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Gender-based violence, including violence against women and domestic violence, breaches human rights and is an extreme form of gender-based discrimination. However, violence against women and domestic violence are pervasive throughout the European Union (EU). While the full scale of the problem is not known due to a lack of data, the results of the most comprehensive survey on violence against women at EU level to date, published by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in 2014, provide an indication ...

More than two decades after the United Nations General Assembly adopted its Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) to enhance recognition of their role and encourage states to create a more protective environment, many human rights defenders face an increasingly hostile environment, with both repressive governments and some non-state actors, such as economic interest or criminal groups, opposing their work and posing a serious threat. Support for human rights defenders is a long established ...

LGBTI conversion 'therapies' are practices that can be defined as 'any treatment aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation or gender identity'. Ways to implement them include psychotherapy, medication, electroshock therapy, aversive treatments and exorcism. An alternative term used to describe these practices is sexual orientation and gender identity-expression change efforts (SOGIECE). They can bring about suicidal thoughts but also permanent physical harm, suicide attempts, depression, anxiety ...

Throughout his life, John Hume (1937-2020) sought to improve the circumstances of the people of Northern Ireland, beginning in his home city of Derry (Londonderry to its unionist residents). Born just a decade and a half after partition, and in a city whose hinterland had been divided by the border, he naturally wished for the unification of Ireland. But he saw that that could not be achieved without realistic plans, nor without a partnership between the two major communities in Northern Ireland, ...

Despite a 'bourgeois' family background, which was a disqualification in communist-led Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel rapidly became an internationally acclaimed playwright. However, his unequivocally proclaimed ethical principles soon put him at odds with the communist regime, resulting in several prison sentences. Havel nevertheless held fast to his belief that moral integrity was a question of necessity, not choice, and attempted to live up to this ideal. The 1989 collapse of the regime made Havel ...

After a period of relative freedom in the 1990s allowed the emergence of civic activism in Russia, repression has now come full circle. Under Vladimir Putin's power vertical, space for independent voices has narrowed. Like the political opposition and the media, civil society is now increasingly subordinate to the state. Repressive legislation has gradually circumscribed the activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). As part of a more general drive to exclude external influences after a ...

Some five years after the conclusion of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the political, economic, health and general situation in the country remains fragile, with a divided society, drugs-fuelled conflicts and weak governance. 2022 will be a key electoral year, while economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic remains a challenge. The President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, is set to address the European Parliament ...

Plenary round-up – December 2021

Auf einen Blick 17-12-2021

Due to the deteriorating Covid 19 situation, Members were again able to choose to vote remotely during the December plenary session in Strasbourg. Parliament nevertheless held a joint debate on the preparation of the European Council meeting of 16 17 December 2021 and the EU's response to the global resurgence of Covid 19 and new emerging variants. Members debated statements by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Josep Borrell ...

Respect for fundamental freedoms is a core value of the EU, which it promotes through its external policy. The European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize honours the work of human rights defenders. With human rights under attack in many parts of the world, the Prize remains as relevant as ever. This year it is awarded to Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny, whose brave refusal to be silenced recalls the work of Soviet-era dissidents such as Andrey Sakharov. The Sakharov Prize will be presented at ...

Over the summer and autumn of 2021, in what is increasingly viewed as a hybrid warfare tactic aimed at destabilising Europe, Aliaksandr Lukashenka's Belarussian regime has instrumentalised migrants, manipulating the organisation of flights from the Middle East to Minsk and deliberately orchestrating migrants' onward travel to the EU-Belarus border. With weather conditions endangering migrants' lives, the situation has also led to serious humanitarian consequences. This activity – which many argue ...