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Letter

Finland: amendments to Border Guard Act must be accompanied by clear human rights safeguards

04/08/2022 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Finnish Minister of Interior, published today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, called for clear safeguards to ensure that recently adopted amendments to the Border Guard Act would not lead to human rights violations. Under the...

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EN FR

Statement

In times of crises, states should step up their efforts to prevent human trafficking and protect victims

29/07/2022 Strasbourg

Ahead of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, issued the following statement: “We should all remember that Europe is not immune to human trafficking and that certain groups, including women, children and people on the...

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EN FR

Letter

Commissioner calls on Spanish authorities to investigate the circumstances of the deaths and violence at Melilla border

13/07/2022 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Spanish Minister of the Interior published today, Commissioner Mijatović urges the authorities to conduct an independent, full and effective investigation into the events leading to the deaths of more than 20 migrants who attempted to cross the fence between Nador,...

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Letter

Hungary: establish a fair and effective asylum system

21/06/2022 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Hungarian Minister of the Interior published today, Commissioner Mijatović expresses her appreciation for the country’s open border policy for those fleeing Ukraine but raises concerns about the longer-term protection perspective of third country nationals and...

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Letter

Estonia: Parliament must ensure that bill amending the State Borders Act complies with human rights obligations

23/05/2022 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the President of the Estonian Parliament published today, Commissioner Mijatović called on parliamentarians to amend a bill which would, among other things, allow pushbacks in situations of emergency with a mass influx of migrants, and to ensure that it fully complies...

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Country visit report

Austria: improve reception and integration of migrants and protection of women’s rights

12/05/2022 Strasbourg

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, published today the report following her visit to Austria carried out in December 2021, with recommendations on improving the reception and integration of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and on strengthening women’s...

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Statement

United Kingdom government‘s intention to offshore asylum processing to Rwanda sends a worrying signal

14 April 2022 Strasbourg

“Today’s announcement by the UK government of its intention to offshore asylum processing to Rwanda sends a worrying signal”, said Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović. “Not only does such externalisation raise questions about the protection of the human rights of the...

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Recommendation

Pushed beyond the limits. Urgent action needed to stop pushbacks at Europe’s borders

07/04/2022 Strasbourg

“The scale and normalisation of pushbacks at Europe’s borders requires urgent and concerted action by governments and parliamentarians”, said today Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing a Recommendation to member states’ governments and...

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Missions to the Czech Republic, Hungary Poland, Romania and Slovakia

Commissioner urges more coordinated efforts by all member states to meet the humanitarian needs and protect the human rights of people fleeing the war in Ukraine

24/03/2022 Strasbourg

“All member states should strengthen their efforts to coordinate – both at domestic and European levels – and scale up support for the response to the humanitarian and human rights needs of people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Medium and long-term planning is urgently needed to ensure...

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Country report

Malta: High time for justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia and for reforms to safeguard media freedom and better protect the rights of migrants and women

15/02/2022 Strasbourg

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, published today the report on her visit to Malta carried out in October 2021, with recommendations on safeguarding media freedom and ensuring the safety of journalists, protecting the lives and dignity of refugees, asylum...

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Letter

Spain: the review of the 2015 Law on Citizens' Safety should result in better protecting human rights

11/02/2022 Strasbourg

In a letter published today, the Commissioner calls on the Parliament of Spain to ensure that the review of the 2015 Law on Citizens’ Safety is used as an opportunity to bring it fully in line with European and international human rights standards, in particular as concerns the provisions...

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Third Party Intervention

Commissioner intervenes before the European Court of Human Rights in a case concerning the situation of asylum seekers and migrants stranded at the border between Poland and Belarus

04 February 2022 Strasbourg

Today, the Commissioner published her written observations to the European Court of Human Rights on the case of R.A. and others v. Poland concerning the situation of asylum seekers and migrants stranded at the border between Poland and Belarus. The Commissioner’s observations were submitted in...

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Country visit

Austria should step up efforts to protect women’s rights and gender equality and improve the reception and integration of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants

20/12/2021 Strasbourg

“Austria has taken significant steps to combat violence against women but, as the high number of femicides and the emergence of new digital dimensions of violence show, increased and better co-ordinated efforts are required,” said Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović...

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Letter

Safe and legal routes and protection of human rights must take centre stage in co-operation between the United Kingdom and France on Channel crossings

08/12/2021 Strasbourg

The United Kingdom and France should ensure that the human rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants take centre stage in their actions to deal with crossings of the Channel, said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, in letters addressed to the UK Home...

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EN FR RU

Statement

New legislation perpetuates restrictions and obstacles to protection of human rights on Poland’s eastern border

01/12/2021 Strasbourg

Amendments to Poland’s Border Protection Act, adopted yesterday, effectively perpetuate many of the restrictive measures put in place by the country’s state of emergency, with negative effects on the freedom of movement, assembly, and expression on Poland’s eastern border. During my recent...

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EN FR RU

Country visit

Commissioner calls for immediate access of international and national human rights actors and media to Poland’s border with Belarus to end human suffering and violations of human rights

19/11/2021 Strasbourg

“The humanitarian and human rights situation along Poland’s border with Belarus is alarming. Urgent action is needed to protect the lives of people stranded in the border regions”, said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, following her 4-day mission to...

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Statement

European states must stand up against pushbacks and the attempt to legalise them

21/10/2021 Strasbourg

“Member states must take a stand against pushbacks at borders and clearly oppose attempts to legalise this illegal practice”, said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović. Human rights violations against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants at the borders of...

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EN FR RU

Country visit

Reforms needed to better protect journalists’ safety and the rights of migrants and women in Malta

18/10/2021 Strasbourg

“Implementing the recommendations of the public inquiry report which found that the state must bear responsibility for Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination should be a top priority for the government”, said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, following a...

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Statement

Greece's Parliament should align the deportations and return bill with human rights standards

03/09/2021 Strasbourg

“The Greek parliament should reconsider a legislative proposal currently being discussed, which would seriously hinder the life-saving work carried out at sea by NGOs, and their human rights monitoring capacities in the Aegean”, said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja...

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EN FR RU

Statement

In their response to Afghans seeking safety, Council of Europe member states should not undermine human rights protections

30/08/2021 Strasbourg

“Member states should unequivocally commit to handling the arrival of persons fleeing the horrendous situation in Afghanistan in accordance with their human rights obligations”, said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, today. “Various governments and local...

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EN RU

Statement

Poland should take immediate action to protect the human rights of people stranded at its border with Belarus

25/08/2021 Strasbourg

The dire humanitarian situation of a group of people stuck for many days at the Polish-Belarussian border is alarming. I understand that this situation is the result of attempts by Belarus to encourage people to cross borders, leaving them in a vulnerable position and creating challenges for the...

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Letter

Lithuania: safeguards in asylum procedures and preventing pushbacks should be central to response to migration challenges

24/08/2021 Strasbourg

In a letter to the Prime Minister of Lithuania published today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, calls for the response to migration-related challenges to be fully compliant with the country’s human rights obligations, in particular by ensuring fair asylum...

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EN RU

Speech

Exchange of views with the European Committee of Social Rights

17/05/2021 Strasbourg

Good afternoon to you all and thank you very much for the invitation to this exchange of views! This is the first time that we meet, and the timing is certainly good. Even though there are signs of relief now, at least in Europe, the Covid-19 pandemic has been much more than just a health crisis:...

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Letter

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

12/05/2021 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Minister for Citizens’ Protection, the Minister of Migration and Asylum, and the Minister of Shipping and Island Policy of Greece, made public today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, urges the Greek authorities to put an end to...

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EN FR RU

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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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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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

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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EN RU

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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EN RU

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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Statement

Commissioner calls on the Greek authorities to provide adequate support to all those affected by the fire in Moria

09/09/2020 Strasbourg

“The fire that destroyed most of the Registration and Identification Centre of Moria and the informal settlements surrounding it, on the Greek island of Lesvos on Tuesday night has dramatically worsened the living conditions of more than 12 000 asylum seekers and migrants, including more than...

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Letter

Spain’s authorities must find alternatives to accommodating migrants, including asylum seekers, in substandard conditions in Melilla

03/09/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Ministers of Home Affairs and for Inclusion, Social Security and Migration of Spain, published today, the Commissioner raises concerns about the situation of the migrants, including asylum seekers, who are accommodated in the bullring of Melilla, following the...

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Statement

United Kingdom: Coming debate on the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

29/06/2020 Strasbourg

Tomorrow, a debate on the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill will take place in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom (https://bit.ly/2NIpLUE). This will include consideration of several amendments that are particularly important for the protection of the...

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Speech

Protecting refugees in Europe: the ECHR and beyond

22/06/2020 Strasbourg

Video speech given on the occasion of the 20th Berlin Conference on refugee Rights "Europe, Coronavirus and Human Rights - The Significance of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) for the Protection of Refugees" Ladies and gentlemen, Over the past 70 years, the European Convention on...

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EN FR

Statement

Pushbacks and border violence against refugees must end

19/06/2020 Strasbourg

“On 20 June, World Refugee Day will spotlight the hardship that refugees endure. I pay tribute to the resilience of refugees and reiterate the call to protect them and uphold their rights”, said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, ahead of World Refugee Day. “All too often,...

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Statement

Immediate action needed to disembark migrants held on ships off Malta’s coast

04/06/2020 Strasbourg

“The situation of more than 400 persons kept on private ships just outside Malta’s territorial waters is unsustainable and requires immediate action”, said today Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. Since Malta closed its ports in response to the Covid-19 crisis,...

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Letter

Commissioner urges Malta to meet its obligations to save lives at sea, ensure prompt and safe disembarkation, and investigate allegations of delay or non-response to situations of distress

11/05/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Malta, Robert Abela, published today, the Commissioner urges the Maltese government to fully meet its human rights obligations towards migrants, including asylum seekers and refugees, who cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe. “In accordance with...

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Statement

States should ensure rescue at sea and allow safe disembarkation during the COVID-19 crisis

16/04/2020 Strasbourg

“Despite the unprecedented challenges European countries face due to COVID-19, saving lives at sea and disembarking survivors in a safe port must continue”, stated today Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. The Commissioner calls on Council of Europe member states...

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Statement

Commissioner calls for release of immigration detainees while Covid-19 crisis continues

26/03/2020 Strasbourg

I call on all Council of Europe member states to review the situation of rejected asylum seekers and irregular migrants in immigration detention, and to release them to the maximum extent possible. In the face of the global Covid-19 pandemic, many member states have had to suspend forced returns...

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Letter

New EU Pact on Migration and Asylum should be firmly underpinned by human rights, effective solidarity and responsibility sharing

17/03/2020 Strasbourg

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights published today a letter addressed to European Commission Vice-President Schinas and Commissioner Johansson in which she draws their attention to crucial human rights issues pertaining to the protection of the rights of migrants, including...

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EN RU

Statement

Time to immediately act and to address humanitarian and protection needs of people trapped between Turkey and Greece

03/03/2020 Strasbourg

The human rights situation at the border between Turkey and Greece where thousands of vulnerable men, women and children are trapped between borders without access to assistance or the possibility to seek international protection is an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Urgent action is now...

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Letter

Commissioner urges Italy to suspend co-operation activities with Libyan Coast Guard and introduce human rights safeguards in future migration co-operation

21/02/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Luigi Di Maio, published today, the Commissioner urges the Italian government to introduce human rights safeguards in the Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya. While noting that discussions to improve human rights...

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Statement

Commissioner calls on the Italian government to suspend the co-operation activities in place with the Libyan Coast Guard that impact on the return of persons intercepted at sea to Libya

31/01/2020 Strasbourg

“The Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya will be renewed automatically next 2 February. I regret that the Italian authorities have not scrapped that agreement or - as a minimum - changed its terms,” said today the Commissioner. “As I have already stressed on several occasions, and...

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EN RU

Speech

PACE urgent debate on International obligations concerning the repatriation of children from war and conflict zones

30/01/2020 Strasbourg

Mr President, Mr. Rapporteur, Ladies and gentlemen, Allow me first to thank the Parliamentary Assembly for giving me the opportunity to address its plenary on this very important and sensitive issue. I would also like to congratulate Mr. Schennach on his report, which perfectly highlights the...

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Statement

Commissioner Mijatovic welcomes the closure of the “Vučjak” migrant camp in Bosnia Herzegovina

11/12/2019 Strasbourg

I welcome the closure of the improvised camp “Vučjak” near Bihać where migrants and asylum seekers had been languishing for months in absolutely dire conditions. This much-needed closure was made possible thanks to co-operation between the state and the Una-Sana and the Sarajevo canton...

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BS EN FR RU

Country visit

Bosnia and Herzegovina must immediately close the Vučjak camp and take concrete measures to improve the treatment of migrants in the country

06/12/2019 Sarajevo

“The living conditions of hundreds of human beings in the improvised Vučjak camp are shameful. That camp should have never been opened in the first place. It is now urgent to relocate these people and provide them with decent accommodations. I was assured by the State Minister of Security that...

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Letter

Commissioner seeks information from the Greek government on its plans to set-up closed reception centres on the Aegean islands

03/12/2019 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published an exchange of letters with the Minister of Citizen Protection of Greece, Michalis Chrysochoidis, and the Alternate Minister for Migration Policy of Greece, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, concerning the plans to transfer migrants from the Aegean islands to the mainland and...

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Third party intervention

Commissioner publishes observations on alleged human rights violations of migrants returned from Italy to Libya

22/11/2019 Strasbourg

Today, the Commissioner published her written observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in connection with the case of S.S. and others v. Italy. This case concerns the interception and rescue operation of a boat in distress in the Mediterranean Sea, carrying around 150 persons...

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Country visit

Greece must urgently transfer asylum seekers from the Aegean islands and improve living conditions in reception facilities

31/10/2019 Athens

“The situation of migrants, including asylum seekers, in the Greek Aegean islands has dramatically worsened over the past 12 months. Urgent measures are needed to address the desperate conditions in which thousands of human beings are living,” said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for...

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EN RU

Statement

Commissioner calls for urgent relocation of migrants from Vučjak in Bosnia and Herzegovina

17/10/2019 Strasbourg

“I am following with great concern the developments in the city of Bihać in Bosnia and Herzegovina where the authorities are continuing to place migrants in the already overpopulated improvised camp in Vučjak. The living conditions in this camp, which is close to land-minded areas, are already...

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