Human Rights Watch World Report 2012

According to the Human Rights Watch World Report, the European Union and member governments proved unwilling to tackle human rights abuse at home during 2011, even as they proclaimed the issue’s importance in inspiring the Arab Spring.

Human Rights Watch found worrying trends on human rights in the European Union region, highlighting events in nine member states and developments in the areas of migration and asylum, discrimination and intolerance, and counterterrorism policy.

A separate essay in the report analyses long-term trends on human rights in Europe. It concludes that declining respect for rights, weak enforcement when violations do occur, the growing influence of extremist parties, and the retreat from the idea that rights apply equally to everyone amount to a crisis that demands urgent action.

‘Judging from the soaring rhetoric on the Arab Spring in 2011, human rights would seem to be a central concern of the EU,’ said Benjamin Ward, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. ‘The sad truth is that European Union governments too often set aside rights at home when they prove inconvenient, especially those of vulnerable minorities and migrants, and brush aside criticism of abuse.’

The report was published in January 2012.

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