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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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Letter

The Commissioner urges the Russian authorities to halt the practice of arresting peaceful demonstrators and to align policing of demonstrations with human rights standards

11/02/2021 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic published a letter addressed to the Minister of Interior of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, in which she highlights a number of human rights concerns related to the policing of demonstrations that had taken place in many...

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Statement

Navalny judgment contravenes Russia’s international human rights obligations

02/02/2021 Strasbourg

“Today’s judgment ordering Alexei Navalny’s imprisonment in a correctional colony for three and a half years defies all credibility and contravenes Russia’s international human rights obligations”, said the Commissioner. “Mr Navalny should not have been arrested and tried in the first place...

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Statement

Russian Federation: freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly must be respected

01/02/2021 Strasbourg

"The detention of more than 5,000 demonstrators and of dozens of journalists during the large-scale protests that had remained predominantly peaceful, and the subsequent arrests of some of them based on hasty judicial proceedings fly in the face of Russia’s obligations to uphold freedom of...

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Statement

Guarding the truth about the Holocaust intact

27/01/2021 Strasbourg

“This year, we mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in unusual circumstances. While we are confronted with one of the biggest crises of our century, we must not let our attention waver and allow the memory of Holocaust victims to be misused or insulted”, said today the Council of...

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Statement

Russian authorities should release Alexey Navalny and guarantee freedoms of expression and of assembly

21/01/2021 Strasbourg

“The hasty arrest, judicial hearing and detention of Alexey Navalny cast serious doubts on the respect of the rule of law”, said today the Commissioner. “These proceedings appear to defy credibility and contradict Russia’s own law and judicial procedures, as well as international human rights...

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Speech

Human Rights in the Era of AI Europe as international Standard Setter for Artificial Intelligence

20/01/2021 Strasbourg

Dear Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, Ensuring that technological development works for and not against human rights, democracy and the rule of law is one of the biggest tasks that states face. Early on in my mandate I warned about the human rights implications of new technology, including AI...

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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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EN FR

Letter

The French Senate should amend the General Security Bill to make it compatible with human rights

18/12/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter to the Chair and members of the Law Committee of the French Senate, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, urges the senators to make substantial amendments to the General Security Bill to make it more human rights-compliant. The Commissioner invites the...

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Statement

Albanian authorities must prevent further police violence and uphold the right to freedom of peaceful assembly

16/12/2020 Strasbourg

The Albanian authorities must show restraint in policing demonstrations and ensure thorough, independent and effective investigations into all allegations of excessive use of force,” said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović in a statement today, expressing concern...

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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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Letter

Commissioner calls on Slovenia’s Prime Minister to ensure that the decision to suspend public funding for the country’s Press Agency be reversed

11/12/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter published today, the Commissioner calls on Slovenia's Prime Minister, Mr Janez Janša, to ensure that the government’s decision to suspend public funding for the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) be reversed. "The suspension of public funding may seriously hamper STA's work, possibly even...

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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

Commissioner for Human Rights calls on the State Duma to refrain from adopting legislation which violates the rights of NGOs and civil society activists

07/12/2020 Strasbourg

“I have been following closely recent discussions concerning a number of new bills related to NGOs and, in particular, I note that Russian civil society has expressed criticism of these bills. Based on all the information received, I call on the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian...

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Memorandum

Poland should stop the stigmatisation of LGBTI people

03/12/2020 Strasbourg

“Public officials and opinion makers should stop promoting an atmosphere of hate and intolerance vis-à-vis LGBTI people and instead, improve respect for their human rights. Stigmatisation and hate speech carry a real risk of legitimising violence. LGBTI are people, not an ideology”, said the...

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Speech

Violence against Women and Girls in France

03/12/2020 Strasbourg

Conference held by the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank you for inviting me to open this webinar on a topic which has been very high on my agenda since the beginning of my mandate in 2018. Violence against women and domestic violence are human...

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Statement

States should deliver on their commitments to persons with disabilities

02/12/2020 Strasbourg

This year, we mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities at a time when the COVID19 pandemic is still raging in Europe. The pandemic has disproportionately affected persons with disabilities and exposed all the pre-existing failings in Council of Europe member states. Among many...

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Statement

Stop cyberviolence against women and girls

25/11/2020 Strasbourg

“Cyberviolence against women is an increasing problem in Europe. It can take many forms, including (sexual) harassment, revenge porn and threats of rape, sexual assault or murder. Perpetrators can be partners or ex-partners, colleagues, schoolmates or, as is often the case, anonymous...

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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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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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Letter

The Commissioner calls on the Russian investigating authorities to take urgent action in the case of Mr Salman Tepsurkayev, abducted in September and subjected to torture in Chechnya

19/11/2020 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published a letter she had addressed to the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Mr Alexander Bastrykin, concerning the case of Mr Salman Tepsurkayev, a 19-year old chat moderator on the 1ADAT news channel on Telegram who was abducted,...

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Third party intervention

Commissioner publishes observations on the absence of legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Poland

13/11/2020 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published her written observations to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the cases of Katarzyna Formela and Sylwia Formela v. Poland and 3 other applications, Cecylia Przybyszewska v. Poland and 9 other applications, and Antoni Meszkes v. Poland, all of which...

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EN RU

Speech

Council of Europe Conference to mark the European Day against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children

12/11/2020 Strasbourg

Good afternoon to you all and thank you very much for the invitation to contribute to this important event! The world we and our children live in is often described as over-sexualised. Children are exposed to sexualised images and messages from the media, advertisements and popular culture on a...

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Rule 9

Czech authorities should adopt broader measures to end school segregation of Roma children

09/11/2020 Strasbourg

The Commissioner published today her submission to the Committee of Ministers in the context of the supervision of the execution of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 2007 in the case of D.H. and Others v. the Czech Republic. This case relates to the violation of Article 14 of...

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Letter

UK lawmakers should reject provisions of the Overseas Operations Bill undermining the fight against impunity for serious human rights violations

03/11/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the members of the House of Commons made public today, the Commissioner warns that provisions of the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill currently under discussion give “cause for grave concern about their compliance with the United Kingdom’s...

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Rule 9

Bulgarian authorities should prevent forced evictions, tackle the stigmatisation and marginalisation of Roma and improve their access to adequate housing, including social housing

02/11/2020 Strasbourg

The Commissioner published today her submission to the Committee of Ministers in the context of the supervision of the execution of the judgment of 24 April 2012 by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Yordanova and Others v. Bulgaria. The case concerns the planned eviction of Roma...

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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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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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Statement

Truth and Justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia

16/10/2020 Strasbourg

“Another year has passed, and there is still no truth or justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia in sight. Three years after her murder, it has still not been established who ordered it and what the motives behind her brutal assassination were. Daphne Caruana Galizia has become the symbol of a...

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Speech

Welcome Address at the Online Conference on Safety of Journalists

14/10/2020 Strasbourg

Ten years ago, I received a phone call from Strasbourg, just a few months after I had taken up office as the new OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. On the other end of the line was Thomas Hammarberg, who back then was holding the position I hold today. He told me he was working on a...

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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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EN RU

Speech

Structural inequality as the root of violence against women

07/10/2020 Strasbourg

Annual conference of the WAVE network (Women Against Violence Europe) Dear organisers, dear participants, Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about these issues which are so high on my agenda. 1. I would like to reflect first on some recent attempts to undermine women’s rights....

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Statement

Nagorno-Karabakh: The escalation of the conflict is posing a serious threat to human rights

01/10/2020 Strasbourg

“I deeply regret the resumption of the military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which has already resulted in many casualties”, said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović. “I remind both states about their obligation under the European Convention on...

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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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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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Letter

Czech Republic: The Chamber of Deputies should seize the opportunity to deliver justice to victims of forced sterilisations

29/09/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, made public today, the Commissioner invites parliamentarians to ensure that the consideration of the bill on the compensation of victims of forced and coercive sterilisations extends beyond the first reading...

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Statement

Witnesses in proceedings relating to crimes committed during the wars of the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia must be effectively protected and supported

23/09/2020 Strasbourg

The provision of effective protection and support for witnesses in the context of wartime-related criminal proceedings is instrumental to the fight against impunity for the crimes committed during the wars of the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia. However, over recent days, the name of a protected...

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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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Third Party Intervention

Commissioner publishes observations on the absence of legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Romania

21/09/2020 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published her written observations to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the case of Florin Buhuceanu and Victor Ciobotaru v. Romania and 12 other cases, which relate to the absence of a legal framework for the recognition of stable same-sex relationships....

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EN RU

Speech

M100 Media Award - Laudatory speech for Szabolcs Dull

17/09/2020 Strasbourg

Journalism is about choosing the right side. When you work in this field, you choose to take the side of those who seek out and tell the truth. You choose to think and act with independence, freedom and objectivity. You choose to serve the public good. This is part of the appeal of journalism,...

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EN RU

Letter

Commissioner calls on the authorities of San Marino to refrain from actions jeopardising the independence of the judiciary

15/09/2020 Strasbourg

In a letter addressed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of San Marino, the Commissioner raises a number of concerns relating to recent developments concerning the judiciary in San Marino. Referring to the communications she has received from representatives of the Sammarinese judiciary in...

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Statement

The authorities of the Russian Federation must ensure the safety of Salman Tepsurkaev abducted and subjected to torture in Chechnya

10/09/2020 Strasbourg

The abduction of Salman Tepsurkaev in Krasnodar Krai in the Russian Federation on September 5 is a serious human rights violation that cannot go unpunished. I call on the Russian authorities to take immediate action to ensure his safety. Mr Tepsurkaev (19) is a chat moderator on 1ADAT, a news...

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Letter

Commissioner urges the Slovak Parliament to reject bill which would further restrict women’s access to their sexual and reproductive health and rights

10/09/2020 Strasbourg

Today the Commissioner published a letter in which she raises concerns about a draft law currently under discussion in the National Council of the Slovak Republic which would introduce restrictions on access to safe and legal abortion services. The letter was sent on 7 September to the Speaker of...

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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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Statement

Bulgaria must investigate police violence against journalists

03/09/2020 Strasbourg

“I am concerned at numerous reports of police violence against journalists covering demonstrations in Sofia”, said today the Commissioner. “Several journalists were reportedly beaten up and pepper sprayed when riot police clashed with demonstrators yesterday in Sofia. One journalist was...

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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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EN RU

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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Statement

European states must no longer procrastinate on the duty to establish the truth concerning missing persons

28/08/2020 Strasbourg

“The lack of truth and justice for thousands of missing persons remains a serious human rights issue in Europe. So many families of missing persons in Council of Europe member states, including in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries in the Balkans, Cyprus, Georgia,...

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Statement

Commissioner calls for prompt investigations into Alexei Navalny’s case

26/08/2020 Strasbourg

"Alexei Navalny’s condition remains serious a week after he fell into a coma. I express my sympathy to him, his family and friends, and I hope he will fully recover soon", said today Commissioner Mijatović. "Mr Navalny is a prominent Russian anti-corruption activist, blogger and public figure....

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Rule 9

Commissioner Mijatović highlights the need to strengthen the fight against domestic violence in Romania

05/08/2020 Strasbourg

The Commissioner published today her submission to the Committee of Ministers in the context of the supervision of the execution of the judgment delivered by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Bălșan v. Romania in 2017. The Court found a violation of the prohibition of torture and...

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