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Human Rights in Europe

HRW: EU and ten of its members fail to protect Human Rights

Human Rights Watch's 2015 report denounces issues in Croatia, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, UK, Poland, Netherlands and France. “Over 155,000 people had reached EU shores, 3,000 died at sea."

AUTHOR Evangelical Focus New York 30 JANUARY 2015 18:00 h GMT+1
boat migration italy Rescuers help people in the sea after a boat carrying some 250 migrants crashed into rocks off the southern coast of Italy in April 2011. AFP

The Human Rights Watch world report just issued by the worldwide monitoring NGO highlights some of the issues that are happening inside of Europe. Several European Union member states are still not defending Human Rights enough, according to the organization.

 “The success in May of populist and Eurosceptic parties in European Parliament elections amid continued economic and political fragility underscored the need for a stronger European Union commitment to human rights protection inside its own borders”, the HRW report argues. “But the EU, particularly the council, remained reluctant to press member states on abusive practices”. 



“By mid-November, over 155,000 people had reached EU shores—primarily those of Italy, but also Malta, Greece, Spain, and Cyprus. Italy’s Mare Nostrum operation rescued tens of thousands of people from boats in distress, but over 3,000 died at sea since January”, the reports denounces.

The organization thinks there has been an “excessive use of force by border guards” of countries such as Bulgaria, Greece and Spain.

“The European Committee of Social Rights expressed concern about access to health care for undocumented migrants in several EU countries, including Spain, Belgium, Bulgaria, and France”.



Roma continue to experience discrimination, social exclusion, and deprivation across the EU,” according to HRW, and “women are disproportionately affected.”

In January, Council of Europe (CoE) Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muižnieks warned of “growing anti-Semitism in Europe. There was repeated evidence to justify his warning during the year, including a gun attack at a Jewish museum in Brussels that left four dead, and rising reports of anti-Semitic violence and incidents including in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.”



The 2015 report specifically calls out unfair situations in different European countries. In Croatia, “despite limited reforms in June, the guardianship system continues to deny roughly 18,000 persons with disabilities the right to make decisions about their lives.”

In France, “the government failed to enact in-depth reforms to address abusive police identity checks, including ethnic profiling.”

On Germany, “media reports indicated that there was cooperation between German and US agencies in mass surveillance activities.”

About Greece, HRW reminds that “in March, the UN independent expert on foreign debt and human rights warned that the impact of the austerity measures in Greece had been particularly severe on the most vulnerable. Golden Dawn established itself as the third most popular party in the country with 9.4 percent of the vote in May’s European Parliament elections.”

The United Kingdom government “failed to honor its promise of a new independent judge-led inquiry into the UK’s involvement in renditions and complicity in overseas torture.”



In Spain, “government responded to increased attempts by migrants and asylum seekers to enter Spanish enclaves in Morocco, Ceuta, and Melilla (in the latter, up 234 percent compared to 2013), with enhanced border control. Fifteen people died in February as they attempted to reach Ceuta by sea; the Spanish Guardia Civil fired rubber bullets and tear gas in their direction.”

In Italy, “episodes of xenophobic violence occurred throughout the year.”

Regarding the Netherlands, “Dozens of rejected asylum-seekers continued to live in degrading conditions in squats in Amsterdam. Many were from countries to which they could not be safely returned, such as Somalia and Eritrea. The government did not provide them with any support.”

In Poland there is “concern over the small number of hate crime cases referred to the courts, despite rising incidents.”

Finally, the report focuses on Hungary, where “free and plural media remains under threat.”


You can read the full 2015 Human Rights Watch World report on their website.




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Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

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