• In the face of a political and economic crisis affecting the European Union and many of its member states, protection of human rights is rarely a priority – especially when those negatively affected were marginalized or unpopular groups, such as Roma, migrants, and asylum seekers. Despite deteriorating rights in Hungary and elsewhere, EU institutions largely failed to live up to the promise of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, with the European Council particularly reluctant to hold member states to account for abuse.


  • European Union flags fly in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. © Reuters 2012
    The European Union and its member states should do more to help the thousands of Syrian asylum seekers trying to reach Europe as the Syrian crisis worsens and winter sets in.

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Human Rights in the European Union

  • Sep 19, 2014
    The Belgian authorities’ arrest of a Liberian for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during Liberia’s first civil war is a major advance for justice. It is the first arrest for crimes that violate international law committed during the conflict in Liberia from 1989 to 1996, which left tens of thousands dead.
  • Sep 18, 2014
    In the 1980s and early 1990s, a large number of Afghans fled to the Netherlands to escape the dire situation in their own country. But they weren't the only ones who left. Senior government officials, including agents of the secret service - the dreaded KhAD - who had engaged in human rights violations also landed on Dutch soil.
  • Sep 18, 2014
    Bulgarian border police have in the past month forced Syrian asylum seekers back to Turkey and beaten some of them.
  • Sep 17, 2014
    The Italian Navy’s twitter feed contained joyous news last week: a pregnant mother among the 90 people rescued from the sea by a Navy frigate had given birth on board to a little girl, Yambambi. Over that weekend more than 1,600 people were rescued.
  • Sep 17, 2014
    This submission highlights concerns about Bulgaria’s compliance with its international human rights obligations. It focuses on the treatment of asylum seekers and migrants, including concerns about summary returns of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers to Turkey, accompanied in some cases by violent abuses by Bulgarian border guards; abuses and poor conditions in migrant detention centers; lack of specialized protection for unaccompanied migrant children; and the failure to support and integrate refugees.
  • Sep 17, 2014
    This submission highlights Human Rights Watch’s concerns in Croatia, including developments in relation to human rights concerns identified during Croatia’s first Universal Periodic Review in 2009.It focuses on the rights of people with mental or intellectual disabilities; inadequate safeguards for unaccompanied migrant children, the human rights of minorities and accountability for war crimes.
  • Sep 16, 2014
  • Sep 9, 2014
  • Sep 4, 2014
    The UK government should address, not dismiss, evidence that employers have abused migrant domestic workers in the UK, Human Rights Watch and the UK charity Kalayaan said today. A draft law before parliament is aimed at combating forced labor and other criminal offences but does not address a visa system that contributes to the abuse of migrant domestic workers by their employers.
  • Aug 18, 2014
    Spain should immediately halt summary returns of migrants to Morocco from its North African enclave, Melilla. Spain should also investigate evidence that Guardia Civil officers beat migrants at the border fence.