Amid economic crisis and much contested austerity measures in many member states, discrimination, racism, and homophobia remained serious problems in European Union member states. Roma, migrants, and asylum seekers are particularly marginalized.

The Council of the European Union acknowledged for the first time that more is needed to ensure human rights violations within EU borders are adequately addressed, with an ongoing policy debate focused on improving responses to rule of law crises. Meanwhile, abusive practices around the EU continued without adequate action by EU institutions and member states.

EU Migration and Asylum Policy

The EU took final steps toward the creation of a Common European Asylum System with the adoption by the European Parliament (EP) in June of an asylum package, including recast versions of the Dublin regulation, the Asylum Procedures Directive, and the Reception Conditions Directive. While the package contains certain improvements, it provides broad grounds for detention of asylum seekers, does not obligate member states to provide free legal assistance at first instance, and fails to exempt especially vulnerable asylum seekers, including torture survivors and unaccompanied children, from accelerated procedures.

The Dublin III regulation, in force as of July, leaves intact the general rule that the first EU country of entry is responsible for asylum claims while improving safeguards, including the right to information, a personal interview, and an appeal against a transfer decision. States must now assess the risk of inhuman or degrading treatment before transfer to another EU country. The European Union Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled in June that member states must examine asylum claims by unaccompanied children present in their territory even if they have previously applied elsewhere.

In November, the CJEU ruled that sexual orientation is grounds for seeking asylum in the EU if the applicant comes from a country where laws criminalizing same-sex activity are enforced, and that no one should be expected to conceal his or her sexual orientation.

EU member states adopted widely divergent approaches to Syrian asylum seekers. For example Sweden said it would grant permanent residence to Syrians to whom it previously granted temporary protection, whereas Greece tried to return them to Turkey. Germany and Austria pledged to resettle 5,000 and 500 Syrian refugees respectively, but few other EU countries made more than token resettlement offers.

In June, the European Commission (EC) and the EU high representative for foreign affairs jointly called for a comprehensive approach to the Syrian crisis, focusing on humanitarian assistance for refugees in neighboring countries, while acknowledging the need for greater convergence in member states' approach.

Boat migration to Europe increased, with over 35,000 migrants and asylum seekers arriving by the end of October. An estimated 500 people had died at sea by mid-October, including over 360 in a single boat tragedy in October. In July, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) blocked Malta's proposed summary return to Libya of a group of Somalis.

At time of writing, negotiations continued on proposed new regulations for the EU Border Agency (Frontex). The EC Proposal would clarify Frontex's role in search and rescue operations at sea, as well as matters relating to disembarkation, but would also allow for returns to third countries of those intercepted on the high seas following a cursory assessment of protection needs and the situation in the country of return. The then- European ombudsman concluded his inquiry into Frontex in April with recommendations to Frontex to clarify the legal framework for its operations as well as the agency's responsibilities for rights violations.

In September, the EP called for strategic guidelines to better protect unaccompanied migrant children beyond the EC's Action Plan, and Council of Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks reminded states of the primacy of the best interests of the child in implementation of migration policies.

UN Special Rapporteur on Migrants Rights François Crépeau criticized the EU's securitized approach to migration, with its focus on strengthening external borders, detention, and removals. In his April report, Crépeau recommended increased safeguards, including ensuring alternatives to detention and human rights provisions in migration cooperation agreements with non-EU countries, and called on the EC to initiate infringement procedures against EU countries for violating migrants' rights.

Discrimination and Intolerance

Xenophobic sentiment and violence sparked concern among EU institutions and the CoE. In March, an EP resolution called for adequate recording, investigation, and prosecution of hate crimes, as well as assistance, protection, and compensation for victims. In June, the council of the EU called for more efforts to counter extreme forms of intolerance, such as racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and homophobia. In May, CoE Commissioner Muižnieks called for systematic, continuous training for police, prosecutors, and judges, and effective measures to address bias within law enforcement agencies.

Repeated racial slurs against a black minister in Italy prompted seventeen EU ministers to sign a declaration in September condemning intolerance and extremism.

Politicians in the UK and the authorities in Catalonia, Spain, proposed banning the full-face Muslim veil, and voters in Ticino, Switzerland (not an EU country) approved a ban in a September referendum. In November, the ECtHR heard the case of a woman against the French ban on concealment of one's face in public on the grounds it allegedly violates her rights to private and family life and to freedom of religion and expression.

A Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) survey published in May found that 47 percent of LGBT respondents reported experiencing discrimination or harassment in the previous twelve months, while 25 percent said they had been attacked or threatened with violence in the previous five years. A FRA survey reported in November that 21 percent of Jewish respondents had experienced anti-Semitic insults or harassment in the 12 months preceding the survey, while 2 percent reported a physical attack during the same period.

Roma experience discrimination and destitution across the EU. In June, the EC made recommendations to guide member states in effectively implementing their Roma integration strategies. In September, France's interior minister stated that most Roma have no wish to integrate, while news emerged that Swedish police kept unlawful Roma registries. In October, allegations that proved unfounded of blonde-haired, blue-eyed children being abducted by Roma families in Greece and Ireland prompted CoE Commissioner Muižnieks to warn against irresponsible reporting.

In February, Portugal became the first EU country to ratify the CoE Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, followed by Italy in September.

In November, the ECtHR found that the exclusion of same-sex couples from civil unions in Greece violated anti-discrimination norms and the right to private and family life.


In its first ruling on European complicity in CIA renditions, in December 2012 the ECtHR found Macedonia had violated the torture prohibition and German citizen Khaled el-Masri's rights to liberty and security, an effective remedy, and private and family life by illegally detaining him in 2003 and transferring him to US custody, and for the failure of Macedonian authorities to effectively investigate his allegations of ill-treatment.

The similar cases of Guantánamo detainees Abu Zubaydah, against Poland and Lithuania, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, against Poland and Romania, were pending before the ECtHR at time of writing. CoE Commissioner Muižnieks and the European Parliament in September and October respectively reiterated calls for accountability for European complicity and for US cooperation in investigations.

In September, the EP opened an inquiry into the impact of the US National Security Agency's surveillance program on EU citizens' privacy. The EP is expected to adopt conclusions and recommendations on the matter in January 2014.

EU Foreign Policy

Although there were some positive initiatives undertaken during the course of 2013, such as the establishment of the European Endowment for Democracy and two new sets of European Union (EU) guidelines on LGBTI rights and freedom of religion and belief, EU members states and institutions lacked the vitality and united efforts on human rights that existed in the run up to the adoption by EU foreign ministers of the EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy in June 2012.

The EU's 28 member states and institutions have yet to utilize their combined leverage and unite behind a common message and approach to strategic partners such as Russia and China on human rights, despite calls from the European Parliament to do so. While the EU high representative did express some concerns in statements, a principled and collective EU response that would enable the EU's human rights concerns to be placed firmly at the highest levels of policy dialogues and public discussions with Russia and China was still missing.

The EU as a whole remained the largest humanitarian donor for the Syrian crisis. However, despite the EU's stated commitment to both the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to justice for serious crimes, the EU high representative failed to ensure strong collective EU voice and strategy that would advance the chances of bringing the crimes in Syria before the ICC. Twenty-seven EU member states – all but Sweden – joined a Swiss-led initiative calling on the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the ICC.

In reaction to the occupation of Northern Mali by Islamist armed groups, France took the lead in responding to the request for military assistance issued by the president of Mali by launching Operation Serval in January. Later in January, the EU established a mission to train and advise the Malian security forces, including a specific component on human rights and international humanitarian law.

The year 2013 marked a new era for EU-Burma relations. In April, the EU lifted all targeted sanctions on Burmese army and government individuals and entities, except its export ban on arms. A Comprehensive Framework for the EU's policy and support to Burma was subsequently endorsed by EU foreign ministers in July. Also in July, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the "grave violations of human rights and the violence perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims in Burma/Myanmar." The EC allocated €14.5 million to Burma in humanitarian assistance in addition to €5.5 million it allocated in December 2012. The priority for the humanitarian aid remained Rakhine and Kachin states and the eastern border areas. The EU continued to sponsor critical Burma resolutions in the UN's Human Rights Council and General Assembly.

In June, human rights appeared to have been left on the margins of the EU-Gulf Cooperation Council Ministerial meeting that took place in Bahrain. The EU high representative and EU member states failed to use their collective weight to actively and publically press for the immediate and unconditional release of imprisoned Bahraini activists, three of whom are dual nationals of Bahrain and EU member state, despite repeated calls from the EP and civil society to do so.

During the course of 2013, the EU appeared to lack any policy to secure improvements in countries with systematic rights repression such as Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.

The EU deployed different, sometimes inconsistent approaches to human rights concerns in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and non-EU states in Eastern Europe. In 2013, the EU suspended a long-standing visa ban against the Belarusian foreign minister, imposed in 2011, enabling him to travel to Brussels in July for the first high-level visit of a Belarusian official since 2010. At the same time, throughout the year the EU reiterated the need for Belarus to meet EU human rights benchmarks, including immediate release of political prisoners, as a condition for reopening dialogue.

Всемирный Доклад 2014: Европейский cоюз

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