Biggest assaults on fundamental rights in Europe in 2010

It seems like a tradition in the end of each year to have countdowns of the top/most memorable events or objects of the finishing year. Here is our Top 5: the list of most memorable breaches of fundamental rights that occurred in 2010 in Europe. The selection is based mostly on the media coverage and social reactions, and is open to discussion.

5. Ban on burqas in France.

Even though invisible rights violations, such as discrimination in various areas of life, may be a much greater problem, media provided rather extensive coverage of the legislative ban on full veil (burqa) in France.

4. Ban on burqas in Belgium.

They are higher on the list simply because they were a few days ahead of France and the media coverage was more or less equivalent with that of the French ban.

3. Spanish secret police circular on roundup and detention of undocumented migrants.

The event got a considerable resonance in Spain although was hardly mentioned in the non-Spanish media.

2. Swiss referendum on expulsions of foreigners committing a crime.

Again, this received major media resonance and is likely to face legal challenges before international human rights tribunals.

1. Roma expulsions from France.

This was definitely the biggest — in our view — affront to human rights in Western Europe happening in 2010. It was also a historic chance for European institutions (particularly the Commission) to take a decisive stand for human rights. An opportunity, unfortunately, waisted.

What will 2011 bring for human rights in Europe? Let´s hope more freedom and fewer human rights violations. Happy New Year!