- Human rights in Europe – review of 2019
In 2019 in the heart of Europe, some states actively sought to erode the independence of the judiciary to avoid state accountability. The European Union continued to outsource border and migration control. Grave human rights risks ensued: tens of thousands of people remained exposed to conflict, violence, torture and an uncertain future in destitute conditions. Those opposing these border and migration control policies frequently faced smear campaigns, harassment, and even administrative and criminal penalties. Increasing numbers of human rights defenders, activists and independent media faced intimidation and prosecution. Expressions of dissent on the streets were often met with a range of restrictive measures and excessive use of force by police. Against this overall backdrop of intolerance and discrimination, minorities and those seeking to defend their rights were met with violence, increasing stigmatization of some communities. Survivors of sexual violence, including rape, continued to face obstacles in accessing justice. While two countries held their first ever Pride parades, there was a roll-back in a number of others on law and policies related to the rights of LGBTI people.
Downlaod the full report in here: Europe: Human rights in Europe – review of 2019
(available in Slovak, Czech, French, Greek, Slovenian, Hungarian, Spanish, English, Greek)
- Spain to become tenth country in Europe to define rape as sex without consent
Following the announcement by the Spanish government today of a new bill on comprehensive responses to sexual violence, including a reform of the legal definition of rape, Amnesty International’s Senior Campaigner on Gender Monica Costa Riba said:
“We welcome the step taken by the government to improve the State’s responses to sexual violence in Spain. This is a victory for survivors of rape and for the countless women, campaigners and activists who raised so much awareness of the need for reforms in law, policy and practice through their protests and street actions.
“The proposed change of the legal definition of rape will make Spain become the tenth country out of the 31 analysed by Amnesty in Europe, which clearly define sex without consent as rape in line with international human rights law and standards. It is high time that other countries in Europe follow suit, and through improving their laws and policies, advance societal understanding of rape, consent and sexual autonomy.”
The announced bill follows recent high-profile gang rape cases in Spain in which the justice system failed the victims. This includes the so called ‘La Manada’ (wolf pack) case in which a lower court found that five men were only guilty of the lesser offence of sexual abuse. The 2018 ruling sparked widespread protests across the country and triggered a commitment of the government to reform the legal definition of rape and other sexual violence offences.
Amnesty International will analyse the bill’s compliance with international human rights law and standards in detail when the full text is made public.
- 121 people including babies and children stranded at sea in searing heat must be allowed to dock
More than 30 children, including two babies, and nearly 90 men and women stranded at sea in searing temperatures, must be immediately allowed to dock, said Amnesty International, as the stand-off between the Italian, Maltese and Spanish authorities and a NGO rescue ship enters its second week.
Despite mounting concerns for their well-being, Italian and Maltese authorities are refusing a port where they could safely be disembarked. Spanish authorities have yet to formally request help from European institutions to mediate a solution.
After a week stranded at sea in blistering heat, these women, men and children should be immediately disembarked either in Malta or Italy
“After a week stranded at sea in blistering heat, these women, men and children who have risked their lives to escape human rights abuses in Libya should be immediately disembarked either in Malta or Italy,” said Maria Serrano, Amnesty International’s Senior Researcher on Migration.
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