Tuesday

24th Jan 2017

Europe faces worst human rights 'crisis' in decades

  • 'We need to put Europe back on the path of unity and co-operation, based on common values, standards and legal obligations', says Jagland (Photo: Council of Europe)

Europe is facing its largest human rights crisis in over two decades, according to the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe (CoE).

The human rights watchdog, in a report published on Wednesday (16), says corruption, human trafficking, racism and discrimination persist across Europe.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Coupled with unemployment and poverty in many of the 47 countries under its mandate, the violations help feed extremism and fuel conflict, it notes.

“The challenges to security in Europe are more often caused by conflicts within territories, within states rather than classical conflicts between states,” Daniel Holtgen, CoE spokesperson told this website.

CoE secretary general Thorbjorn Jagland – in a statement entitled "Europe in biggest human rights crisis since Cold War” – said the lack of democratic checks and balances, free media and an independent judiciary is the cause of widespread corruption and misuse of power.

He is calling for a “new pan-European security agenda” to help stem the abuse.

The idea is to make sure human rights are woven, from the beginning, into security-driven policies and laws.

He says members must comply with the European Convention on Human Rights to stop the erosion of fundamental rights, which has now become the source of conflicts inside Europe.

CoE says issues like discrimination and austerity measures gave rise to the far-right in Greece.

Meanwhile, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s dire economy, unemployment, and popular resentment against the ruling class are fuelling protest movements.

Last year’s Taksim Gezi Park protests in Turkey and its clamp down on free media is also a source of growing internal conflict.

The 72-page report notes the current crisis in Ukraine illustrates “the dangers that we face”.

The report points out Ukraine’s lack of an independent judiciary, of free press, and of checks and balances on government, created conditions ripe for corruption and misuse of power.

“This caused mistrust, social unrest and ultimately a revolution. The annexation of Crimea into the Russian Federation by a unilateral action clearly in contradiction with the Constitution of Ukraine provoked a fully-fledged crisis in Europe,” it notes.

Specialised bodies set up inside the Council to monitor human rights standards found that ethnic discrimination against national minorities is the most common.

Discrimination is a serious issue in 39 of the CoE member states.

Poor detention conditions, including prison over-crowding are found in 30 states.

Corruption is prevalent in 26 followed by police abuse in 20 states, among other violations.

Focus

Anti-HIV measures failing in EU, says WHO

Rates of infection have stayed constant for a decade in the EU, though there has been a massive surge in Russia apparently caused by drug users sharing needles.

News in Brief

  1. VW's internal Dieselgate probe not yet done
  2. Israel defies EU policy with huge settlement expansion
  3. Martin Schulz to be candidate for German chancellor
  4. EU commission gives MEPs Dieselgate paper at last moment
  5. EU parliament committee backs EU-Canada deal
  6. UK MPs must vote on Brexit trigger, court rules
  7. Greek island mayors plead for the transfer of migrants
  8. Tzipi Livni cancels Brussels trip amid war crimes probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsKyrgyzstan: no Justice for Human Rights Defender Azimjan Askarov
  2. Dialogue PlatformThe Influence of Turkish Politics in Europe After the Coup Attempt
  3. World VisionEU Urged to do Better Ahead of Helsinki Conference on Syria
  4. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  5. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  6. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  7. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  8. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  9. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  10. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  11. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  12. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism

Latest News

  1. No Turkey-type migrant deal with Libya, says EU commission
  2. EU to Trump: Protectionism is 'doomed to fail'
  3. The French town that swung from socialist to far-right
  4. UK parliament must give Brexit approval, judges rule
  5. 'No indication' VW used EU loans to cheat
  6. Fillon promotes pro-Russia views in Berlin
  7. Dutch PM tells people to 'act normal, or go away'
  8. EU to step up effort against Russian and Islamist propaganda