(27/07/2017). The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published today the response of the Ukrainian authorities to the report on the Committee’s November 2016 ad hoc visit, in which the CPT had made recommendations on police ill-treatment, ongoing prison reform and conditions of detention of remand and sentenced prisoners, including lifers.
The response has been made public under an automatic publication procedure introduced by the Ukrainian authorities in 2014. According to this procedure, all documents related to CPT visits shall be published automatically, unless the Ukrainian authorities submit within one month a request to postpone (for a period of up to six months) the publication of the document concerned.
In its latest annual report, published today, the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), has highlighted important shortcomings in a number of European countries related to the trafficking of children. The report shows that 4,361 children were identified as victims of trafficking in just 12 European countries between 2012 and 2015. Many others have failed to be detected and protected, due to gaps in the identification procedures, a failure to appoint legal guardians and the lack of appropriate and secure accommodation. GRETA’s report shows that, on average, children represent a third of the identified victims of human trafficking, but there are important variations between countries. Children are being trafficked transnationally, as well as internally, for different forms of exploitation including sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude, forced begging, forced criminal activities and forced marriage.GRETA is responsible for assessing countries’ compliance with the 2005 Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
GRETA highlights widespread problems with identifying child victims of trafficking and providing them with safe accommodation. Many children are not being given the support they are legally entitled to, says GRETA, and some are still being punished for crimes they are forced to commit. The report also underlines that unaccompanied and separated children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, but the authorities often have little or no information on the identification of victims of trafficking among such children.
Today’s annual report summarises GRETA’s monitoring work over the last year, which has particularly focused on trafficking in children. It also gives examples of many positive changes which the convention has helped to bring about, as well as good practices in the area of child trafficking.
The Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees (SRSG), Tomáš Boček publishes a Thematic Report on migrant and refugee children. The report, based on his on-the-ground experience gathered during the fact-finding missions in 2016*, calls for urgent measures to find alternatives to detention of children and guarantee minimum living conditions in camps, such as gender-separate sanitary facilities, better lighting and child-friendly spaces in order to eliminate risks of sexual abuse. The Special Representative also identified a real need to protect unaccompanied children and prevent disappearances. Other areas of concern include the lack of appropriate age-assessment measures, effective guardianship system for children and access to information and education. In the report, the SRSG calls for specialised linguistic support to refugee and migrant children to enhance their integration.
This Special Report is the outcome of an urgent monitoring round launched by the Lanzarote Committee to focus on how Parties to the Lanzarote Convention are protecting children affected by the refugee crisis from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. It covers the situation in the 41 States which were Parties to the Convention at the time the urgent submission for a report was called for by the Lanzarote Committee.
Human rights, democracy and security are threatened across the continent, according to the latest annual report from the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland. “Europe is currently struggling with many serious challenges, including terrorism, migration and conflict. This is being successfully exploited by nationalists and populists in many places, and trust in national and European institutions is dwindling,” said the Secretary General.
The Council of Europe’s expert body on trafficking in human beings, GRETA, has published today a report evaluating the anti-trafficking legislation, policy and practice of Kosovo. The project is aimed at better alignment of Kosovo legislation and policies with the standards of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
In its 5th General Report, published today, GRETA highlights widespread gaps in the identification and protection of victims of trafficking among asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. GRETA expresses concern that significant numbers of unaccompanied minors – including child victims of trafficking – go missing shortly after being placed in reception centres, which exposes them to further risks of trafficking and exploitation. GRETA has urged 36 out of 40 European countries evaluated so far to improve the identification of child victims of human trafficking – and the assistance and support which is given to them – in line with their legal obligations under the Council of Europe’s anti-trafficking convention. “Children and young people arriving on our shores are particularly vulnerable to being exploited by traffickers – especially when they are travelling alone or have been separated from their families,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, confirming the findings shared with the Heads of governments in his document “Protecting children affected by the refugee crisis: a shared responsibility”. “Today’s report underlines that many of our member states need to develop better procedures for identifying child victims of trafficking and to improve the support they are given, as well as taking steps to stop children disappearing from reception centres,” he stated. GRETA President Nicolas Le Coz said: “People attempting to reach Europe are easy prey for traffickers, especially as they often face barriers to getting help. States’ legal obligations of identification and protection are a bulwark against the trafficking and exploitation of human beings and a weapon against traffickers.” http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/trafficking/Docs/Gen_Report/GRETA_2016_1_Web_en.pdf
The protracted inability of European countries to shed light on the fate and whereabouts of tens of thousands of persons who are missing or disappeared following conflicts or dictatorships across the continent is an open wound for their relatives and constitutes a serious human rights violation. It is high time to close the shameful gap between what families need and what states do” said Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing an Issue Paper on missing persons and victims of enforced disappearance in Europe. The Commissioner proposes nine sets of recommendations intended to help states improve their legislation and practice. In particular, he recommends: providing direct victims and their families with adequate reparation, including the necessary legal, social and psychological support; enhancing the processes of exhumation and identification; training public officials on missing persons and enforced disappearance; supporting missing person mechanisms and truth-seeking initiatives; ensuring effective access to information and archives; strengthening domestic legislation in this field; carrying out effective investigations and eradicating impunity; and promoting and implementing relevant international and European standards.
The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has published today its second evaluation report on the Slovak Republic. The report notes the progress made by the Slovak Republic over the last four years in implementing the Council of Europe’s Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, following
the publication of GRETA’s first evaluation report in September 2011. Positive developments include a new procedure for the formal identification of victims of trafficking in human beings, which enables them to have access to state-funded assistance. Progress has also been noted as regards the collection of data related to human trafficking. However, GRETA urges the Slovak authorities to improve the identification and assistance of child victims of trafficking. In particular,
GRETA calls upon the authorities to address the problem of disappearance of unaccompanied minors from child care facilities and to provide them with legal guardians in a timely manner.
In several country visits and reports, conference presentations and media interventions over the period in review, I focused on shortcomings in investigative processes. A related, but distinct area of work involved examining human rights in the judiciary and the important role of judicial review and judicial oversight in various areas affecting human rights. In the period under review, I addressed these issues in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Northern Ireland, Russia and Ukraine. The role of judicial oversight was also an important component of an Issue Paper I published entitled “The rule of law on the Internet and in the wider digital world.”