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​Updated Hate Speech related case law of the European Court of Human Rights (February 2018) available on the OPRE  online library.

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EU ministers approve plan to suppress hate on the Internet

Reuters reports that ministers of the EU Member States approved a plan on 23 May 2017 in Brussels which is meant to force the Facebook, Google and Twitter companies to more effectively eliminate hateful videos posted to their Internet platforms, the first legislative arrangements about such questions at EU level. Firms operating social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will have to take steps to eliminate videos that defend terrorism and engage in hate speech.

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OPRE joint statement on evictions of Roma and Travellers in Europe

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) join the Council of Europe, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the European Network of European National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) and the European Network of Equality Bodies (Equinet) in a statement to condemn the recent evictions of Roma and Travellers in Europe.

Throughout Europe, Roma and Travellers – particularly those living in informal settlements, slums or halting sites – face a disproportionately high threat of eviction. Signatories call on national, regional and, in particular, local authorities to find sustainable solutions to the housing problems that many Roma and Travellers face, in order to avoid evictions.

OPRE[1] partners strongly condemn forced evictions without due process and provisions of adequate alternative housing. Such evictions violate international human rights obligations. The authorities must ensure that everyone subject to eviction is adequately informed of their rights, and carry out necessary evictions without discrimination or harassment.

The statement highlights the long-term negative implications of eviction that can result in physical and psychological problems, including emotional trauma and lasting social isolation, which particularly affects elderly people, women, children, and people with disabilities. 

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in letters addressed in February 2016 to the authorities of seven member States, also stressed that “this situation increases the vulnerability of Roma families, prevents their social inclusion and impedes any prospect of regular schooling for their children”.

[1] The establishment of the OPRE platform is the result of the joint conference of the Council of Europe, the European Network of Equality Bodies (Equinet), the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which took place in October 2013 in Vienna. The conference set the scene for closer cooperation among national bodies and between national and international bodies. It was agreed to establish such platforms for collaboration on pressing topics such as asylum and migration, Roma integration, combating hate crime, and advancing social and economic rights and socio-economic equality.


Related documents

Read more at: Joint OPRE Statement on evictions of Roma and Travellers in Europe

People's Advocate: Tirana River rehabilitation to leave 70 Roma families homeless

The People's Advocate expressed their concern yesterday for the 70 Roma families whose houses are affected by Tirana River rehabilitation project. The People's Advocate said that these families have been asked to abandon their homes within the next five days and given no other sheltering alternatives. The People's Advocate said that the dislocation of the Roma families is being carried out without a normal legal process and their rights are being violated. In a reaction, Tirana Municipality said that they are rehabilitating the river to prevent floods in the future, and that the Roma families affected by the project would be sheltered in the transit centre of emergencies in Tufina. (Shqip, p. 10, Albanian Daily News, p. 9)

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Balkans Told to Stop Forcible Evicting Roma

19/02/2016 - Balkan Insight - / International

The Council of Europe has told Albania, Serbia and Bulgaria not to forcibly evict Roma families from camps without offering adequate alternative shelter first. The Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks has three Balkan governments for evicting Roma families from camps while not offering them any alternative accommodation.

He has criticized seven of the 47 members of the organization for forcible evictions of Roma and Egyptian communities over the last few years, urging them to respect their commitments to human rights.

Muiznieks sent letters to three Balkan countries, Albania, Bulgaria and Serbia, along with France, Hungary, Italy and Sweden.

The letter sent to Albania's Minister for Urban Development, Eglantina Gjermeni, complains about the eviction of about 48 Roma families from a site near the lake in Tirana city park on October 2015.

BIRN learned at that time that the Tirana authorities knew most of the Roma families had nowhere else to go but still transported them to other municipalities, claiming that they had residence registration in other towns, which should take care of them.

Some of the evicted families lingered homelessly around their former camp for weeks. BIRN witnessed another occasion when police stopped them from erecting new shacks.

"I have received and been concerned at reports of forced evictions of Roma and Egyptians in Albania, especially after the enactment in 2014 of the Law on Legalisation, Urbanisation and Integration of Illegal Constructions," the letter published in the CoE Website reads.

"I urge you to take all necessary measures to put an end to the evictions of Roma and Egyptians without provision of adequate alternative accommodation," it adds.

The letter to Gjermeni went apparently unanswered.

The letter sent to Serbia went to Zorana Mihajlovic, the Deputy Prime Minister. While praising Serbia's new legislation on housing, which contains provisions about forced evictions, Muižnieks urged Serbia to ensure that "no further evictions of Roma are carried out without provisions of adequate alternative accommodation".

The Belgrade government answered by saying that it had set in place new procedures for such evictions, including adequate relocation, legal protection and free legal aid.

The letter sent to Bulgaria went to the Prime Minister, Boyko Borissov.  

In it, the commissioner said he had "received numerous reports of evictions of Roma families in different localities in Bulgaria, including Garmen and Varna, which are of serious concerns to me.

"In particular, I am informed that over 400 persons have been left homeless as result of forced evictions and the demolition of houses which took place in Varna in August 2015," the letter reads.

"I should like to request you to provide me with information on measures the Bulgarian authorities intend to take to prevent future forced evictions and to provide those evicted with adequate alternatives and effective remedies," the letter to Bulgaria adds. The Bulgarian authorities do not appear to have answered the letter.

Muiznieks says such evictions "are often carried out without prior consultation with the families concerned and at very short notice, while adequate alternative accommodation is often not provided.

"This situation increases the vulnerability of Roma families, prevents their social inclusion and impedes any prospect of regular schooling for their children. Member states have to abide by their human rights obligations, by stopping such measures and investing more in finding durable housing solutions for Roma families."


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France: le Conseil de l'Europe s'inquiète des évacuations de Roms sans relogement
16/02/2016 - AFP - Le Monde - Libération - Le Figaro / France

Le commissaire aux droits de l'Homme du Conseil de l'Europe s'inquiète des évacuations forcées de Roms, non assorties de solutions de relogement, et du "climat d'antitsiganisme" qui règnerait en France, dans un courrier adressé au ministre de l'Intérieur Bernard Cazeneuve. Dans cette lettre dont l'AFP a eu copie, Nils Muiznieks déplore que sur les 111 évacuations forcées de Roms effectuées en 2015 en France, seules 29 aient donné lieu à des propositions de relogement.

Il constate que ces évacuations forcées "interrompent les parcours scolaires des enfants Roms, compromettent le suivi médical et fragilisent le maintien dans l'emploi".

Le commissaire fait également part de son inquiétude devant "le climat d'antitsiganisme qui existe de longue date en France et dans lequel ces opérations sont menées".

M. Muiznieks a adressé des courriers similaires à six autres gouvernements européens, ceux de l'Albanie, de la Bulgarie, de la Hongrie, de l'Italie, de la Serbie et de la Suède.

Dans sa réponse, Bernard Cazeneuve souligne que ces expulsions "visent à faire respecter le droit de propriété, mais aussi à protéger les occupants de risques liés à leur santé, à leur sécurité, ou à d'autres périls que peut engendrer l'économie de la misère".

Tout en reconnaissant que dans des "situations d'urgence", les solutions proposées peuvent "relever davantage du court terme", il rappelle que la circulaire qui définit le cadre de ces expulsions prévoit qu'"un diagnostic précède chaque évacuation".

Le ministre de l'Intérieur précise également que lors de l'évacuation début février d'un important campement de Roms installé dans le nord de Paris, "170 hébergements ont été proposés et seuls 80 ont été acceptés".

Deux jours après l'évacuation de ce bidonville parisien qui avait compté jusqu'à 400 occupants, une centaine de Roms qui s'était installée sur un terrain militaire à Epinay-sur-Seine (Seine-Saint-Denis) avait à nouveau été expulsée.

Selon un rapport de la Ligue des droits de l'Homme et de l'European Roma Rights Center, plus de 11.000 Roms ont été évacués de leurs campements en France en 2015.

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El comisario de DDHH pide a Francia cesar la expulsión sin realojo de gitanos
16/02/2016 - EFE - La Vanguardia - El Confidencial - Notícias ao Minuto / Spain

El comisario de Derechos Humanos del Consejo de Europa, Nils Muiznieks, pidió hoy a Francia que cese los desalojos de campamentos de familias gitanas sin ofrecerles una solución de realojo.

"Muchos gitanos continúan siendo objeto de formas graves de discriminación y de violaciones de derechos humanos por parte de las autoridades nacionales o locales", dice el escrito dirigido al ministro francés de Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve.

En su carta, fechada el pasado 26 de enero, hace referencia a las "evacuaciones forzadas" y lamenta que, "a menudo, las autoridades proceden a las expulsiones en un plazo de tiempo muy breve sin consultar a las familias afectadas".

El comisario advierte de que la falta de una alternativa de vivienda adaptada aumenta la vulnerabilidad de las familias desalojadas e impide su integración social y la escolarización de los niños.

Según su carta, los Estados "deben cesar de tomar tales medidas y emplearse más en encontrar soluciones de realojo duraderas para las familias gitanas".

En su respuesta, Cazeneuve asegura que los desalojos son "acciones concretas" que se inscriben en el marco legal, por decisiones judiciales o administrativas, y califica de "inexacto" tildarlos de expulsiones forzadas y en masa.

Los desalojos, añade el ministro, tienen como objeto respetar el derecho a la propiedad y proteger a sus ocupantes de "riesgos ligados a su salud, a su seguridad o a otros peligros que pueda engendrar la economía de la miseria".

Cazeneuve cifra en 12 millones de euros el presupuesto que Francia ha invertido en los últimos tres años en acciones específicas de apoyo para la reducción de los campamentos de gitanos, en su mayoría procedentes de Rumanía y Bulgaria.

Y añade que, en algunos casos, se propusieron 170 realojos en un campamento desalojado y sólo se aceptaron 80.

Un informe del pasado enero de la Liga de Derechos Humanos y del Centro europeo para los derechos de los gitanos (ERRC en sus siglas inglesas) afirma que más de 11.000 gitanos fueron desalojados de sus campamentos en Francia durante 2015.

Aparte de ese país, el comisario de Derechos Humanos ha enviado escritos similares a las autoridades de Italia, Suecia, Hungría, Serbia, Bulgaria y Albania.

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França solicitada a acabar com desalojamentos famílias ciganas dos acampamentos
16/02/2016 - Agência Lusa / Portugal

O comissário de Direitos Humanos do Conselho da Europa, Nils Muiznieks, pediu na segunda-feira à França que acabe com os desalojamentos das famílias ciganas dos seus acampamentos sem lhes oferecer uma solução de realojamento.

"Muitos ciganos continuam a ser objeto de formas graves de discriminação e violações de direitos humanos por parte das autoridades nacionais ou locais", afirmou em carta dirigida ao ministro do Interior francês, Bernard Cazeneuve.

No seu texto, datado de 26 de janeiro, Muiznieks fez referência às "evacuações forçadas" e lamentou que, "com frequência, as autoridades realizam expulsões num prazo de tempo muito curto e sem consultar as famílias envolvidas".

O comissário advertiu que a falta de uma alternativa de habitação adaptada aumenta a vulnerabilidade das famílias desalojadas e impede a sua integração social e a escolarização das crianças.

Segundo o seu texto, os Estados "devem parar de tomar tais medidas e dedicar-se mais a encontrar soluções de realojamento duradoiras para as famílias ciganas".

Na sua resposta, Cazeneuve assegurou que os desalojamentos são "ações concretas", que se inscrevem no quadro legal, por decisões judiciais ou administrativas, e considerou "inexato" classificá-las como expulsões forçadas ou em massa.

Os desalojamentos, acrescentou o ministro, tem como objetivo fazer respeitar o direito à propriedade e proteger os seus ocupantes de "riscos ligados à sua saúde e segurança ou outros perigos que possa causar a economia da miséria".

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Consiglio d'Europa critica Italia per gli sgomberi campi Rom
16/02/2016 - ANSA / Italy

L'Italia non rispetta l'impegno di assicurare a Rom, Sinti e Caminanti un alloggio adeguato e sgombera famiglie a cui spesso non da altra scelta che quella di divenire senzatetto o di andare a stare nei villaggi attrezzati.

La critica viene dal commissario per i diritti umani del Consiglio d'Europa, Nils Muiznieks, che preoccupato per queste comunità ha scritto al Primo ministro Matteo Renzi lo scorso 26 gennaio, chiedendogli informazioni sulle misure che verranno prese per rimediare alla situazione.

Lo stesso giorno Muiznieks ha inviato una lettera ad altri 6 paesi membri del Consiglio d'Europa, Albania, Bulgaria, Francia, Ungheria, Serbia e Svezia. "Sono seriamene preoccupato per i ripetuti sgomberi delle famiglie Rom, in particolare a Roma e Milano, condotti in molti casi senza una previa notifica formale o sufficiente preavviso e soprattutto senza consultare le persone coinvolte" scrive il commissario a Renzi.

Miuznieks dice di essere "particolarmente turbato dall'aumento del numero di sgomberi a Roma", 64 dal marzo 2015, e per quelli pianificati a Milano nei primi mesi del 2016.

Sottolinea poi di aver ricevuto rapporti di famiglie che dopo lo sgombero si sono ritrovate senzatetto o hanno dovuto trasferirsi nei villaggi attrezzati, che essendo secondo il commissario, luoghi di "segregazione, non devono essere considerati come delle alternative adeguate".

Muiznieks ricorda che l'Italia non ha solo obblighi internazionali da rispettare, e per cui è stata trovata inadempiente nel 2005 e 2010 dal Comitato europeo per i diritti sociali, ma anche impegni che il governo ha assunto nel febbraio 2012 con la strategia nazionale per l'inclusione di Rom, Sinti e Caminanti. Il commissario è "preoccupato per la mancanza di risorse allocate alla strategia nazionale", e chiede a Renzi di "fornirgli informazioni" sulle misure che verranno adottate per offrire "alternative di alloggio in contesti genuinamente integrati alle famiglie coinvolte negli sgomberi".

A rispondere alla lettera di Miuznieks è stato il 10 gennaio il sottosegretario agli Affari Esteri, Benedetto Della Vedova. Sulla strategia nazionale, Della Vedova scrive che "limiti di bilancio dovuti alla crisi economica e al Patto di stabilità hanno impattato sulla disponibilità di risorse finanziarie adeguate" ma che "il governo italiano è fortemente impegnato a implementare tutti gli impegni e le azioni contenuti nella strategia".

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'Önkényes kilakoltatás' – Orbánékra is rádörögtek Strasbourgból
16/02/2016 - HVG / Hungary

Hét ország, köztük öt EU-tagállam kormányait kereste meg levélben az Európa Tanács emberi jogi biztosa. Az Orbán-kormánynak is elküldött levélben arra sürgette az érintett országokat, tegyenek a romák diszkriminációja ellen. Arra hívta fel a figyelmet, hogy önkényesen zajlik a romák kilakoltatása.

A romákkal szembeni diszkrimináció ellen emelt szót az Európa Tanács emberi jogi biztosa.

Kedden közzétett nyilatkozatában Nils Muiznieks annak a nézetnek adott hangot, hogy a roma népcsoport több európai országban is diszkrimináció áldozata. A biztos irodája által nyilvánosságra hozott állásfoglalás példaként említette, hogy egyes európai országokban a hivatalos hatóságok országos vagy helyi szinten megsértik a romák alapvető emberi jogait.

A hírügynökségek által ismertetett nyilatkozat szerint a biztos ezzel kapcsolatban levelet intézett Albánia, Bulgária, Franciaország, Olaszország, Szerbia, Svédország és Magyarország kormányaihoz. A levélben a többi között arra hívta fel a figyelmet, hogy önkényesen zajlik a romák kilakoltatása, ami az érintettek ellehetetlenüléséhez vezet. Ez pedig megnehezíti szociális integrációjukat, továbbá megakadályozza a roma gyermekek iskolai oktatását.

A biztos arra szólította fel az említett országokat, hogy tegyenek eleget az emberi jogok biztosításával kapcsolatos kötelezettségeiknek.

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European countries must stop forced evictions of Roma

Strasbourg 16/02/2016

"Many Roma continue to face serious forms of discrimination and human rights violations by authorities at both national and local levels. In particular, forced evictions without due process and provision of adequate alternative housing continue unabated across Europe, in violation of member states' international human rights obligations" said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing the letters he sent to the governments of Albania, Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Italy, Serbia and Sweden.

"Evictions are often carried out without prior consultation with the families concerned and at very short notice, while adequate alternative accommodation is often not provided. This situation increases the vulnerability of Roma families, prevents their social inclusion and impedes any prospect of regular schooling for their children. Member states have to abide by their human rights obligations, by stopping such measures and investing more in finding durable housing solutions for Roma families."

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The Council of Europe published a Handbook for Lawyers Defending Roma and Travellers  Ensuring Access to Rights for Roma and Travellers – The Role of the European Court of Human Rights by Marc Willers QC today. The handbook intended to familiarise those providing legal assistance to NGOs, in particular to Roma and Traveller communities with the European Convention on of Human Rights and the workings of the European Court of Human Rights. If properly understood and employed, the Convention and the Court can turn into two dynamic tools for the assertion of minority rights and their protection against prejudice and the abuse of power. 
This publication unfolds in four sections – starting with a practical and a theoretical approach towards the Convention and the implementation mechanism entrusted to the Court. The last two sections contain an analysis of relevant case-law concerning Roma, with an explanation of the specific Convention Articles mentioned and their reference to the everyday situation of Roma in the Contracting States, and finally a moot trial exercise on the well-known pattern of similar assignments, including feedback and an evaluation of frequently asked questions.
This handbook should primarily be seen as an organic introduction to human rights law. If it serves to whet the appetite of those who work for and with disadvantaged minorities to delve deeper into the case-law, the doctrine of human rights and the fuller textbooks (excellent ones do exist), it will have served its purpose.
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The Greek National Commmission for Human Rights (GNCHR)expresses its views on the Bill which inter alia establishes the National Council against Racism and Intolerance (now Law 4356/2015, OJHR 181/A/24.12.2015)

  • Παρατηρήσεις για το Σ/Ν « Σύμφωνο Συμβίωσης και άλλες διατάξεις » – Observations on the Bill "Civil partnership and other provisions" (December 2015, in Greek)

See online library of the OPRE website under "Greece" to access the document.

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Roma gypsies most negatively perceived European minority group, survey finds.

YouGov poll was conducted in June of this year The Roma and Gypsy communities are regarded the most negatively by northern Europeans, a study has found.

The YouGov poll also found 40 per cent of the French had a negative impression of Muslims - the same as the UK. Only the Danes and Finish populations polled at higher levels (45 per cent).

Overall, Jewish communities were the least negatively perceived, with LGBT groups polling just above.

Overall, the Finnish and Danes were found to have the most negative impressions of minority groups, in particular the Roma or Gypsy people. 

Germans were found to hold the least negative views about minority groups in Europe.

However, the survey's sampled only 7,230  people in total. 1667 British adults, 1016 German adults, 1004 French adults, 1009 Danish adults, 1010 Swedish adults, 970 Finnish adults and 554 Norwegian adults responded to the study.

Read more at: The Roma and Gypsy communities are regarded the most negatively by northern Europeans


[reaction to posters in Stockhom metro by Michael Guet, SRSG Roma Support Team]

Paradoxically, this was on 2 August, International Commemoration Day of Roma victims of the Nazi regime during WWII, that anti-Roma posters of Sweden Democrat Party were introduced in the metro of Stockholm with the even more surprising back-up from the Stockholm Public Transport. Whilst primarily targeting tourists visiting Stockholm during the summer, these posters written in English, which read among others as "Sweden should do better than this" or "Sorry about the mess in Sweden, we have a serious problem with forced begging", clearly incite racial hatred against one particular ethnic group, the Roma who are pictured in a very negative and stereotyped way. Not only these posters are extremely controversial and provocative but they misinform the public. In its recent report "The life of Roma in Europe – a review of discrimination, aggressions, intimidations, evictions, deportations, hate speech but also positive governmental measures developed by CoE member States over the period June-July 2015", the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), an independent NGO that has a partnership agreement with the Council of Europe, quotes the conclusions of a report from Fafo, a Scandinavian social research foundation, that there are no evidence that Roma present in Denmark, Norway and Sweden are being trafficked or forced to beg (the ERTF review can be download at

It is unfortunate that this type of blunt demonstration of anti-Gypsyism appears in Sweden which published a year ago a White Paper on abuses and rights violations of Roma in Sweden during the 1900s ( and in a country which has been at the forefront of Council of Europe member States in fighting racism against Roma being the first to establish a Governmental Commission against anti-Gypsyism or for promoting this matter within the intergovernmental work of the Council of Europe on Roma issues (see e.g. the CAHROM thematic report on combatting anti-Gypsyism, hate speech and hate crime against Roma at We can be satisfied that a part of the Swedish society does not fall into the trap of anti-Roma propaganda having in mind the protest of a thousand of people in Norrmalmstorg square against these posters, the reaction of some political and religious leaders, and the approximate 80 formal complaints for incitement to racial hatred already filed with the Swedish Ministry of Justice, the Parliamentary Ombudsman or the Advertising Ombudsman. We should however expect from Sweden to do more and better so as not to leave public space to anti-Roma populist propaganda. Sweden could for example decide to join and actively implement the Council of Europe Dosta! campaign against prejudice and stereotypes against Roma which was already launched in 17 Council of Europe member States and Kosovo* (www.dosta/org). This campaign also aims at promoting a more balanced and positive image of Roma, referring e.g. to Roma success integration stories, and at promoting a better knowledge of Romani culture and history (Council of Europe Roma history factsheets are available in Swedish at ). Roma have shown over their longstanding historical presence in Europe that they can contribute to European societies when they are being given a chance to do so.

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The Support Team of the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Roma issues rejects without reservation comments made earlier this month by Lega Nord MEP Gianluca Buonanno, during the Italian TV show Piazza pulita broadcasted on La7.He indulged in hate speech against Roma and their representative during the program, Dijana Pavlovic, President of the Roma and Sinti Federation and National Project Officer for ROMED/ROMACT, Joint Projects of the European Commission and the Council of Europe. Statements that he made including “Gypsies are the dregs of the society” hardly contribute to fostering useful dialogue in addressing Roma issues

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Expires: 10/05/2015

​In reaction to Lega Nord MEP Gianluca Buonanno’s hate speech against Roma, UNAR has opened an inquiry asking the TV network director for an explanation on the facts, involving the association dealing with ethics and media (Rome Charter) and, finally, by sending a letter on the matter to the public prosecutor.

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