preventing the implementation of a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights weakens the safeguards for...

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Letter

Slovenia: Parliament must ensure that legislative reform on migrants complies with human rights obligations

17/01/2017 Strasbourg

“Slovenian parliamentarians should reject amendments to the Aliens Act that are contrary to international human rights and refugee protection standards by which Slovenia is bound”, said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing a letter addressed to...

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Statement

Serbia’s judiciary should prevent defamation’s chilling effect on media freedom

10/01/2017 Strasbourg

I am concerned by the possible negative impact on media freedom of the decision of the High Court in Belgrade to fine, in defamation proceedings, the political weekly NIN for damaging the reputation of the Minister of Interior of Serbia, following the publication in June 2016 of an article on the...

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Statement

Commissioner Muižnieks urges the Russian authorities to better respect journalists' rights and safety

09/01/2017 Strasbourg

I have learned with great concern that an Instagram post published by the Speaker of the Chechen Parliament last Friday intimidated Gregory Shvedov, an editor-in-chief of Caucasian Knot – a Russian independent media outlet which covers news from the North Caucasus, including human rights...

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