Ireland : Irish minister expelled from party because of freedom of conscience

HREIreland was treated to a rare spectacle this week: a politician who opposed a prime minister on a matter of conscience, lost a ministry, was expelled from her party, and parted without rancour.

Lucinda Creighton, a 33-year-old rising star in the Fine Gael party, and Minister of State for European Affairs in Enda Kenny’s coalition government, voted against a bill which allowed women access to abortion at any stage of their pregnancy if they threaten to commit suicide…

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France : European Council Investigates France Over Abuse of Marriage Supporters

HREFrance is under scrutiny by a European council for its police abuse of peaceful pro-marriage demonstrators.

The Council of Europe is sending investigators to France to look into government violence against people who oppose a new law allowing same-sex marriage. The Council also passed a resolution reaffirming the freedom of assembly and speech, citing the violence against marriage supporters in France “including the use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators.”

The Monitoring Committee holds Council of Europe members accountable, especially regarding human rights. It has received only 7 petitions since it was established in 1997. The process could lead to sanctions against France…

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Ireland : Lack of freedom of choice

HREOr : lack of freedom of choice to use your conscience…

Four Irish politicians have had their party whip removed after defying their leader, Prime Minister Enda Kenny, to vote against a bill proposing a change in the country’s abortion law.

Terence Flanagan, Peter Matthews, Billy Timmins and Brian Walsh, all members of the governing Fine Gael party, voted against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy bill at its second stage, although it was passed by 138 votes to 24…

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France : Accused of police brutality against traditional marriage demonstrators by an international lawyer

HREPARIS, June 28 (C-FAM) An international lawyer has filed complaints against France in the UN Human Rights Council for brutalizing peaceful demonstrators. Videos show French police beating marriage demonstrators, using tear gas and clubs against women, men, elderly and children.

Homosexual marriage and adoption became law in France on May 18. But a movement numbering millions of French citizens is determined to change that. La Manif Pour Tous, which means “demonstration for all”, is not relenting despite the government’s attempts to intimidate and violently repress them …

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France & Sweden : Popular protest and challenges to freedom of assembly, media and speech

HRE Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Resolution 1947 (2013)1 Provisional version

1. Popular protest has erupted in many European (and non-European) countries recently. Demonstrations often occur in an unregulated manner, its participants co-ordinating with one another through social media. The right of individuals to demonstrate against their democratically elected governments is as legitimate as is the right of such governments not to change their policies in the face of protests.

2. Such demonstrations have taken place in many cities and countries in Europe in the last year. In all cases, the protests started peacefully, even if in some cases small minorities did engage in violent activity. The response by the public authorities and the action taken by law-enforcement bodies were at times disproportionate.

3. Examples of peaceful demonstrations which developed into violent clashes with the police in the last few months in Europe include:
3.1. several demonstrations against same-sex marriage staged in Paris between 24 March and 27 May 2013 (“Manif pour tous”), involving more than 2 million people, triggering the intervention of lawenforcement forces including the use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators. Four persons were injured and several hundred were arrested;
3.2. riots which took place in the suburbs of Stockholm from 20 to 24 May 2013 where people demonstrated against the killing of an immigrant by the police and against immigration and integration policies in general. No injuries were reported and the police arrested 29 people ;

(…)

The Assembly urges the Council of Europe member States, where appropriate, to take the necessary measures to bring their legislation into line with Council of Europe standards and the case law
of the European Court of Human Rights, including as regards freedom of expression, of the media and of assembly, and invites them to:
9.1. guarantee freedom of assembly and demonstration in accordance with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and ensure that this freedom can be exercised in practice;
9.2. duly investigate the use of excessive or disproportionate force by members of the lawenforcement forces and impose sanctions on those responsible;
9.3. reinforce human rights training for members of the security forces, and also for judges and prosecutors, in partnership with the Council of Europe;
9.4. draw up clear instructions concerning the use of tear gas (pepper spray) and prohibit its use in confined spaces;
9.5. ensure media freedom, put an end to harassment and arrests of journalists and the searches of media premises and refrain from imposing sanctions on media outlets covering popular protests, in line also with Resolution 1920 (2013) on the state of media freedom in Europe;
9.6. reform the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, as well as anti-terrorism legislation and the Administrative Code, whenever the relevant legislation is not in line with Council of Europe standards and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights;
9.7. examine means of consulting the population or involving it in the management of public affairs, both at local and national levels, drawing on relevant European standards and good practices, in line also with Resolution 1746 (2010) on democracy in Europe: crisis and perspectives;
9.8. refrain from putting unnecessary administrative and organisational hurdles in the way of the work of civil society organisations by subjecting them to controls, fines and penalties. Such excessive practices intensify popular discontent and may lead to further increased popular protest activity.

10. Finally, the Assembly invites the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to consider drawing up guidelines in respect of human rights in the policing of demonstrations.

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Council of Europe : Draft Protocol No. 16 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

HREOpinion 285 (2013)1 Provisional version

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France : Serious setbacks in the fields of human rights and the rule of law in France

HRECouncil of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, 26 June 2013

Motion for a resolution
tabled by Mr Luca VOLONTÈ and other members of the Assembly (This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only those who have signed it)

We, the undersigned, express our serious concern with respect to the abuse of the police force in the context
of the demonstrations against the approval of the “Taubira law” where hundreds of walkers and protesters were brutalised, gassed, arbitrarily arrested and jailed for 24 hours and more in “garde à vue”. Reports from lawyers and NGOs indicate that more than 600 individuals have been arrested and jailed in “garde à vue”.
Most of those individuals were released after 24 hours without being convicted of any offence; therefore, the
penal procedure of “garde à vue” is being abused as a political punishment.
This continuous abuse of the police force and of the procedure of “garde à vue” violates various provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman
treatment), Article 5 (right to liberty) and Article 7 (no punishment without law).
We express our concern regarding violations of the freedom of assembly and the right to political protest
guaranteed by Article 11. In this context, the government also threatened to ban abusively the social and peaceful movement of protest, whereas neither this movement nor any of its members have been convicted of
any violent or illegal acts.

We, the undersigned, also express our concern regarding violations, due to compulsory teaching of the gender
theory from the age of 6, of the freedom of conscience and of parental rights to educate their children on moral matters guaranteed by Articles 8 and 9 of the Convention, and Article 2 of the Protocol thereto.
For all the above reasons, we request that a monitoring procedure be initiated with respect to France in
accordance with article 2.iii of the terms of reference of the Monitoring Committee.

Signed (1) :
VOLONTÈ Luca, Italy, EPP/CD
AGRAMUNT Pedro, Spain, EPP/CD
ARSHBA Otari, Russian Federation, EDG
BOLDI Rossana, Italy, EDG
BRICOLO Federico, Italy, EDG
DİŞLİ Şaban, Turkey, EPP/CD
FARINA Renato, Italy, EPP/CD
GRIMOLDI Paolo, Italy, EDG
ISLAMI Kastriot, Albania, SOC
KOSZORÚS László, Hungary, EPP/CD
L’OVOCHKINA Yuliya, Ukraine, EDG
MAKHMUTOV Anvar, Russian Federation, EDG
MALGIERI Gennaro, Italy, EPP/CD
MIHALOVICS Péter, Hungary, EPP/CD
NESSA Pasquale, Italy, EPP/CD
PINTADO Ángel, Spain, EPP/CD
PUCHE Gabino, Spain, EPP/CD
SANTINI Giacomo, Italy, EPP/CD
STEFANELLI Lorella, San Marino, EPP/CD
STUCCHI Giacomo, Italy, EDG
SULEYMANOV Elkhan, Azerbaijan, EPP/CD
TIMCHENKO Vyacheslav, Russian Federation, EDG
TOSHEV Latchezar, Bulgaria, EPP/CD
VAREIKIS Egidijus, Lithuania, EPP/CD

(1) EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party
SOC: Socialist Group
ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
EDG: European Democrat Group
UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
NR: Representatives not belonging to a Political Group

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