Challenges to Human Rights in Europe Increasing Amid COVID Crisis

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović. Photo: COE
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović. Photo: COE

The Council of Europe (COE) Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, has published her annual activity report covering 2019.

The report – released Tuesday (April 21) – provides an overall picture of the main problems, challenges, and opportunities that European countries are facing in the field of human rights.

“The image I get from my work is of a Europe circling a roundabout, uncertain about its direction and the human rights obligations which member states voluntarily agreed upon,” says the Commissioner, adding that the current COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating long-standing problems and emphasizing the weaknesses of Europe’s human rights protection system.

The Commissioner observes that in 2019 as in previous years, there have been growing challenges to human rights standards and principles all over the continent.

In some cases, hostility to human rights as universal, indivisible and legally binding has increased, fueling a corrosive narrative that endangers the principles and standards on which Europe has been built over the past seven decades.

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Rakesh Raman