Feb 6, 2018

Human Rights, Europe - on Privacy (and more)

The Commissioner for human rights, Council of Europe, writes in its yearly report, dated January 2018

From the Foreword
In the introduction to last year’s annual report, I claimed that 2016 would be remembered as a turning point for human rights protection in Europe. In a positive scenario, 2016 would be remembered as the year we hit bottom and began to bounce back. In a darker scenario, it would mark the beginning of the end of the post-war human rights system. Needless to say, there were few signs of an upturn in 2017.

On Counter-terrorism and human rights protection

The  Commissioner  reiterated  these  concerns  in  a  series  of  statements.
On  the  occasion  of  the  Data Protection Day and the anniversary of Convention 108 on Personal Data Protection which took place on 27  January,  the  Commissioner  published  a  statement  stressing  that
mass  surveillance  is  a  threat  to individual rights to privacy and data protection.
He insisted on the need for safeguards against abuse to prevent counter-terrorism measures from undermining democracy under the guise of defending it. 
On 15 September,   the   Commissioner   participated   and   made   the   concluding   observations   in   the   Third Conference  of  the  Independent  Police  Complaint  Authorities’  Network  (IPCAN)  in  Strasbourg.   
The Commissioner  expressed  his  concern  that  one  of  the  major  reactions  by  states  to  terrorist  attacks  has been  to  adopt  laws  on  surveillance  which  raise  serious  issues  of  compatibility  with  human  rights standards. 
The Commissioner was also worried by the tendency in certain states to normalise emergency measures  by  embedding  them  in  ordinary  legislation.

He  underlined  that  all  instances  of  misconduct  by police   forces   are   corrosive   of   the   public   trust   and   stressed   that   independent   police   complaint mechanisms,  like  the  members  of  IPCAN,  can  play  a  vital  role  in  upholding  the  rule  of  law  and  human rights standards.
The Commissioner stated that in this age of terrorism such safeguards are necessary to
prevent deterioration in the quality of democracies while fighting terrorism.

..... and lots more related to human rights issues and abuses cross Europe.

Recommended reading:
The Annual activity report 2017 from the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights is available from Coe website

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