Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 33 n° 244

Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

European values: COVID-19 emergency measures pose a “risk of abuse of power”

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 30 ottobre 2020

On Tuesday, the Civil Liberties Committee approved a draft resolution that takes stock of the state of European values in the context of national measures taken to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, with 50 votes to 11 and 3 abstentions.MEPs concluded that national emergency measures pose a “risk of abuse of power” and stressed that any measure affecting democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental rights must be necessary, proportional and time-limited. They call on governments to consider terminating their “state of emergency” or at least to clearly define the delegation of powers to their executives, and to ensure that appropriate parliamentary and judicial checks and balances are in place.MEPs urge the Commission to conduct an evaluation of “first wave” measures, in addition to the initial comments included in its first annual rule of law report, and emphasise the need for a permanent, effective monitoring mechanism.EU countries have to “exercise utmost restraint” when restricting the freedom of movement (especially in relation to the right to family life), while the Commission should scrutinise the application of Schengen rules.MEPs warn against undue restrictions to the freedom of assembly and changes in legislation while citizens are unable to protest. In this context, the need to guarantee free and fair elections becomes even more important, especially with regards to implementing changes to electoral legislation, ensuring equal rights in campaigning, and alternative forms of voting. Disinformation threatens citizens’ health and their trust in public institutions, and has also been used as a pretext to restrict freedom of expression. The best way to tackle this, MEPs say, is by supporting independent journalism and media pluralism (including through transparent allocation of funds to media) as well as by improving journalists’ working conditions.Member states should guarantee the right to education by ensuring that classes continue and students have access to them. Furthermore, they should find solutions through technology or judicial cooperation to safeguard the rights of defendants, and to protect the rights of all persons in their prisons.MEPs finally warn that disinformation stigmatises migrants and has increased discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and hate speech against persons with disabilities, asylum seekers and refugees, people of Romani heritage and LGBTI+ persons. Parliament is scheduled to vote on this resolution during the 11-13 November plenary session.

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EU countries must step up fight against sexual abuse of children, say MEPs

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 16 dicembre 2017

european parliamentTake measures against new forms of online crime, such as revenge porn and sexual extortion. Strengthen police and judicial cooperation to protect migrant children. EU member states must work more closely with each other and with Europol and the IT industry to fight sexual abuse and exploitation of children, said Parliament on Thursday.MEPs approved a non-legislative resolution assessing the implementation of the 2011 EU directive on combating sexual abuse of children. The text, drafted by Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP, SE), was passed by 597 votes to 6, with 20 abstentions. Web pages containing child sexual abuse material must be quickly removed and, when this is not possible, member states should block access to those pages for users within their territory, MEPs say.
National authorities should enhance cooperation with the IT industry, as well as with third countries and Interpol, to speed up notifying and take-down procedures, in the cases where illegal content is made available from abroad, the text adds. It suggests drawing up blacklists of web sites containing child sexual material, to be shared among member states and with Europol and Interpol, and communicated to internet providers. Adequate financial and human resources, reinforced cross-border information exchange and updated digital investigative techniques are key to protecting children against sexual abuse and exploitation, they insist. MEPs worry about the threats and risks to which children are exposed online, particularly recruitment. They also demand specific measures to combat new forms of crime online, such as revenge porn and sexual extortion. Member states that have yet to do so, should criminalise online grooming, cyber stalking and luring children online, they add. MEPs highlight the special vulnerability of migrant children to abuse, trafficking and sexual exploitation and call for stronger police and judicial cooperation, and rapid exchange of information, to trace missing children. The resolution urges member states to introduce mandatory criminal background checks for persons applying or volunteering for activities or jobs with access to children, and to “systematically exchange information on individuals posing a risk to children”. MEPs want to prevent sex offenders moving unnoticed from one member state to another to work with minors.
Parliament notes that most cases of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children are not reported and calls on member states to develop or reinforce child helplines, which should be free, confidential and available round the clock, to provide help and support for victims and ensure their fundamental right to be heard. Finally, MEPs urge member states to ensure that victims receive legal aid, psychological support and assistance. Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP, SE), rapporteur, said: “”Member states must do more, better and faster to ensure zero tolerance against child sexual abuse online and offline. The focus should be on removing illegal material at source and blocking when this is not possible, with faster procedures and safeguards. We also urge the internet industry to take their share of responsibility for working out innovative solutions to protect children”.

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MEPs back new EU travel document to ease return of irregular non-EU residents

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 31 maggio 2016

Commissione-europeaThe Commission’s proposal for a standard EU travel document, to speed up the process of returning non-EU nationals who stay “irregularly” in EU member states without valid passports or identity cards, was endorsed by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Monday. Members highlight that many EU countries are currently facing serious difficulties in returning these residents to their home countries in a safe and lawful way.The text, drafted by Jussi Halla-aho (ECR, FI) and approved by 39 votes to 9, with 2 abstentions, points out that the destination countries’ acceptance of the substitute documents used by member states today is low, for reasons that include inadequate security details and varying formats. The lack of valid travel documents issued by some third countries is also a major obstacle to a successful return process, say MEPs.”The low enforcement-rate of return decisions is detrimental to the credibility and legitimacy of the European asylum and immigration policy in the eyes of our citizens, and it also encourages abuse of the asylum system. While the common European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals is no magic solution, it is one small piece in the puzzle and one step in the right direction”, said Mr Halla-aho.
The proposal would produce a common format for the European travel document. Its new technical details would also include personal information such as name, age, gender and distinguishing marks as well as a passport photograph, in order to combat counterfeiting and falsification.By using the same security features laid down in 2002 for visas issued by EU countries to residents without valid travel documents, the document’s recognition should be enhanced and the administrative burdens reduced for both EU and destination countries’ authorities, according to the proposal. Finally, MEPs call on the EU and member states to promote the use of this harmonised document in the context of readmission agreements reached with third countries. The new Regulation would have to be agreed with the Council, using the ordinary legislative procedure, before it can enter into force.

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Protection gaps risk exposing children with disabilities to abuse

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 3 dicembre 2015

Boys and girls with disabilities are more likely to be victims of physical and sexual violence, and neglect, than those without disabilities. They are also more likely to be less well protected, as they can fall between the cracks of generic protection for children and for people with disabilities, finds the latest report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). There is therefore a need to target children with disabilities explicitly in national child protection systems, as well as in relevant policies and actions, so they are fully included into society, living a life free of violence.“We must protect children with disabilities more effectively against violence, abuse and bullying,” says FRA Director a.i. Constantinos Manolopoulos on the eve of the international day of persons with disabilities. “The EU and its Member States need to take steps to address this largely invisible issue. Children with disabilities need to be able to live without fear in a society where they are fully integrated.”The report ‘Violence against children with disabilities: legislation, policies and programmes in the European Union’ examines the forms, causes and settings of violence against children with disabilities and suggests steps to tackle it.
While official figures on the numbers of children with disabilities and the extent of the violence they suffer are not available, this report points to the vulnerabilities of such children resulting from social isolation, stigmatisation and their greater reliance on care and support.
The report also indicates where the EU and its Member States can best intervene to better protect children with disabilities:
An integrated approach to child protection: Child protection services should provide comprehensive support to children with disabilities and their families, taking into consideration all aspects of the child’s life.
Countering isolation and separation: Greater efforts are needed to ensure inclusive education, combat prejudice and build more inclusive societies.
Enhanced and coordinated support: Member States should ensure appropriate coordination mechanisms, such as a focal point, to bridge the work of different professionals. This includes professionals in areas such as healthcare, social services, education, the judiciary, and victim support services.
Promoting child-focused prevention and child participation: Member States should ensure that children with disabilities are represented, directly and through representative and family organisations, when designing, implementing and monitoring laws, policies, services and measures addressing violence.
The report also refers to examples of existing protection and prevention measures that address professionals, families or children with disabilities themselves.

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Roma discrimination: end illegal expulsions and ethnic profiling, MEPs say

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 14 dicembre 2013

DSCN0331EU countries must stop illegal expulsions of Roma people and end ethnic profiling, police abuse and human rights violations perpetrated against them, says Parliament in a non-binding resolution adopted on Thursday. It assesses member states’ strategies to boost Roma integration and calls for more funds to prevent discrimination and reach small community projects.The resolution condemns attempts by EU countries to unlawfully limit the right of Roma people to freedom of movement in the EU. With an estimated population of 10 to12 million in Europe (approximately 6 million living in the EU), Roma people are the biggest ethnic minority in Europe.The Commission and member states must ensure sufficient funding for Roma integration, from both national budgets and EU programmes such as the European Social Fund or the European Regional Development Fund. MEPs also suggest providing special grant schemes, such as flexible and small funds for community projects.The EU executive should continue assessing how member states spend EU funds earmarked for Roma integration and report its findings to Parliament and Council every year, MEPs suggest.

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Child sex crimes

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 14 luglio 2011

The draft directive sets out minimum penalties for about 20 criminal offences to do with sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and child pornography – far more than are usually provided for in EU legislation. The draft has been agreed with the Council of Ministers representatives, subject to Parliament’s plenary vote in September 2011. MEPs fought for tougher penalties across the EU, especially in cases of abuse by persons in a position of trust, authority or influence over the child (e.g. family members, guardians or teachers) or abuse of particularly vulnerable children (e.g. those with a physical or mental disability or under the influence of drugs or alcohol). Offenders could face penalties ranging from one to at least ten years in prison, depending on the crime (since the draft directive lays down only minimum penalties, Member States could impose harsher measures and sentencing). For instance, causing a child to witness sexual activities could be punishable by one year in prison, and coercing a child into sexual actions by ten. Attending pornographic performances involving children could by punishable by at least two years in prison, and forcing a child into prostitution by at least ten. Child pornography producers could face at least three years in prison, whilst those possessing it would face at least one year.
Parliament’s negotiating team have, from the outset, advocated complete removal of web pages containing or disseminating child pornography. These web pages must be removed, they say, as blocking access to them, as initially proposed by the Commission, has proved not to be entirely effective. Moreover, removal at source would be more reassuring for children, given that images to which access is merely blocked could still be somewhere in cyberspace, they add.
New forms of abuse and exploitation, such as on-line “grooming” (befriending children via the web with the intention of sexually abusing them) or making children pose sexually in front of web cameras, would be a crime. “Sex tourists” travelling abroad to abuse children would also face prosecution, under new rules on jurisdiction. The text introduces the concept of “child sex tourism” for the first time in EU legislation. Since some 20% of sex offenders go on to commit further offences after conviction, the text stipulates that convicted offenders “may be temporarily or permanently prevented from exercising at least professional activities involving direct and regular contacts with children”. MEPs have also strengthened rules on assisting, supporting and protecting victims, e.g. to ensure that they have easy access to legal remedies and suffer as little as possible from participating in criminal investigations and trials.
The agreement is to be put to the vote by Parliament as a whole at the September II plenary session and should be formally adopted by the Council of Ministers shortly thereafter. Once adopted, this directive will replace current EU legislation dating from 2004. Member States will have two years to transpose the new rules into their national laws. The UK and Ireland have notified their wish to take part in the adoption and application of this directive. Denmark is the only Member State not taking part.

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