Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 338

Posts Tagged ‘rights’

A Landmark in Human Rights and Social Responsibility

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 29 novembre 2020

The development of ISO 26000 was a standardization project of unusually large scope, representing an ambitious addition to a catalogue of standards addressing environmental management and sustainability. That journey began with ISO 14001, which further broadened the scope of ISO’s work from the industrial, technical and quality standards for which it’s best known. Wide participation was integral to the concept of developing a new International Standard that could be applied to almost every sector imaginable.The result was a specialized project committee that would draw on the combined knowledge and input of more than 500 global experts. Around 80 countries contributed, together with bodies like the International Organization of Employers and consumer groups. When it was published in November 2010, ISO 26000 set new firsts, both for consensus building in standardization, and a comprehensive set of guidelines that increased engagement and recognition of social responsibility.

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EU consumers will soon be able to defend their rights collectively

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 26 novembre 2020

The new rules introduce a harmonised model for representative action in all member states that guarantees consumers are well protected against mass harm, while ensuring appropriate safeguards to avoid abusive lawsuits. All member states must put in place at least one effective procedural mechanism that allows qualified entities (e.g. consumer organisations or public bodies) to bring lawsuits to court for the purpose of injunction (ceasing or prohibiting) or redress (compensation). This legislation aims to improve the functioning of the internal market by stopping illegal practices and facilitating access to justice for consumers.The European class action model will allow only qualified entities, such as consumer organisations, to represent groups of consumers and bring lawsuits to court, instead of law firms.In order to bring cross-border actions to court, qualified entities will have to comply with the same criteria across the EU. They will have to prove that they have a certain degree of stability and be able to demonstrate their public activity, and that they are a non-profit organisation. For domestic actions, entities will have to fulfil the criteria set out in national laws. The rules also introduce strong safeguards against abusive lawsuits by using the “loser pays principle”, which ensures that the defeated party pays the costs of the proceedings of the successful party.To further prevent representative actions from being misused, punitive damages should be avoided. Qualified entities should also establish procedures to avoid conflict of interest and external influence, namely if they are funded by a third party.Collective actions can be brought against traders if they have allegedly violated EU law in a broad range of areas such as data protection, travel and tourism, financial services, energy and telecommunication.Finally, the directive also covers infringements that have stopped before the representative action is brought or concluded, since the practice might still need to be banned to prevent it from recurring.The directive will enter into force 20 days following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Member states will then have 24 months to transpose the directive into their national laws, and an additional six months to apply it. The new rules will apply to representative actions brought on or after its date of application.

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EU-US visa reciprocity: the Commission must defend the rights of all EU citizens

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 22 ottobre 2020

MEPs call on the European Commission to take the measures foreseen in EU legislation to guarantee full visa reciprocity between the EU and the US.With 376 votes to 269 and 43 abstentions, the Chamber adopted on Thursday a resolution urging the Commission to present a legal act suspending the visa waiver for US nationals for twelve months, as established in the so-called reciprocity mechanism.Bulgarian, Croatian, Cypriot and Romanian nationals are still required to hold a visa to enter the US, while all other EU citizens are exempt from that requirement for short-stays (up to 90 days in any 180-day period), as are US nationals when they visit the European Union.According to EU legislation, if a third country does not lift visa requirements within 24 months of being formally notified of a situation of non-reciprocity, the EU Commission must adopt a legal act suspending the visa waiver for its nationals for 12 months. Both the European Parliament and Council could object to such an act (Article 290(2) of the Treaty).The situation of non-reciprocity affecting Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania was formally raised on 12 April 2014 (at the time, Poland was also affected, but since last year Polish citizens can travel to the US visa-free), so the deadline for the Commission to act expired on 12 April 2016.Parliament already asked the Commission to comply with the rules in a plenary resolution adopted in March 2017.

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COVID-19: the conditions in prisons pose a serious challenge to human rights

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 16 maggio 2020

The current virus outbreak cannot be used as an excuse to worsen the human rights situation in detention facilities around the world, said Parliament’s Human Rights Subcommittee on Monday.Members of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights held a debate on Monday with experts on how the pandemic is affecting people in places of detention, such as prisons, which are often seriously overcrowded, with low sanitary and poor hygiene standards in many countries across the world.Most MEPs and experts highlighted that the virus outbreak has in many cases led to prison authorities worldwide putting in place draconian measures, such as severely restricting visiting hours and quarantine schemes resembling indefinite solitary confinement. This has already caused deadly prison riots in many countries, and risks making living conditions even worse, in an environment already prone to violence and abuse.They called on both national and United Nations bodies to continue to strengthen their important oversight and monitoring work, to ensure that legal obligations and norms are upheld by the relevant penal authorities.Many MEPs also criticised prisoner release schemes being used in many places to address overcrowding, when these do not include political prisoners or prisoners of conscience, as is the case in many countries outside the EU. Members described this situation as unacceptable, given that the latter inmates pose less of a threat to the community than some of the other detainees being released.Some of the speakers finally stressed the need to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to reflect more broadly on penal system reforms and rethink, for example, which kinds of crimes actually merit lengthy jail sentences, how to devise alternatives to detention and formulate better policies as regards rehabilitation and reintegration into society.All guest speakers underlined the European Parliament’s crucial role as a watchdog when it comes to keeping all these issues high on the political agenda.

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Brexit: MEPs concerned about citizens’ rights

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 17 gennaio 2020

In a resolution adopted on Wednesday, MEPs take stock of citizens’ rights in the context of Brexit and highlight that their consent to the Withdrawal Agreement will take into account “experiences gained and assurances given” about their protection. Parliament expresses concerns especially about the application-based approach used in the UK EU Settlement Scheme, the absence of physical proof for successful applicants, and its accessibility, among other issues.MEPs question the set-up and independence of the UK’s “independent authority” foreseen in the Withdrawal Agreement, stating that they would welcome the establishment of a joint European Parliament – UK Parliament scrutiny mechanism.The adopted text calls for information campaigns to be launched to prepare citizens and urges governments in EU27 member states to adopt consistent and generous measures to provide legal certainty for UK citizens residing in their territory.The resolution was adopted with 610 votes in favour, 29 against and 68 abstentions following a debate on Tuesday that focussed largely on the future of freedom of movement and limiting the impact of Brexit on citizens’ lives.Video of statements by Nikolina Brnjac, representing the Croatian Presidency of the Council and by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the Commission.

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Pushback against multilateralism poses serious challenge to human rights

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 17 gennaio 2020

The European Parliament expresses its deep concern over the unremitting attacks on democracy and shrinking space for civil society worldwide, in a resolution adopted on Wednesday.In a resolution taking stock of the situation for human rights in the world, the European Parliament denounces the ongoing pushback against democracy, multilateralism and the rules-based international order that continues to pose a serious challenge to human rights.
With a particular focus on developments last year, MEPs highlight the rise of authoritarianism as a political project around the world and stress the link between the increase in human rights violations, widespread impunity and the lack of accountability in those regions and countries devastated by conflicts or characterised by politically motivated intimidation, discrimination and killings.
They call on the international community to support actions aimed at combating impunity and on the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell to appoint an EU Special Representative to promote, mainstream and represent the EU’s commitment in the field.
The text was adopted on Wednesday by 496 votes in favour, 113 against with 103 abstentions.Parliament is also deeply concerned that seats on various human rights-related bodies, including the UN Human Rights Council, are occupied by countries with a proven record of grave human rights violations.
The resolution calls on the European Commission and EU countries to adopt a new, ambitious and binding Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy for the next five years, addressing all challenges and involving the European Parliament, so that MEPs can properly monitor its implementation. For the EU, the central objective of advancing human rights and democracy around the world requires it to be mainstreamed in all EU policies that have an external dimension, says the text.
To increase the EU’s leverage, Parliament highlights that trade and human rights should reinforce one another, and that the business community has an important role to play in this regard. MEPs call on the European Commission and the European External Action Service to duly enforce human rights conditionality clauses in international agreements between EU and non-EU countries, and monitor serious human rights violations that might occur through, for example, business activity.The text also recalls that businesses have a responsibility to ensure that their operations and supply chains are not implicated in human rights abuses, such as forced and child labour. European companies should play a leading role in promoting international standards on business and human rights. MEPs therefore call for a legislative proposal on corporate human rights and due diligence to prevent abuses and enhance victims’ access to judicial remedy.The European Parliament also welcomes the initial exploratory discussions in the Council on a global EU human rights sanctions mechanism (the so-called Magnitsky list), but calls for speedier talks to allow the mechanism to be put in place with adequate funding as soon as possible. This regime would allow for targeted sanctions against individuals complicit in serious human rights violations.

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Mitsubishi Electric Wins Hand Dryer Patent and Design Rights Infringement Lawsuits in China

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 13 dicembre 2019

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TOKYO: 6503) announced today that the Shanghai High People’s Court in China has ruled in its favor in the lawsuits alleging infringement of Mitsubishi Electric’s Jet Towel® hand dryer patent and design rights by Taizhou Dihour Electrical Appliances Co., Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer. The hand dryers manufactured by Taizhou Dihour were sold by Taizhou Dihour themselves and by Shanghai Jiecheng Electrical Appliances Co., Ltd. (“the Defendants”). In a separate copyright infringement lawsuit filed against the Defendants, Mitsubishi Electric already won a preliminary court ruling on May 24, 2018; the court ruled that the Defendants had infringed Mitsubishi’s copyrights in 13 areas. Mitsubishi Electric became the world’s first company to develop and market a new type of hand dryer that blows jets of air on both sides of the hand, pushing the water off rather than evaporating it, when it introduced its Jet Towel model in 1993.

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National Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Award

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 27 settembre 2019

Memphis, TN, USA, (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) JOHN LEGEND, HAFSAT ABIOLA, and GLORIA STEINEM are the honorees selected for the National Civil Rights Museum’s 28th Freedom Award to held on October 30. Honorees are selected for their many achievements and contributions on a national and global scale in the name of equality, social justice and freedom for all.
John Legend is an award-winning entertainer, social justice activist and philanthropist. Legend has worked in music for over 20 years becoming the youngest artist to complete the prestigious EGOT as an Emmy, GRAMMY, Oscar and Tony Award winner. His musical work on films highlighting the Civil Rights Movements, such as Selma and advocacy for education have lauded national and international acclaim. He founded Show Me Campaign to break the cycles of poverty for children, and most recently, Let’s Free America campaign. He is also a former national board member for Teach for America. Legend continues to use his larger-than-life platform to inform and advocate on behalf of disenfranchised populations.
Hafsat Abiola, president and CEO of Women in Africa, is a noted Nigerian human and civil rights activist. Since age 19, she has been working to ensure democracy and economic fairness in Nigeria in the name of her deceased mother and father. An evolving changemaker in both Nigeria and the United States, Abiola uses her global platforms to empower women through training and leadership development and strengthen civil society in Nigeria and other African countries through her founding organization, KIND.
Gloria Steinem is a feminist organizer, political activist and award-winning writer. The founder of Ms. Magazine and author of countless books, textbooks and essays, Steinem has dedicated decades to freedom for women, children and underserved populations globally. She co-founded foundations, including the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Women’s Media Center in the United States. Most recently, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama and was the subject of the HBO documentary, Gloria: In Her Own Words. She was a member of the Beyond Racism Initiative, a three-year effort on the part of activists and experts from South Africa, Brazil and the United States to compare the racial patterns and to learn cross-nationally. She is currently traveling the globe on a book tour for her latest work, The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off.
Memphis, TN, USA, (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) JOHN LEGEND, HAFSAT ABIOLA, and GLORIA STEINEM are the honorees selected for the National Civil Rights Museum’s 28th Freedom Award to held on October 30. Honorees are selected for their many achievements and contributions on a national and global scale in the name of equality, social justice and freedom for all.
John Legend is an award-winning entertainer, social justice activist and philanthropist. Legend has worked in music for over 20 years becoming the youngest artist to complete the prestigious EGOT as an Emmy, GRAMMY, Oscar and Tony Award winner. His musical work on films highlighting the Civil Rights Movements, such as Selma and advocacy for education have lauded national and international acclaim. He founded Show Me Campaign to break the cycles of poverty for children, and most recently, Let’s Free America campaign. He is also a former national board member for Teach for America. Legend continues to use his larger-than-life platform to inform and advocate on behalf of disenfranchised populations.
Hafsat Abiola, president and CEO of Women in Africa, is a noted Nigerian human and civil rights activist. Since age 19, she has been working to ensure democracy and economic fairness in Nigeria in the name of her deceased mother and father. An evolving changemaker in both Nigeria and the United States, Abiola uses her global platforms to empower women through training and leadership development and strengthen civil society in Nigeria and other African countries through her founding organization, KIND.
Gloria Steinem is a feminist organizer, political activist and award-winning writer. The founder of Ms. Magazine and author of countless books, textbooks and essays, Steinem has dedicated decades to freedom for women, children and underserved populations globally. She co-founded foundations, including the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Women’s Media Center in the United States. Most recently, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama and was the subject of the HBO documentary, Gloria: In Her Own Words. She was a member of the Beyond Racism Initiative, a three-year effort on the part of activists and experts from South Africa, Brazil and the United States to compare the racial patterns and to learn cross-nationally. She is currently traveling the globe on a book tour for her latest work, The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off.

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Hello, Jerry! Viacom Acquires Exclusive Cable Rights to Seinfeld From Sony Pictures Television

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 25 settembre 2019

Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA) today announced the acquisition of Seinfeld from Sony Pictures Television, in a deal that features the exclusive cable rights for all 180 episodes of the iconic series. Beginning in October 2021, the full library of Seinfeld episodes will air amongst Viacom’s entertainment brands, including Comedy Central, Paramount Network and TV Land. Additionally, catch-up episodes will be available through Viacom brands via authenticated video on demand, websites and apps. The deal was closed by Barbara Zaneri, EVP, Viacom Global Program Acquisitions, and Flory Bramnick, EVP, US Distribution, for an undisclosed sum and a loaf of marble rye after a spirited Festivus feats of strength competition.John Weiser, President, First Run Television for Sony Pictures Television said, “Seinfeld airing on Comedy Central and the Viacom networks brings together the greatest comedy of all time, with the best brands in cable. This was a tremendous team effort and we are delighted to be working with the first class executives at Viacom who are experts in programming and promotion. For a show about Nothing, this is really Something!”
An Emmy and Golden Globe-winner for Best Comedy Series, Seinfeld is one of the most popular, most award-winning and longest-running comedy series of all time. Jerry Seinfeld stars as a stand-up comedian whose life in New York City is made even more chaotic by his quirky group of friends who join him in wrestling with life’s most perplexing, yet often trivial questions. Often described as “a show about nothing,” Seinfeld mines the humor in life’s mundane situations like waiting in line, searching for a lost item, or the trials and tribulations of dating. Co-starring are Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Jerry’s ex-girlfriend and current platonic pal, Elaine Benes; Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Jerry’s neurotic hard-luck best friend; and Michael Richards as Jerry’s eccentric neighbor, Kramer.

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EP launches training to promote children’s rights

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 7 giugno 2019

Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, European Parliament’s Coordinator on Children’s Rights, launched today “The Rights of the Child in EU policy-making” training initiative.
Introducing the initiative – organised jointly by the EP and the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency – Anna Maria Corazza Bildt said: “I am very proud to launch this programme, as a cornerstone of mainstreaming children’s rights in the European Parliament’s internal and external action. I trust that the protection and promotion of children’s rights will be at the heart of the work carried out by this House in the next legislative term”.
As European Parliament Coordinator on Children’s Rights, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt seeks to ensure that the institution recognises children as rights holders and endeavours to ensure that EU law and policy respects, promotes and protects these rights in all of the Parliament’s work. In order to meet this commitment, it is therefore timely to raise awareness and build capacity in the European Parliament. At the launch, Mrs Corazza Bildt outlined her plans to build upon the foundations laid. “I am committed to offering this training to Members of Parliament, their assistants and political groups on a regular basis. I also plan to expand this training programme to all interested European institutions, thanks to the valuable expertise of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency”.
“The Fundamental Rights Agency wholeheartedly welcomes putting child rights centre stage of the EU policy making process,” said FRA Director, Michael O’Flaherty. “We are honoured to support the European Parliament. We look forward to cooperating closely with the European Parliament as it shapes future EU policies for the protection of child rights.”

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Promoting rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 21 gennaio 2019

EP wants to triple the budget for the Rights and Values Programme Fast-track procedure to support democratic dialogue where EU values are at risk The EU should do more to promote democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights across the EU, including through support to civil society organisations.MEPs endorsed on Thursday the position of the Civil Liberties Committee to triple the funds allocated in the long-term EU budget (2021-2027) for the Rights and Values Programme, up to 1.834 billion euros (the European Commission had proposed €642 million).
Parliament’s mandate to start negotiations with EU ministers was approved with 426 votes to 152 and 45 abstentions.With a general objective to protect and promote the rights and values enshrined in Article 2 of the EU Treaty through support to civil society organisations at local, regional, national and transnational level, the Programme seeks to promote equality and non-discrimination, encourage citizens’ engagement and participation in the democratic process, and fight violence.MEPs decided to specifically mention the protection and promotion of democracy and the rule of law as the main aim, as these are a prerequisite for protecting fundamental rights and for ensuring mutual trust among member states and of citizens’ trust in the European Union, says the text.Regarding the activities to be funded with EU money, Parliament suggests awareness-raising campaigns on European core values and the rights and obligations derived from EU citizenship. Initiatives to reflect on the factors that lead to totalitarian regimes occurring and to commemorate their victims were also suggested. MEPs also want to support town-twinning projects, human rights defenders and whistle-blowers, measures countering hate-speech and misinformation, and protection of victims of violence, among others.
MEPs agreed that, in exceptional cases, when there is a serious and rapid deterioration of the situation in a member state and the founding values are at risk, the European Commission may open a call for proposals, under a fast-track procedure, to fund civil society organisations to facilitate and support the democratic dialogue in the country.

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Victims’ Rights Directive: MEPs call for better enforcement

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 1 giugno 2018

Parts of the Victims’ Rights Directive have been properly enforced by some EU countries, but more must be done to help victims of violence and terrorism. In a resolution adopted in Plenary on Wednesday, by 517 votes in favour, 74 against and 72 abstentions, MEPs criticise the fact that the EU Victims’ Rights Directive, designed to strengthen victims’ rights irrespective of where an offence took place, their nationality or residence status, still hasn’t been transposed into national legislation by all EU member states.
MEPs note that some member states have successfully implemented certain provisions (inter alia the right to interpretation and translation, to be heard and the protection of child victims), but point out important shortcomings, notably the complexity of procedures to access supports services, the lack of clear information in more than one language and of legislative foot-hold in cross-border cases.
MEPs call on member states to promote easy access to justice and adequate, free-of-charge legal aid, and to provide free translation and interpretation services.They recall the vital importance of conducting the first contact with the victim properly, especially in the case of victims of gender-based violence, and call on member states to transpose into their legislation timely individual assessments of the victims, which are crucial to empowering them by informing them of their rights.They also urge the European Commission and members states to provide gender-sensitive training programmes for all professionals involved in dealing with victims of crime (law practitioners, police officers, prosecutors, judges, social workers…).Regarding terrorism, in the context of the numerous attacks that have hit Europe over recent years, MEPs calls on member states to establish, when an attack occurs, a coordination centre providing information support and practical services to the victims and their families.
They add that victims should be provided with personalised, specific and relevant information in accordance with their needs, via the creation of a one-stop shop, an emergency phone line and a web portal offering free-of-charge and easily accessible support services, including information as well as psychological, legal, practical and administrative assistance.Co-rapporteur Angelika Mlinar (ALDE, AT) said: ‘‘The report is important to concretely improve the rights of all victims of crime and intensify the fight against all forms of gender-based violence and abuse. The member states must do much more to end the impunity that allows these human rights violations to continue. The victims deserve to be provided with all the support in order to rebuild their lives, such as access to justice, shelters and adequate health care. Our group has from the very beginning been pushing the Council to adopt this ambitious Directive; now the member states have to live up to their commitments, for the sake of all victims and especially women and girls.’’
Co-rapporteur Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio (EPP, ES) said: ‘‘More than ever, the European Union stands firm to help victims of crime, to treat each victim equally with respect and dignity and in accordance with their specific needs. This report also includes tailored and efficient measures to help, support and protect victims of terrorism.’’

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Peacekeeping and Fundamental Rights: Responsibilities of the UN.

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 27 maggio 2018

Milano Martedì 29 maggio ore 18.00, ISPI – Palazzo Clerici, Via Clerici 5 la Fondazione Internazionale Balzan organizza una tavola rotonda sul tema del diritto internazionale. Ospite principale sarà Rosalyn Higgins, Premio Balzan 2007 per il diritto internazionale dopo il 1945 e prima donna ad essere stata Presidente della Corte internazionale di Giustizia dell’Aja.
Di somma rilevanza storica e urgente attualità, il tema sarà svolto, insieme alla giurista britannica, da alcuni dei suoi maggiori esperti: Sergio Romano (diplomatico e storico), Marco Pedrazzi (Università di Milano) e Fausto Pocar (giurista, già Presidente del Tribunale penale internazionale per la ex-Jugoslavia). Il presidente della Fondazione Balzan Enrico Decleva introdurrà l’incontro.Durante la tavola rotonda sarà anche illustrato il trattato di diritto internazionale Oppenheim’s International Law – United Nations appena pubblicato da Oxford University press, curato da Rosalyn Higgins con i giovani giuristi Philippa Webb, Dapo Akande, Sandesh Sivakumaran (presenti alla discussione) e James Sloan. Opera autorevole e completa della pratica giuridica delle Nazioni Unite, realizzata grazie alla metà del Premio Balzan di R. Higgins destinata ai progetti di ricerca, rappresenta uno studio completamente nuovo, ma in diretta continuità con le edizioni dello storico e fondamentale trattato di diritto internazionale di L.F.L Oppenheim.
Dame Rosalyn Higgins è stata Giudice alla Corte Internazionale di Giustizia all’Aja dal 1995 e Presidente dal 2006 al 2009, già professoressa di diritto internazionale all’Università del Kent a Canterbury e alla University of London (London School of Economics), membro della UN Human Rights Committee (1984-1995). Fra le sue onorificenze figurano l’ordine del Dame Commander of the British Empire (1995), il Chevalier d’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (1988) e il Premio Balzan che le fu attribuito nel 2007 “per i suoi fondamentali contributi allo sviluppo del diritto internazionale a partire dalla Seconda Guerra Mondiale, sia come scienziata che come giudice e presidente di tribunale; per i suoi libri, raccolte di documenti, articoli e decisioni giuridiche chiari e precisi, ragionevoli e costruttivi, e allo stesso tempo innovativi e impegnati nella difesa dello stato di diritto e dei diritti umani; per il suo ruolo guida nel rafforzamento e nell’affermazione del diritto internazionale moderno”.

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Voting rights at risk

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 30 agosto 2017

trump11One of the most significant milestones in our nation’s journey to equality was the passage of Voting Rights Act.This journey was not an easy one. For decades, African Americans were subjected to widespread voter intimidation efforts and laws designed to keep them from the polls. But they refused to accept injustice.Civil rights activists organized protests and courageously endured unspeakable acts of violence by those who wanted to disenfranchise them. Then in 1965, African Americans’ heroic activism ushered in change. President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory voting practices and put protections in place to stop any attempts at discrimination in the future. It’s been 52 years since the Voting Rights Act became law. Yet sadly, we still can’t take this fundamental right for granted. In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted a key protection in the Voting Rights Act.Congress has the power to restore it, but President Trump has made it clear to his party that addressing voter suppression is not a priority. Instead, President Trump and his commission on “election integrity” prefer to investigate made-up claims of voter fraud. He wants to give the GOP justification for passing restrictive voting laws that unfairly target minorities. Generations of civil rights activists risked their lives to secure the right to vote for all Americans. As a Veteran, I fought to defend this country and the democratic principles it was built on. We can’t let our efforts be undermined.

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New Asylum Agency to ensure respect of EU asylum rules and fundamental rights

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 2 luglio 2017

european parliamentThe new EU Asylum Agency will ensure that EU countries respect rules on asylum, following a deal with Council. It will also monitor respect of fundamental rights.The informal, preliminary agreement reached on Wednesday covers all the main elements of the legislation, but inter-institutional talks will continue under the Estonian Presidency to finalise the text.The proposal to strengthen the current EU Asylum Support Office (EASO), turning it into a new EU Agency for Asylum equipped with the means and resources to assist Member States in crisis situations and to monitor compliance with EU legislation, is linked to the wider review of the Common European Asylum System currently under way.
MEPs ensured that the Agency will be in charge of regularly assessing all aspects of the common asylum policy, such as reception conditions, respect for procedural safeguards, the right to legal aid and access to interpretation, and whether financial and human resources are sufficient or not. It will also carry out “ad-hoc” monitoring checks when the situation in a specific country raises concerns.A new “asylum intervention pool”, formed by 500 national experts, will be set up and at the immediate disposal of the Agency. They will be deployed in cases where the asylum and reception systems of an EU country are under “disproportionate pressure”.
The Agency will also have a Fundamental Rights Officer, in charge of managing the newly-created complaint mechanism and monitoring and ensuring respect for fundamental rights in all the Agency’s activities.The Executive Director will be able to suspend or terminate the deployment of asylum support teams if a host Member State is found to be in serious breach of fundamental rights.Péter Niedermüller (S&D, HU), Parliament’s rapporteur for the proposal, said: “Our aim was to turn EASO into a fully-fledged Union Agency working with the Member States, but independent from them. The Agency will act as a watchdog of CEAS, an essential element for the EP. Increasing the Agency’s operational and technical capacities to make it more responsive to the current challenges, and ensuring respect for fundamental rights was also crucial”.

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American Women’s Rights and Suffrage from 1848 to 2017

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 23 maggio 2017

Roma Mercoledì 24 Maggio 2017, ore 16:30 Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche Via Chiabrera 199 Conferenza di Ellen DuBois, University of California, LA American Women’s Rights and Suffrage from 1848 to 2017

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Big Data: Parliament calls for better protection of fundamental rights and privacy

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 16 marzo 2017

european parliamentStrengthened transparency of algorithms, special attention to data used for law enforcement and more investment in digital literacy needed to safeguard fundamental rights in the digital era, MEPs say in a non-legislative resolution passed on Tuesday.
The non-legislative resolution drafted by Ana Gomes (S&D, PT) on the fundamental rights implications on Big data looks at how the increasing use of Big data impacts on fundamental rights, namely privacy and data protection.Big data is growing by 40% per year and has the potential to bring undeniable benefits and opportunities for citizens, businesses and governments, but also entails significant risks with regard to the protection of fundamental rights as guaranteed by the EU Charter and Union law. The resolution stresses the need to avoid discrimination based on the use of such data, including in law enforcement, as well as the need to ensure security of data.
MEPs want the Commission, the member states and the data protection authorities to take “any possible measures” to minimise algorithmic discrimination, including price discrimination, where consumers are given different prices of a product based on data collected from their previous internet behaviour, or unlawful discrimination and targeting of certain groups or persons defined by their race, colour, ethic or social origin, religion or political view or being refused from social benefits.”It is not just a question of data protection. These algorithms do have a real impact on peoples’ private lives because they can actually provoke what is happening and they can actually call into question and put at risk our fundamental rights through social media”, said Parliament’s rapporteur Ana Gomes in the debate ahead of the plenary vote.MEPs also emphasise the need for greater accountability and transparency of algorithms with regards to data processing and analytics by both private and public sector and warn that low quality of data or low quality procedures could result in biased algorithms.
The increase in data flows imply further vulnerabilities and new security challenges, MEPs say. They call for the use of privacy by design and by default, anonymisation techniques, encryption, and mandatory privacy impact assessments. They also stress that special attention should be given to the security of e-government systems.Special attention should also be paid to data used in for law enforcement purposes which should always be assessed by a human being, MEPs say. They call on the Commission, the European Data Protection Board and other independent supervisory authorities to issue guidelines and best practises for further specifying the criteria and conditions for decisions based on the use of big data for law enforcement purposes.MEPs urge the EU institutions and member states to invest in digital awareness raising of digital rights, privacy and data protection among citizens, including children. This education should foster an understanding of how algorithms and automated decision-making work and how data is collected for example from social networks, connected devices and internet searches.

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Fundamental rights in Hungary discussed in Civil Liberties Committee

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 1 marzo 2017

ungheriaCivil Liberties Committee MEPs discussed the fundamental rights situation in Hungary with Justice Minister László Trócsányi and civil society representatives on Monday afternoon. Several MEPs raised the issue of refugees and migrants, asking for clarifications on a draft law proposing that any asylum-seeker be automatically detained for the entire duration of their application.Some members asked about the independence of the Constitutional Court and media pluralism, while others demanded answers on a government plan to force non-government organisation (NGO) leaders to declare their personal assets in the same way as MPs do.MEPs also put questions on measures to relieve the overcrowding of prisons and on the situation of women in the context of the Istanbul Convention, which Hungary is expected to ratify soon. The government of Hungary was represented by Justice Minister László Trócsányi. Civil society speakers were: Miklós Szánthó Director, Center for Fundamental Rights; Tódor Gárdos, Researcher, Amnesty lnternational; Stefánia Kapronczay, Executive Director, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and Márta Pardavi, Co-Chair, Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

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A decade of human rights protection

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 1 marzo 2017

box-eubidrag“The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights can be justifiably proud of what it has achieved in its first 10 years,” said FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “However, we are well aware of the challenges we face in upholding the values that are the foundation of our shared societies. Respect for human rights can never be taken for granted, as we can see from the high levels of intolerance, lack of respect and discrimination around the EU. We must find ways of renewing our commitment to the fairness, justice and equality on which our societies were built.”
“In these times of change we sense that old certainties are crumbling, but we have not yet found new solutions to help us face the challenges before us,” said Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen. “This uncertainty makes it all the more important to stand up for the fundamental principles on which our societies are based: that the human rights to freedom and dignity are universal and inalienable. 10 years ago, the European Union demonstrated its profound commitment to human rights by establishing the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. The Agency’s work is now more vital than ever.”
“The European Union is founded on our common values. It has and will always stand for our basic democratic values, for freedom,for tolerance and the rule of law,” said Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. “It is the 10th anniversary of the Fundamental Rights agency which has worked hard to promote fundamental rights in the EU. At the same time, I’m deeply concerned that in Europe and beyond, fundamental democratic freedoms are questioned. We all know where isolationism and nationalism have led us in the past. I am convinced that protecting fundamental rights and the rule of law is the only response.”In 2017 and beyond, the Fundamental Rights Agency will focus on today’s most urgent human rights quandaries, from migration and asylum, through xenophobia and discrimination, to the very contemporary challenges of privacy, surveillance and hate speech in the digital age. At the same time, the Agency is increasing its efforts to boost public awareness and rekindle support for the protection of human rights; the rights of every individual living in the European Union.

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Civil liberties MEPs call for better monitoring of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 5 ottobre 2016

giustizia europeaA binding EU mechanism, based on objective, evidence based and non-political criteria, should be set up to monitor the state of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights in EU member states on an annual basis said Civil Liberties MEPs in a report voted on Monday night. They call on the European Commission to submit a proposal by September 2017.The new mechanism would be designed to ensure that the values enshrined in the EU Treaties are respected throughout the Union. “Recent cases in different member states have shown there is a need for stronger and more objective tools for the enforcement of agreed rules and standards”, says lead MEP Sophie In’t Veld (ALDE, NL).“Instead of responding to incidents, we need to put in place a systematic mechanism to ensure the respect for democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights in all member states and EU institutions, fostering a culture of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights”, she adds.
Whereas “failure of a candidate country to meet the required standards, values and democratic principles” results in a delay in accession to the Union, the failure of a member state to meet these same standards “has little consequence in practice”, the draft report says.
To remedy this shortcoming, the new mechanism would establish a policy cycle and a monitoring mechanism, similar to the model known from the Economic Semester.The European Commission should on an annual basis, and in consultation of a panel of experts, draw up an assessment report which also looks at possible risks, breaches and violations and gives country specific recommendations.This report would be made public and serve as a basis for an inter-parliamentary debate. If a member state falls short of fulfilling one or more of the benchmarks set, the Commission should immediately start a dialogue with the country and may also decide to launch a “systemic infringement” action under article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union and Article 258 TFEU, explains the text. The mechanism will also set clear benchmarks on when article 7 should be invoked.
The legislative initiative report on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights is scheduled for a plenary vote in Strasbourg at the end of October. The European Commission will have to give a reasoned response to the proposal once approved by the European Parliament.

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