Human rights, democracy and security are threatened across Europe, according to the latest annual report from Thorbjørn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
In his report State of democracy, human rights and the rule of law the Secretary General exposes Europe’s democratic shortcomings. He points out that basic human rights including free speech, freedom of assembly and the right to privacy are increasingly being restricted by member states.
Judicial independence and impartiality
A significant focus is the independence and impartiality of justice systems in Europe. Jagland notes that some states initiate laws which possibly contravene international standards, particularly in relation to the treatment of migrants and refugees. Therefore, he presents an action plan on strengthening judicial independence and impartiality (pdf).
Another problem highlighted in this report is the decline in media freedom in several member states. Almost half of the 47 member states do not sufficiently guarantee the safety of journalists. More information about media freedom is available on the Council of Europe’s Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists.
Additionally, the report contains several recommendations concerning integration, proposes common standards for member states on the blocking and filtering of internet sites, and offers good practices relating to mass surveillance.