Commissioner for Human Rights

Human rights protection is under strain in Europe, says Commissioner Muižnieks in his first annual report


Human rights protection is under strain in Europe, says Commissioner Muižnieks in his first annual report
Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks 

Strasbourg, 25/4/2013 - “The picture of the human rights situation which I have observed during country visits, meetings with authorities and discussions with NGO representatives in 2012 is worrying” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while presenting his first annual report. “Of particular concern are the persisting patterns of discrimination, racism and homophobia; the treatment of migrants; constraints to freedom of expression; as well as the inefficiency of national judicial systems.”


On top of these long-standing problems, austerity measures have contributed to undermining the overall post-war acquis of social and economic rights. Civil and political rights have also been affected, including access to justice, conditions in detention and relations between the police and the public. “In many countries key institutions for human rights protection, such as the courts and national human rights structures, have been weakened by excessive budget cuts. Furthermore, populist politicians as well as nationalist and extremist groups have exploited people’s frustrations and fears for electoral purposes.”


Minorities, in particular Roma, are increasingly the targets of discrimination, racism and intolerance. Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity continues to be a widespread problem. “Legislative measures restricting the freedom of expression and association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons represent a worrying step backwards to a bygone era when homosexuals were treated like criminals.” (more...)


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