Europe Human Rights
Across Europe, human rights continue to be casualties in the "war on terror". Entrenched racism, discrimination and intolerance are seen in attacks on members of Arab, Jewish and Muslim communities, in interethnic violence, and in failures to afford dignity to people with mental disabilities. All too often, those responsible for human rights abuses such as torture and ill-treatment continue to enjoy impunity.
In countries in the former Soviet Union, corruption remains widespread and torture is routinely used to gain confessions. There is generally impunity for state officials who commit human rights abuses. Prison conditions are appalling. Belarus retains the death penalty.
Freedom of expression in the media and activities of human rights defenders are curtailed by state intervention. There has been an increasing number of journalists murdered, and human rights defenders face increased persecution.
Violence against women has reached epidemic proportions in Russia, and thousands of women are trafficked annually to the West from former USSR states. Azerbaijan has one of the largest internally displaced populations in the world.
We are very concerned about widespread reports of disappearances, torture and other human rights violations against the civilian population by state and non-state actors in a number of local conflicts. There is widespread persecution of ethnic minorities and religious repression. Anti-terrorism measures are often used as an excuse to justify this repression.