• 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

  • Jul 17, 2014
    Governments around the world should heed the findings of the UN’s human rights commissioner on mass surveillance. Governments should rein in mass surveillance and respect the privacy of all Internet users, no matter where they are located.
  • Jul 14, 2014
    Emergency legislation announced by the UK government on July 10, 2014, that would grant the British intelligence and law enforcement agencies access to data about millions of people’s communications is a blow to the right to privacy.
  • Jul 8, 2014
    An Italian naval vessel made a grim discovery in the Mediterranean Sea last month. Alerted that a 20-meter fishing vessel was in distress, the crew located and began evacuating the 600 or so migrants on board. The Italian navy captain told the BBC that his crew had also found dead bodies packed in a hold on the ship.
  • Jul 4, 2014
    The undersigned organizations are writing to urge your mandates to address an appeal to the Spanish government regarding the draft bill “[for the protection of the life of the fetus and of the rights of pregnant women]” approved by the Council of Ministers in Spain in December 2013.
  • Jul 3, 2014
    The European Court of Human Rights’ ruling approving France’s blanket ban on full-face veils undermines Muslim women’s rights. The ban interferes with women’s rights to express their religion and beliefs freely and to personal autonomy.
  • Jun 25, 2014
    A 16 year-old boy is fighting for his life in a Paris hospital. On June 13, Darius was found by a neighbor in a supermarket cart, unconscious, on the side of a road.
  • Jun 24, 2014
    Four months before general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, minorities are still denied the right to run for election, despite a 2009 European court ruling. Human rights organizations have now made submissions in a new case before the court to seek urgent constitutional reform and to press for equal political participation for minorities.
  • Jun 24, 2014
    The Netherlands, Denmark, and Ireland have moved to improve the rights of transgender people. However, each country retains some requirements that undermine the right of transgender people to have their identity reflected in law.
  • Jun 19, 2014
    Europe is in a grumpy mood these days. The scale of voter disenchantment with the EU was manifest in May’s European Parliament election results, with Eurosceptic parties topping the polls in France, the UK and Denmark and winning seats in Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Greece, Sweden and elsewhere.
  • Jun 16, 2014