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Human Rights in Europe: Do Not Leave the Battlefield

Categories: Articles:Human Rights | Published: 11/04/2016 | Views: 950
'2015 was a year of fear and insecurity in Europe. The conflict in eastern Ukraine and on going economic malaise were overshadowed by a sense of vulnerability to terrorist threats and panic at the apparent inability to cope with the influx of asylum seekers'. Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, 18/04/2016.

 “2015 was a year of fear and insecurity in Europe. The conflict in eastern Ukraine and onoing economic malaise were overshadowed by a sense of vulnerability to terrorist threats and panic at the apparent inability to cope with the influx of asylum seekers”, said  Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while presenting his annual activity report for 2015. “The instinctive response has been to retreat back into one’s ‘national fortress’ and to restrict freedoms.”

“Ukraine continued to be the locus of a great deal of suffering. The conflict in the east of the country has by now claimed thousands of lives, many more people have been injured, and close to two million displaced. The rest of Europe cannot ignore the tragedy and hardship in Ukraine. We must all assist in achieving peace with justice.”

The continuing inflow of migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, was accompanied by a growing fear in many European countries, sometimes exacerbating doubts about Europe’s ability to manage diversity and feeding anti-Muslim prejudices. “Despite this unfavourable context, I sought to advocate a human rights approach vis-à-vis migrants. To this end, I examined allegations of pushbacks and ill-treatment at borders, access to international protection, reception conditions, treatment of vulnerable groups, as well as xenophobia towards the new arrivals.” The Commissioner stressed the need to develop safe legal passage options for migrants into Europe and the importance of creating effective integration policies for newcomers.

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