Attorney General’s speech on human rights

Attorney Generals Office

On 26 January 2012, Dominic Grieve QC MP, the Attorney General, gave a lecture to London Common Law and Commercial Bar on the European Court of Human Rights and its relationship with the UK and the UK courts.

In the lecture, he discusses two initiatives: the Commission on a UK Bill of Rights and the Government’s proposals for reform of the European Court of Human Rights.

Click here for link to speech

Report on the ‘the Social Impact of the Economic Crisis’

The European Commission emblem.

In February 2012, the Social Protection Committee of the Council of the European Union published ‘The social impact of the economic crisis and ongoing fiscal consolidation: third Report of the Social protection Committee (2011)’.

The report maps the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU, and shows that the depth of poverty and social exclusion has worsened.

Click here for report (pdf)

Prime Minister’s speech on the European Court of Human Rights

Number 10

On 25 January 2012, the Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech to the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe stressing the UK’s commitment to human rights but proposing reforms to the European Court of Human Rights.

Click here for link to speech

Click here for response from Professor Francesca Klug, Director of the Human Rights Futures project at the LSE (the Guardian, 25 January 2012)

Click here for Guardian report (25 January 2012)

FRA report on the Racial Equality Directive

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

On 25 January 2012, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published ‘The Racial Equality Directive: application and challenges’.

The Racial Equality Directive (2000/43/EC) is the key piece of EU legislation for combating discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin and for giving effect to the principle of equal treatment. This  report discusses the application of the Racial Equality Directive through the laws and practices in the 27 EU Member States.

Click here for details of publication

Speech by Human Rights Commissioner at EDF event

The EDF logo.
Thomas Hammarberg
Thomas Hammarberg

In a speech to the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF), Thomas Hammarberg, the European Commissioner for Human Rights, warned that watering down British laws ‘would send a dangerous signal to undemocratic states’.

In his speech, he describes the European Convention on Human Rights as possibly the ‘most successful international instrument for protecting human rights in the world’.

Thomas Hammarberg spoke at an EDF event in London on Tuesday 13 December 2011.

Hammarberg’s comments were welcomed by Amanda Ariss, EDF Chief Executive: ‘The Human Rights Act protects elderly people, disabled people and women fleeing domestic violence – among others. Dilute it and you are leaving some of our most vulnerable communities exposed’.

Click here for text of speech

Click here for report in the Observer on 11 December 2011

European Union: ‘The Kids’ Corner’

The European Commission emblem.

In January 2012, the European Commission launched a special website dedicated to children and young people.

The website includes information about children’s rights as well as games, quizzes and information about the EU and its Member States. It was first announced in the EU’s Agenda for the Rights of the Child ( IP/11/156).

The Kids’ Corner is specifically written in a style children can understand. Children can easily learn important facts and figures about the EU, its history and its countries through games and quizzes in 22 EU languages.

Click here for details

Click here for link to the Kids’ Corner

Council of Europe: ‘Human rights in Europe: no grounds for complacency’

Council of Europe

In 2011, the Council of Europe published Human rights in Europe: no grounds for complacency. Viewpoints by Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.

Political rhetoric on human rights in Europe is different from daily reality. Almost every politician is on record as favouring the protection of freedom and justice. Standards on human rights have been agreed at European and international level; many have been integrated into national law; but they are not consistently enforced. There is an implementation gap.

It is this implementation gap that this book seeks to address. It is built on a compilation of separate ‘viewpoints’ or articles which Thomas Hammarberg has written, and later updated, since beginning his mandate as Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights in April 2006. He has now visited almost all of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. On each visit he has met victims of violations of human rights and their families, leading politicians, prosecutors, judges, ombudsmen, religious leaders, journalists and civil society representatives as well as inmates of prisons and other institutions, law enforcement personnel and others. The ‘viewpoints’ written on the basis of these many visits summarise his reflections, conclusions and recommendations.