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The Journal: for the latest human rights news in Europe – Week of 20 October 2014

October 20, 2014 - Council of Europe

Council of Europe Journal for the week of 20 October 2014:

  • Steps towards Reform in Ukraine despite the ongoing crisis
  • 10 years after Beslan – The Court hears from victims’ families
  • The Congress of Europe’s Cities and Regions elects a new President


  • Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland has welcomed adoption by the Ukrainian Parliament of a package of laws related to reform of prosecution, the fight against corruption and creation of an anti-corruption bureau. The law on prosecution and removal of the general supervisory function were long-standing commitments of Ukraine to the Council of Europe. At the same time Jagland expressed disappointment that other important legislation such as the law on Internally Displaced People could not be adopted. Clashes between police and demonstrators outside the Ukrainian Parliament disrupted the session when protesters demanded that the Verkhovna Rada accept a draft law to recognize two World War II guerrilla resistance groups as national heroes.
  • Following a final judgment from the European Court of Human Rights, the Secretary General has called for the release from prison in Azerbaijan of opposition politician and commentator Ilgar Mammadov.
  • The Court concluded that Mammadov had been arrested and detained without proper evidence. He was charged with offences linked to street riots in the town of Ismayilli in January 2013.
  • Responding to reports, Secretary General Jagland has asked the Russian Minister of Justice to help find a legal solution to save a non-governmental organisation involved in historical education work from possible closure. The Russian Memorial Society, through a network of regional branches, has been active in keeping alive the memory of historical repression, such as the Soviet Gulag system and in charting disappearances during the conflict in Chechnya.


  • The Council of Europe’s “Istanbul Convention” on violence against women and domestic violence has received The Future Policy “Vision Award”. This year year’s theme celebrated exemplary laws and policies that contribute to ending violence against women and girls.
  • The European Court of Human Rights has been hearing from victims and family members of victims of the terrorist attack on a Russian school in Beslan in 2004. 334 civilians died – 186 of them children, when a group of heavily armed terrorists stormed the courtyard of the school in North Ossetia. The applicants, 447 Russian nationals mainly claim that the Russian state failed in its obligation to protect the victims from the known risk to their lives and that there was no effective investigation into the events.
  • A new report from the Council of Europe’s anti torture committee says that there has been no improvement in prison and detention conditions in Greece since 2011. Many prisons are overcrowded, operating sometimes at as much as 300% of their capacity. The report also details significant allegations of physical ill-treatment of detainees by police officers.
  •  An event to spotlight Europe’s ‘social constitution’, the European Social Charter, has brought together European policy-makers in Turin, where the Charter was originally signed. The Social Charter establishes a system of legal standards which help to reduce economic and social tensions through its collective complaints procedure.
  • Health care professionals and human resource managers from around the world took park in an international conference to prevent workplace use of alcohol and drugs. It was organised by the Council of Europe’s drug policy experts The Pompidou Group, to look at policies to prevent addictive behaviour at work and how best to evaluate and monitor employees without violating their human rights.
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