Human Rights

  • Venice Commission and ODIHR Lower "Imminent Violence" Standard for Restrictions on Freedom of Assembly to "Real Risk of Violence" Standard

    December 10, 2019

    Lowering the standard contained in Paragraph 139 of its 2019 Guidelines on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly recommending that proscribing freedom of assembly on public order grounds must involve "an interest in preventing imminent violent conduct or other conduct creating serious infringements of public order" (a standard comparable to U.S. First Amendment jurisprudence), in Paragraph 78 of a recent joint Opinion, the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the "Venice Commission") and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights ("OSCE/ODIHR") opine that "restrictions on content of public assemblies should only occur if there is a real risk of violence or an incitement to violence or other serious threat to public order which cannot be otherwise mitigated and prevented."

  • Venice Commission Explains Standard for Ukraine's Adoption of State Language Laws

    December 10, 2019

    In a recent Opinion, the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the "Venice Commission") explains that, in adopting State Language laws impacting the linguistic rights of minorities, Ukraine must comply with applicable international instruments and, to avoid discrimination, must base any distinction among languages on an objective and reasonable justification that pursues a legitimate aim, is proportional to the aim sought to be realized, and falls within a margin of appreciation that will vary according to the national circumstances, the subject matter, and the background.

  • Social Economy Enterprises: Social Economy Can Address “Ecological Emergency and Social Crisis”

    December 04, 2019

    Participants in the 4th European Day of Social Economy Enterprises emphasized that the social economy “may be the only viable alternative to a model of production and consumption that threatens the survival of the planet and exacerbates social inequalities, by putting the values of equality, social justice and sustainable development at the core of the economic model.”

  • New Report Contains Negative Assessment of EU SDG Efforts

    November 25, 2019

    According to an independent qualitative report assessing the progress of the European Union toward achieving the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals ("SDGs"), every country in Europe is failing against global sustainability targets, a result that is sparking calls for EU political leaders to urgently draw up an ambitious plans to address climate change, pollution, biodiversity and overconsumption across the bloc.

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation: Second Additional Protocol to Budapest Convention Poses Privacy Concerns

    November 25, 2019

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has expressed concern about a proposed Second Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe's Budapest Convention, a major international treaty on cybercrime, that seeks to make it much easier for police in one country to get users' data from companies in another country, typically foreign Internet companies and Internet Service Providers.

  • European NHRIs Meet to Promote Human Rights-Based Approach to Economic and Social Policies

    November 20, 2019

    At the Annual Conference of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions, European National Human Rights Institutions ("NHRIs"), regional and international organizations, and civil society organizations met to discuss the role and relevance of NHRIs in the realization of social and economic rights in Europe and to encourage a human rights-based approach to economic and social policies and reforms at the national and European level.

  • HRW Urges EU to Deny Croatia Entrance into Schengen Area

    November 12, 2019

    In reaction to a European Commission announcement that Croatia is ready to join the Schengen Area, Human Rights Watch ("HRW") is urging the European Union not to admit to Croatia to its border-free travel zone over its treatment of migrants crossing into the Balkan country.

  • Germany Interior Minister Recommends External-Border Review of Asylum Applications

    November 01, 2019

    At a meeting of the G6 group consisting of Germany, France, Italy, Poland, and Spain, and the UK, Germany's Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, called on the European Union to change its approach to asylum applications, urging that applicants should undergo initial assessment at Europe's external borders and be sent home from there as well.

  • CoE delegation to raise awareness on the Istanbul Convention

    October 30, 2019

    As a follow-up to the Venice Commission’s conclusion that ratification of the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women (the “Istanbul Convention”) as originally drafted would not violate any provisions of the Constitution of Armenia, a Council of Europe delegation will visit Armenia to raise awareness of the Convention and to clarify its provisions.

  • U.N. Warns of Drastically Decreasing Population in Southeast Europe

    October 23, 2019

    The United Nations has warned that dramatic falls in population in Southeast Europe are threatening the ability of countries in the region to maintain vital social services, for which, in the opinion of Allana Armitage, Director of the U.N. Population Fund for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, governments should develop comprehensive and human-rights based population policies aligned with better childcare.

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