Amnesty International Report 2010: The European Union fails to live up to its human rights rhetoric

Amnesty International EU Office Press Release
Amnesty International Report 2010: The European Union fails to live up to its human rights rhetoric

(Brussels, 27 May) EU member states are denying justice to people who have suffered human rights abuses according to the Amnesty International Report 2010: State of the World’s Human Rights. The report shows that the EU and its Member States have clear accountability gaps both internally and in Foreign Policy.

European leaders portray the European Union as a beacon of human rights but reality shows that serious human rights abuses within its borders contradict this rhetoric. Everyone in the EU should enjoy the full range of human rights but this is sadly not the case,” says Nicolas Beger, the Director of Amnesty International’s EU office.

The involvement of EU member states in the CIA’s rendition and secret detention program is one of the most obvious accountability gaps and Several European countries have repeatedly ignored the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights against the return of terrorism suspects to countries where they are at risk of torture. Another disappointing development of several EU member states is the signature response of repressing flows of irregular migration, resulting in a troubling pattern of human rights violations. The interception, detention and expulsion by European countries of foreign nationals that seek international protection continue to occur along EU borders

The report also highlights the systematic discrimination of Europe’s Roma. Unlawful forced eviction and segregated school classes are two disturbing examples of how the continent’s biggest minority are treated in several member states. Another troubling issue at EU level is Germany’s staunch refusal to back the EU’s anti-discrimination directive. An adoption of the directive would ensure that millions of Europeans would be protected from discrimination in key areas of their lives, such as access to education, healthcare and housing.

Finally, there have been clear accountability gaps in the EU’s foreign policy. The EU’s weak and incoherent position on the follow-up to the Goldstone report on the conflict in Gaza and Southern Israel and the failure to ensure accountability for possible war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan offensive against the LTTE are two glaring examples. There have also been considerable differences in the extent to which principles of accountability have been applied to individual conflict situations, despite EU Guidelines on International Humanitarian Law. Such inconsistencies in foreign policy can possibly be eradicated with the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty.  

The EU has an impressive toolbox of human rights instrument at its disposal as well as a thorough legislation that guarantees the protection of human rights. Unfortunately both the EU and its  member states fail to apply some of them both internally and externally, creating an accountability gap inside the EU and in its foreign policy that can lead to human rights abuses,” concludes Beger.

Click here to access the annual report in searchable pdf format.

For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Tel: 32-2-5021499/32 -2 – 548 2773
Email: [email protected]

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