Pandemic and Human Rights Pandemic and Human Rights
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Human Rights Comment

Boosting child and youth participation - from voice to choice

01/07/2021 Strasbourg

Amid the ongoing pandemic and its disastrous effects on multiple aspects of human rights protection across the globe, there is consensus in one area: children and young people have been particularly hard hit. While – thus far at least – they have largely been spared from the direct health effects...

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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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Issue Paper

States must act now on their duty to ensure the best attainable standard of physical and mental health for all

19/02/2021 Strasbourg

"For one year now, countries around the world have been battling with the catastrophic consequences of COVID-19. As governments are making mass vaccination their top priority, they should act now to rebuild inclusive health care systems," said today Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe...

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Human Rights Comments

Corruption undermines human rights and the rule of law

19/01/2021 Strasbourg

In recent years, in many European countries, including Romania, Malta, the Republic of Moldova, Bulgaria, the Slovak Republic and Ukraine, people have taken to the streets in protests against systemic corruption, demanding respect for the rule of law, accountability of corrupt politicians and a...

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Speech

The impact of COVID-19 on human rights and how to move forward

10/12/2020 Strasbourg

2020 has been a disastrous year for human rights in Europe. While, increasingly, commitment to upholding human rights standards has been faltering all over the continent for several years, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the erosion of the democratic fabric of our society, on which...

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Statement

Member states must give renewed impetus to children’s rights

19/11/2020 Strasbourg

“The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened and widened pre-existing inequalities that undermine children’s ability to enjoy their human rights, including in terms of health, safety, education, and living conditions. There is a clear risk that COVID-19 will have adverse long-term effects on children and...

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Statement

International day of older persons – reflection and reaction needed in the time of the pandemic

01/10/2020 Strasbourg

The international day of older persons is an opportunity to celebrate older persons, their achievements and their continuing contribution to our societies. This year, we are marking this day in the exceptional context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed serious failings in all the Council...

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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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Speech

States must give a renewed impetus to realising human rights for all

03/06/2020 Strasbourg

The Commissioner participated today in the exchange of views organised by the Greek Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. She delivered the following speech: Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, The...

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Statement

Lessons to be drawn from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic in long-term care facilities

20/05/2020 Strasbourg

After the initial scramble to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Europe and as the situation slowly improves in the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, Council of Europe member states have to reckon with the grim reality that a substantial number of deaths, up to half according to...

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Joint statement

COVID-19: The suffering and resilience of LGBT persons must be visible and inform the actions of States

15/05/2020 Strasbourg

Statement by human rights experts on the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 17 May 2020 Geneva/Washington D.C./Strasbourg, 14 May 2020 On the eve of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) on 17 May 2020, a group of United Nations...

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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

COVID-19: Ensure women’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights

07/05/2020 Strasbourg

It is already clear that the pandemic will deepen existing gender inequalities, given women’s over-representation in professions (and other unpaid activities) which expose them to a high risk of infection and in low-paid and precarious jobs which will be particularly badly affected by the ensuing...

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Opinon article

Opinion: Coronavirus concerns are not carte blanche to snoop

01/05/2020 Strasbourg

DW, 01/05/2020 As more and more countries resort to using digital tools to monitor and track their citizens, those measures must comply with privacy laws, writes Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. COVID-19 has already killed over 200,000 people in the world....

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Human Rights Comment

Learning from the pandemic to better fulfil the right to health

23/04/2020 Strasbourg

The COVID-19 pandemic has concentrated minds about the resilience of our health care systems and it is challenging member states’ health policies and their effectiveness. In addition, doctors, medical staff and health care staff are under unprecedented pressure. Do we have sufficient medical...

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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 urges Poland’s Parliament to reject bills that restrict women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and children’s right to sexuality education

14/04/2020 Strasbourg

“It is with dismay that I have learned that Poland’s Parliament’s lower house plans to resume this week the examination of two citizens’ bills that aim to restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion care and children’s right to sexuality education. I urge the Parliament to reject both...

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Statement

Governments must ensure equal protection and care for Roma and Travellers during the COVID-19 crisis

07/04/2020 Strasbourg

Every year, on the occasion of International Roma Day, governments are reminded of the need to improve the living conditions of the many impoverished and marginalised Roma in Europe and step up measures to combat the discrimination they face. This call should resonate even more loudly this year,...

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Statement

COVID-19 pandemic: urgent steps are needed to protect the rights of prisoners in Europe

06/04/2020 Strasbourg

I call on Council of Europe member states to safeguard the rights and health of all persons in prison during the COVID-19 pandemic. Convicted prisoners and persons on remand are among those most vulnerable to viral contagion as they are held in a high-risk environment: in general, detention...

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Statement

Press freedom must not be undermined by measures to counter disinformation about COVID-19

03/04/2020 Strasbourg

“The global health problems caused by COVID-19 require effective measures to protect people’s health and lives. This includes combating disinformation that may cause panic and social unrest. Regrettably some governments are using this imperative as a pretext to introduce disproportionate...

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