At the occasion of International Human Rights Day, Thorbjørn Jagland warned that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Europeans continue to face discrimination in many parts of the continent.
“Homosexuality has been decriminalised all over Europe, but prejudice and hypocrisy still exist towards LGBT persons in Europe. Recently, discriminatory laws have been proposed or even adopted, in member states such as in Lithuania, Ukraine and in some regions of the Russian Federation. This is a violation of basic human rights and a set back to the progress we have achieved in promoting and protecting human dignity,” he said.
“European governments as well as political and moral leaders know that the European Convention on Human Rights does not allow for persecution on the grounds of sexual identity. My message on this year’s International Human Rights Day is to always remember this, and to bear in mind that human rights are for all or they are for none.”
"The defence of all human rights depends on media freedom and pluralism," the Commissioner writes in a publication presented on 8 December 2011
Ahead of human rights day on 10 December 2011, Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, launched the publication Human rights and a changing media landscape at a press conference in London, hosted by ARTICLE 19, on Thursday 8 December 2011.
In his foreword Thomas Hammarberg highlights the role media plays in exposing human rights violations and in offering an arena for different voices to be heard in public discourse. He argues that public service broadcasting is important to ensure media pluralism and counteract monopolies. He also underlines that every case of violence or threats against a journalist must be promptly and seriously investigated – impunity encourages further murders and has a chilling effect on public debate.
This year, millions of people decided the time had come to claim their rights. They took to the streets and demanded change. Many found their voices using the internet and instant messaging to inform, inspire and mobilize supporters to seek their basic human rights. Social media helped activists organize peaceful protest movements in cities across the globe - from Tunis to Madrid, from Cairo to New York - at times in the face of violent repression.
Human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values. As a global community we all share a day in common: Human Rights Day on 10 December, when we remember the creation 63 years ago of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.