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Annual activity report

Human rights in Europe: Do not leave the battlefield

18/04/2016 Strasbourg

“2015 was a year of fear and insecurity in Europe. The conflict in eastern Ukraine and ongoing economic malaise were overshadowed by a sense of vulnerability to terrorist threats and panic at the apparent inability to cope with the influx of asylum seekers”, said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of...

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Country visit

Turkey: security trumping human rights, free expression under threat

14/04/2016 Ankara

“Respect for human rights has deteriorated at an alarming speed in recent months in the context of Turkey’s fight against terrorism” said Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights at the end of a nine- day visit to Istanbul, Diyarbakir and Ankara. The topics of the visit...

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Visit report

Cyprus should enhance refugee protection and alleviate effects of austerity measures on human rights

31/03/2016 Strasbourg

Read the report “Despite some progress made in immigration law and policy, Cyprus’ asylum system still suffers from a number of shortcomings that need to be urgently redressed”, said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing a report based on his...

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Visit to Ukraine

Ukraine: accountability for serious human rights violations is key to reconciliation process

29/03/2016 Strasbourg

“The armed conflict in Ukraine has yielded many reports of serious human rights violations, including unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and torture on both sides of the contact line. The perpetrators of such grave crimes must be brought to account. The participation of victims of human...

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Visit memorandum

Commissioner publishes Memorandum on asylum and immigration in the UK

22/03/2016 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published a Memorandum addressed to the UK Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire, in which he commends the UK’s efforts in providing resettlement to Syrian refugees. He also expresses a number of concerns regarding a trend of restrictive immigration policy and law which...

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Statement

The implementation of the EU-Turkey deal must uphold human rights

21/03/2016 Strasbourg

Now that the EU Turkey deal has been reached, the utmost care should be given to its implementation in order to dispel a number of serious concerns that the deal elicits from a human rights perspective. It is positive that the agreement contains some legal safeguards, such as the adherence to...

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Issue Paper

Nine ways for European governments to establish the truth about missing persons and support victims

17/03/2016 Strasbourg

“The protracted inability of European countries to shed light on the fate and whereabouts of tens of thousands of persons who are missing or disappeared following conflicts or dictatorships across the continent is an open wound for their relatives and constitutes a serious human rights violation....

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Third party intervention

Commissioner Muižnieks intervenes on Estemirova case before the European Court of Human Rights

Strasbourg 16/03/2016

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, publishes today his written observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights on a case concerning the killing of prominent Russian human rights defender Natalia Estemirova. Observing that the murder of Natalia...

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Opinion article

EU-Turkey deal on refugees disregards human rights standards

14/03/2016 Strasbourg

In an opinion editorial published in the International New York Times today, Commissioner Muižnieks warns that the deal the European Council is discussing with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees runs contrary to human rights standards. “The automatic forced return that the deal allows is illegal...

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Statement

Russia must shed full light on attacks against journalists and human rights defenders in Ingushetia

10/03/2016 Strasbourg

Further to the very serious attacks against journalists and human rights defenders which occurred in Ingushetia yesterday, I have reiterated my concerns to the Russian authorities in a telephone conversation this morning. I took note that the Ministry of Interior of Ingushetia has opened an...

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Joint statement

We need more than a humanitarian response from Europe

09/03/2016 Strasbourg

On the occasion of International Women’s Day Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasized the protection needs of refugee women and girls arriving in Southern Europe. This year, to date, UNHCR...

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Statement

Commissioner Muižnieks deplores new case of judicial harassment against media in Turkey

04/03/2016 Strasbourg

“I deplore the information reported by Turkish media and the Anadolu Agency that an Istanbul court took the decision to entrust to court-appointed trustees the control of the media group to which the newspapers Zaman and Today’s Zaman belong. Considering what happened after a similar appointment...

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Statement

Europe has to change its approach to migration

26/02/2016 Strasbourg

European countries are drawing themselves into a more and more vicious circle by closing their borders to asylum seekers. The situation in Greece, the main point of entry after Turkey, is dramatic. In 2015, 500 000 refugees arrived in Lesvos island while so far this year more than 50 000 arrived...

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Letter

European countries must stop forced evictions of Roma

16/02/2016 Strasbourg

“Many Roma continue to face serious forms of discrimination and human rights violations by authorities at both national and local levels. In particular, forced evictions without due process and provision of adequate alternative housing continue unabated across Europe, in violation of member...

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Visit to Poland

Poland: slow down and consult on legislation to avoid human-rights backsliding

12/02/2016 Warsaw

"Human rights compliant legislation requires time and thorough consultation” said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, at the end of a four-day visit to Poland reviewing the effectiveness of the country's framework for the protection of human rights, the...

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Visit report

Belgium should speed up the social inclusion of persons with disabilities

28/01/2016 Strasbourg

Read the report “Belgium is failing to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community. Planned measures to improve the situation should be implemented as a matter of priority” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for...

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Visit to United Kingdom

UK: Forthcoming reforms to human rights law must not weaken protection

22/01/2016 London

“The repeatedly delayed launch of the consultation process for repeal of the Human Rights Act has created much speculation and an atmosphere of anxiety and concern in civil society and in some parts of the devolved administrations. There is a real fear of regression in terms of rights’ protection...

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Third party intervention

Commissioner Muižnieks intervenes before the European Court of Human Rights on the case of Khadija Ismayilova

21/01/2016 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 a case concerning journalist and human rights defender Khadija Ismayilova. The Commissioner’s observations underscore the structural...

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Letter

Denmark: amendments to the Aliens Act risk violating international legal standards

15/01/2016 Strasbourg

“Recent restrictive changes to asylum and immigration law in Denmark raise serious concerns of conformity with human rights standards. The government should reconsider them and ensure that law and practice fully comply with Denmark’s obligation to uphold refugee protection standards” said today...

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Third party intervention

Risk of human rights violations for asylum seekers returned to Hungary

13/01/2016 Strasbourg

“Due to sweeping changes introduced in Hungary in asylum law and practice over recent months, asylum seekers returned there run a considerable risk of being subject to human rights violations” said today Commissioner Muižnieks while publishing the written observations he submitted on 17 December...

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