News News


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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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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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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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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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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