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EN FR

Statement

Commissioner urges Hungary’s Parliament to postpone the vote on draft bills that, if adopted, will have far-reaching adverse effects on human rights in the country

20/11/2020 Strasbourg

“The Hungarian Government bills submitted to Parliament last week comprising proposals to amend the Constitution and other legislative instruments may have serious adverse effects on human rights in the country”, said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović today. “I...

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EN FR

Letter

Polish authorities should ensure the continuity, independence and effectiveness of the Ombudsman institution

22/10/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, made public today, the Commissioner raises her concerns about risks to the continuity and the effective functioning of the Polish Ombudsman institution. A constitutional challenge to the legal provision allowing the current...

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EN FR RU

Statement

The Russian authorities should end continuous judicial harassment of human rights defenders

30/09/2020 Strasbourg

Yesterday’s judgment against Yuri Dmitriev, a Russian historian and human rights defender sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment in a high-security prison having been acquitted earlier on the same charges, raises serious doubts as to the credibility of his prosecution. Mr Dmitriev is widely known in...

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EN FR RU

Statement

Human rights violations in Belarus must stop immediately

21/09/2020 Strasbourg

More than a month after the beginning of mass protests following the presidential elections in Belarus, the human rights situation in the country remains extremely worrying. Thousands of peaceful protesters have been arrested, and several individuals have been reported missing. Yet, non-violent...

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Statement

Commissioner reiterates her call to restore and uphold the role of lawyers as human rights defenders in Turkey in the aftermath of the death of lawyer Ebru Timtik

28/08/2020 Strasbourg

I am deeply saddened by the death of lawyer Ebru Timtik, who died in a hospital in Turkey after 238 days of hunger strike, during which her demand for a fair trial remained unmet by the Turkish justice system. I express my sincere condolences to her family. Ms Timtik was one of the lawyers of the...

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EN FR RU

Statement

Commissioner calls on Russian authorities to drop charges against human rights defender Semyen Simonov

20/07/2020 Strasbourg

“Today’s indictment of Semyen Simonov, a Russian human rights defender in Sochi, for not complying with the legislation on non-commercial organisations is alarming and will have a massive chilling effect on the entire human rights community in Russia”, said today Commissioner Mijatović. “Mr...

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Statement

The Russian authorities should remedy the long-standing problem of undue restrictions to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and press freedom

06/07/2020 Strasbourg

“The detention of 19 people, including journalists, in Moscow and Pskov on Friday and the verdict against journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva today reflect once again the urgency to overhaul legislation governing freedom of assembly and of expression, as well as anti-terrorism and anti-extremism...

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EN RU

Rule 9

The Turkish authorities should release Osman Kavala and take far-reaching measures to prevent the misuse of detentions on remand

03/07/2020 Strasbourg

The Commissioner published today her submission to the Committee of Ministers in the context of the supervision of the execution of the judgment handed down by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Kavala v. Turkey on 10 December 2019. This case relates to the detention of the...

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EN RU

Statement

Julian Assange should not be extradited due to potential impact on press freedom and concerns about ill-treatment

20/02/2020 Strasbourg

I have been following with great attention the developments concerning Julian Assange’s case, in particular the charges against him and the extradition request submitted by the United States government to the United Kingdom. In addition to my own monitoring and analysis, I have received...

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EN RU

Statement

The reaction of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to the re-arrest of Osman Kavala

19/02/2020 Strasbourg

The re-arrest of Osman Kavala after his acquittal in the Gezi trial yesterday, under separate charges concerning the coup attempt of 15 July 2016, is a perfect illustration of the acute problems of the Turkish judiciary and the situation of Turkish human rights defenders that I have examined in a...

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EN FR RU TR

Country visit report

Turkish authorities must restore judicial independence and stop targeting and silencing human rights defenders

19/02/2020 Strasbourg

In a report published today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, calls on the Turkish authorities to restore judicial independence and stop the practice of targeting human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists and silencing them by using administrative and...

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EN FR RU

Statement

Commissioner calls on the Russian authorities to investigate assaults against journalist Elena Milashina and lawyer Marina Dubrovina in Chechnya

07/02/2020 Strasbourg

The physical assaults against journalist Elena Milashina and lawyer Marina Dubrovina in the entrance hall of a hotel in Grozny yesterday evening is the latest of a series of worrying attacks on human rights defenders and critics in the Chechen Republic. The climate of hostility against...

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EN RU

Speech

Human Rights in Europe: Forward and back? How we can regain the ground in polarising times

20/01/2020 Lund

Anna Lindh Lecture, Lund University I can hardly see a better occasion than today’s lecture to hold a conversation on human rights in Europe in this particular period of time. I would like to thank the University of Lund, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute and the Anna Lindh Foundation for giving me...

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EN FR RU

Statement

Commissioner calls on the State Duma of the Russian Federation to refrain from adopting the new bill on foreign agents

21/11/2019 Strasbourg

I call on the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to refrain from adopting the draft law currently under examination that would significantly extend the definition and scope of a “foreign agent”. Such a law would allow the authorities to designate as a “foreign agent” any...

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EN RU

Statement

The Commissioner urges the authorities of the Russian Federation to discontinue the liquidation proceedings against the All-Russia Movement for Human Rights

16/10/2019 Strasbourg

“It has come to my attention that a judicial action to dissolve the non-governmental organisation “All-Russia Movement for Human Rights” has been initiated by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation. This NGO, which is led by the well-known human rights defender Lev Ponomarev, has been...

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EN RU

Speech

From hostility to reconnection: how to make human rights relevant for all

20/09/2019 Utrecht

Peter Baehr Lecture, Utrecht University A big problem with human rights is that people often take them for granted. If you are wondering how I know this, it is because I was one of those persons. I was born in Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and until 1992 I barely understood the importance...

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EN RU

Statement

The Commissioner calls on Russian authorities to establish the truth about the murder of Natalia Estemirova

15/07/2019 Strasbourg

“Ten years ago today in Grozny, Chechnya, unknown men abducted Natalia Estemirova in front of her apartment building, forcing her into a car. Some hours later, her lifeless body, displaying several gunshot wounds, was found in the neighbouring Republic of Ingushetia. Natalia was a courageous and...

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EN FR RU

Country visit

Azerbaijan should ease the pressure on free speech, improve the situation of lawyers and continue to work towards better livelihood opportunities for IDPs

12/07/2019 Azerbaijan

“Freedom of expression in Azerbaijan continues to be under threat” said Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, at the end of a four-day visit to Azerbaijan. Recalling the European Court of Human Rights’ judgments stressing a troubling pattern of arbitrary arrest and...

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EN FR RU

Country visit

Turkey needs to put an end to arbitrariness in the judiciary and to protect human rights defenders

08/07/2019 Strasbourg

“Turkey must take urgent and necessary measures to re-establish trust in its judiciary and repair the damage inflicted on the rule of law during the state of emergency and its aftermath”, said Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, at the end of a five-day visit to...

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EN ES FR IT RU

Recommendation

Council of Europe member states must assume more responsibility for rescuing migrants at sea and protecting their rights

18/06/2019 Strasbourg

“European states’ approach to migration in the Mediterranean Sea has become much too focused on preventing refugees and migrants from reaching European shores, and too little on the humanitarian and human rights aspects. This approach is having tragic consequences”, said Dunja Mijatović, Council...

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EN FR RU

Country visit report

Hungary should address interconnected human rights issues in refugee protection, civil society space, independence of the judiciary and gender equality

21/05/2019 Strasbourg

“Human rights violations in Hungary have a negative effect on the whole protection system and the rule of law. They must be addressed as a matter of urgency,” says Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, in a report published today on her visit to Hungary in February...

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EN FR RU

Statement

Let’s defend LGBTI defenders

16/05/2019 Strasbourg

Ahead of International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, Commissioner Mijatović issued the following statement today. “As we mark International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, I want to pay tribute to the defenders across Europe who stand up for the rights of...

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EN FR

Speech

Presentation of the Annual activity report 2018

08/04/2019 Strasbourg

Madam President, Excellencies, distinguished parliamentarians, ladies and gentlemen, I am honoured to have this unique opportunity to present my first annual activity report. You have all received the report, so I will not repeat what is in it; I would rather focus on my general assessment of the...

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EN RU

Statement

Commissioner calls for more rescue capacity in the Mediterranean

27/03/19 Strasbourg

I take note of the decision taken by the EU's Political and Security Committee with regards to Operation Sophia. I regret that this will lead to even fewer naval assets in the Mediterranean, which could assist the rescue of persons in distress at sea. Lives are continuing to be lost in the...

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EN FR RU

Statement

Commissioner Mijatovic dismayed at verdict sentencing Oyub Titiev to 4 years of deprivation of liberty

18/03/2019 Strasbourg

I am dismayed by the verdict of the court in Shali sentencing Oyub Titiev to four years of deprivation of liberty in a colony. Mr Titiev, the head of the Chechen office of the Russian Human Rights Centre Memorial, is renowned for his courageous and important human rights work in the region over...

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EN FR RU

Country visit

Hungary should address many interconnected human rights protection challenges including civil society space, gender equality, refugee protection and independence of the judiciary

11/02/2019 Strasbourg

“Hungary faces many interconnected human rights challenges,” said today Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, after her five-day visit to Hungary last week. “The space for the work of NGOs, human rights defenders and journalists critical of the government has become...

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EN FR RU

Third party intervention

Commissioner Mijatovič intervenes before the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Mehmet Osman Kavala v. Turkey

10/01/2019 Strasbourg

Today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights published her written observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in connection with the case of Mehmet Osman Kavala v. Turkey. This case concerns the arrest and detention of a civil society activist and human rights...

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EN RU

Statement

Commissioner calls on the authorities of Azerbaijan to drop charges against Mehman Huseynov

07/01/2019 Strasbourg

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, discussed today on the phone with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, the case of Mehman Huseynov, an anti-corruption blogger and Chairman of the Institute for Reporters’...

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EN RU

Joint statement

20 years on from the adoption of the UN Declaration on Defenders: The protection of human rights defenders is non-negotiable

18/12/2018 Strasbourg

On the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the universal and regional protection mechanisms call on the international community to renew its commitment to support and protect human rights defenders. There can be no realisation of rights without the...

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EN FR RU

Human Rights Day

States’ duty to protect human rights defenders

06/12/2018 Strasbourg

Ahead of Human Rights Day, Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, calls on member states to halt the attacks against human rights defenders and improve their safety and working environment. “In spite of an international declaration and clear standards protecting the...

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EN RU

Statement

Commissioner’s statement on developments affecting the work of human rights defenders and civil society in Turkey

20/11/2018 Strasbourg

Mr Osman Kavala was arrested on 18 October 2017 by the Turkish authorities and has been deprived of his liberty ever since, without an indictment. I have been following this case very closely as Mr Kavala is a long-standing partner of my Office, a prominent human rights defender, philanthropist,...

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EN FR RU

Third Party Intervention

Commissioner Mijatović intervenes before the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Emin Huseynov v. Azerbaijan

04/10/2018 Strasbourg

Today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, published written observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Emin Huseynov against Azerbaijan, relating to the deprivation of nationality of the applicant, who subsequently became...

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EN FR RU

Letter

The Commissioner requests decisive measures to safeguard Oyub Titiev’s rights

17/07/2018 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published a letter she sent to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, Mr Yury Chaika, concerning the situation of Mr Oyub Titiev, the leading member of the Human Rights Centre Memorial who is being prosecuted in the Chechen Republic. In the letter, the...

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EN RU

Statement

European states must put human rights at the centre of their migration policies

05/07/2018 Strasbourg

“European states’ current approach to the arrivals of refugees and migrants has transformed a manageable issue into an extremely divisive topic, in particular within EU member states. And it has caused immense suffering and hardship to thousands of people who sought our protection. It is time...

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EN RU

Statement

Ukrainian authorities should step up their efforts to stop attacks against Roma and human rights defenders

25/06/2018 Strasbourg

On Saturday night, a group of masked men attacked a Roma camp in western Ukraine, killing one young person and injuring four others, including a child. I wish to express my condolences to the family of the person killed and I hope that the injured will soon recover. I urge the Ukrainian...

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EN FR RU

World refugee day

Commissioner calls on member states to cooperate with NGOs assisting migrants

19/06/2018 Strasbourg

Ahead of World Refugee Day, Commissioner Mijatović has issued the following statement today: “I want to pay tribute to the individuals and non-governmental organisations that are standing up for the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees. All across Europe, committed individuals and...

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EN FR RU

Statement

Hungary: Commissioner concerned at further planned barriers to the work of NGOs assisting migrants

01/06/2018 Strasbourg

“The draft legislation (Bill No. T/333) recently submitted by the Hungarian government to the Parliament, which provides for criminal law sentences, including imprisonment, for those ‘facilitating illegal immigration’ constitutes a worrying human rights development”, said today Commissioner...

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EN RU

Statement

The Commissioner condemns attack against the head of the Human Rights Centre Memorial in Dagestan

29/03/2018 Strasbourg

Yesterday the head of the Human Rights Centre Memorial in Dagestan, Mr Sirazhutdin Datsiev, was attacked on the way to his office in Makhachkala. I firmly condemn this violent assault against a member of Memorial. It is the latest of a succession of attacks in recent months targeting - human...

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EN FR

Statement

Commissioner concerned about proposed additional restrictions to the work of NGOs in Hungary

15/02/2018 Strasbourg

I am seriously concerned at the legislative package recently announced by the Hungarian government under the name “Stop Soros”. If adopted by Parliament, it will introduce further arbitrary restrictions to the indispensable work of human rights NGOs and defenders in Hungary. In a letter I sent to...

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EN FR

Statement

Statement on the 10th anniversary of the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on Council of Europe action to improve the protection of human rights defenders and promote their activities

06/02/2018 Strasbourg

Ten years ago the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted its Declaration on action to improve the protection of human rights defenders and promote their activities. Since then, the institution of the Commissioner for Human Rights has strengthened its action to support the work of human...

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EN FR RU

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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EN FR RU

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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EN FR

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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EN FR

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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EN FR

Third party intervention

Azerbaijan: Repression of lawyers who defend human rights must stop

28/11/2016 Strasbourg

“Judicial harassment and retaliatory measures against human rights defenders and their lawyers continue to characterise the response of Azerbaijan’s authorities to those who express critical opinions and co-operate with international organisations to expose human rights violations in the country”...

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EN FR RU

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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EN FR

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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Statement

OSCE Representative and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights condemn sentencing of journalist Khadija Ismayilova in Azerbaijan

01 September 2015 Strasbourg/Vienna

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, today condemned the sentencing of Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova. “The charges brought against Ismayilova, and the trial, are unjust; they...

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EN FR

Statement

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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EN FR RU

Opinion

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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