EU fundamental rights assessment finds violations

EU fundamental rights assessment
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After conducting a full EU fundamental rights assessment for 2017, the European Parliament has denounced discrimination and hate crime across the EU.

MEPs yesterday adopted a non-binding resolution urging the EU’s institutions to conduct an assessment of Member States’ respect for the rule of law; and to condemn restrictions on freedom of speech and violations of the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees. The EU fundamental rights assessment found a range of inherent flaws pertaining to the upholding of the fundamental rights of minorities and vulnerable groups across Member States, which the resolution strongly condemned.

The resolution condemned violence against women and femicide, recommending those Member States which had not yet ratified the 2011 Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence – Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia – should do so “without delay”. The EU fundamental rights assessment drew specific attention to demonstrations throughout 2017 over women’s reproductive rights and the ongoing #MeToo movement, which aims to combat sexual harassment and abuse of women.

MEPs also raised concerns over the cavalier treatment by certain Member States of hate speech, including antisemitism and Islamophobia, and condemned the rise of far right movements across Europe. The EU fundamental rights assessment found there had been no tangible improvement in the treatment or rights accorded to Roma people in 2017; and that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people were still subject to “persistent discrimination and stigmatisation”.

Freedom of media and the press was also highlighted, with the EU fundamental rights assessment detailing “increasing restrictions” on freedom of speech in certain Member States. MEPs argued the EU institutions must do more to protect both journalists and whistleblowers.

Josep-Maria Terricabras, rapporteur for the EU fundamental rights assessment and resolution, said: “The right to media freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly were put into question in 2017. These fundamental rights are now under threat in places and countries where we would not have expected it to be the case. Artists and social leaders emerge as the victims of this situation.”

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