Amnesty International today called on the EU Council of Ministers to develop ways in which accountability at EU level for human rights abuses within EU borders can be addressed, following the release today of a new report alleging abuses by police officers in Germany.
Amnesty International’s 77-page report says while the number of allegations is diminishing, there is still a pattern of alleged ill-treatment and excessive use of force by police officers in Germany. A significant proportion of the allegations come from foreign nationals or members of ethnic minorities.
“Back in the Spotlight – Allegations of police ill-treatment and excessive use of force in Germany” (14 January 2004) is available at end of page.
Amnesty International’s report on Germany follows its reports on other EU countries, including Greece and Spain, over the past two years. In addition, Amnesty International’s regular bi-annual reports on human rights abuses in Europe consistently include the majority of EU member states as well as the majority of candidate countries.
In an open letter to the President of the European Council Bertie Ahern, the Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office Dick Oosting said:
“There are clear and strong reasons for the EU to address human rights problems within its own borders. Human rights have been placed at the heart of EU policies and are rightly regarded as a cornerstone in its external relations, yet the EU does not appear to have remedies when they are violated at home.”
“Amnesty International believes that serious infractions of human rights in one member state are not just the responsibility of that country but should also be the proper concern of the EU as a whole.”
In its recent Communication on the application of Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, regarding the EU’s accountability for human rights abuses within its borders, the Commission made a start in recognising the need to monitor and assess Member States’ compliance with the EU’s founding principles.
Amnesty International urges the Council of Ministers to respond quickly and decisively to the Commission’s Communication. “The Council’s response so far to our concerns has been nominal at best. While reiterating values and commitments, and acknowledging the importance of the internal human rights dimension and the need for better observance within the EU, there has in fact been no concrete action beyond that rhetoric,” Dick Oosting said.
Amnesty International documents available:
- 2-page summary of report “Back in the Spotlight” (AI index EUR 23/001/2004 14 January 2004)
- Cover page of document
- Full text of report “Back in the Spotlight – Allegations of police ill-treatment and excessive use of force in Germany” (AI index EUR 23/001/2004 14 January 2004)
- “Open Letter to the President of the European Council Bertie Ahern” (13 January 2004)
- “Human Rights Begin at home: Amnesty International’s assessment of EU human rights policy and Recommendations to the Irish EU Presidency”(12 January 2004)
- “Amnesty International reponse to the European Commission Communication on Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union”(December 2003)
For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Email: [email protected]