The Venice Commission, a Council of Europe legal advisory body composed of independent experts in the field of constitutional law, has sharply criticised recent Russian amendments to laws regulating so-called ‘'foreign agents," saying they constitute “serious violations” of basic human rights and will have a “chilling effect” on political life.
On July 8, police raided the newsroom of the prominent online newspaper Nasha Niva and the homes of its journalists. Officers detained editor-in-chief Yahor Martsinovich and several Nasha Niva journalists have been unable to reach colleagues. Earlier in the day, the Belarusian Information Ministry said the news outlet’s website had been blocked.
A proposed new law that could impose time and noise limits on protests in England and Wales would seriously harm freedom of expression and should be rejected by parliamentarians, Europe’s human rights commissioner has said. Dunja Mijatović of the Council of Europe made her concerns clear in a letter to MPs and peers.
Source: The Guardian
The EU executive has launched legal action against Hungary and Poland to defend LGBTQ+ rights in the latest battle over values with the two nationalist governments in central Europe. The announcement that Hungary and Poland’s governments could end up in the EU’s highest court is part of an ongoing existential fight for the rule of law and freedom from discrimination in the heart of Europe.
Source: The Guardian
The European Court of Justice ruled that European employers can ban workers from wearing any visible sign of their political, philosophical or religious beliefs if this ban meets “a genuine need on the part of the employer”. It confirms a similar ruling made in 2017 that allowed employers to enforce a "neutral" dress code but critics say it will disproportionately affect Muslim women.
The new Lithuanian bill allows for the detention of asylum seekers and curbs migrants' right to appeal. The new legislation is intended to deter high numbers of asylum seekers crossing European Union member Lithuania's border with Belarus. Lithuania claims neighboring Belarus is using migrants as a "weapon."
The European Court of Human rights has found that Denmark violated its international human rights obligations when it imposed a law that lengthened the amount of time a newly-arrived refugee must wait until they can apply for family reunification. The Court held that said law violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, protecting the right to respect for private and family life.
Russia’s Central Election Commision has decided to restrict access to online broadcasts from polling stations for the September elections. Broadcasts from polling stations will remain accessible to election commissions, political parties, candidates, and election monitoring centers, but will not be available for the broader public.
New migration rules have come into effect in Sweden, making residence permits for refugees time-limited in the first instance instead of permanent. It also introduces the possibility of Swedish language and civic knowledge tests for anyone wanting to stay in the country for longer, as well as it increases the waits for residency for migrant workers, scholars and visitors. Human rights groups like Amnesty International have expressed alarm over the more restrictive policy.