Despite the difficult events that occurred in the world in 2022, which were accompanied by various and widespread violations of human rights, we have witnessed significant human rights victories in several areas. These victories were made possible by the tireless work of human rights defenders, who have advocated for victims, monitored abuses, and documented rights violations.
Through its various human rights and media activities, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, along with its partners and human rights organisations, worked to achieve results that improved the human rights situation in the MENA region and Europe, especially in cases involving migrants and asylum seekers, arbitrary detention, and holding perpetrators of rights violations accountable.
Today, we celebrate the key achievements that our team helped make possible, and that we have shared with you throughout the last year.
The European Union passed legislation to establish a new asylum agency and grant it full eligibility to improve asylum policy implementation within the EU, by providing operational assistance and enhanced technologies to its Member States. This agency would work to protect asylum seekers’ rights, provide mechanisms for filing complaints, and improve existing mechanisms for receiving asylum seekers in EU countries.
Since the beginning of Europe’s asylum and migration crisis, several Euro-Med Monitor teams have met with decision-makers and members of the European Parliament, urging them to put pressure on governments and authorities in their respective countries to adopt mechanisms that ensure the rights of asylum seekers and migrants.
The German judiciary sentenced Anwar Raslan, a former colonel and Syrian Intelligence service agent, to life in prison on charges of committing crimes against humanity, including the killing and torture of Syrian detainees in a secret detention centre in Damascus between 2011 and 2012.
Euro-Med Monitor has conducted several lobbying and advocacy campaigns since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, urging concerned parties to intervene effectively to end violations, and to prosecute perpetrators.
Under the Alternative Penal Code, Bahraini authorities released more than 40 prisoners of conscience in January, before their sentences expired.
Since the start of the popular protests in the country, Euro-Med Monitor has published several reports documenting Bahraini authorities’ arbitrary policies against dissidents, including illegal detentions, unfair trials, and death sentences.
Euro-Med Monitor wrote official letters to decision-makers urging them to put pressure on Bahraini authorities to end human rights violations and release all prisoners of conscience.
The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation ruled that asylum seekers living in emergency reception centres have a right to health that must be protected. It also called for an unbiased implementation of the Italian government’s measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Euro-Med Monitor has written to Italy and other countries of destination in recent years urging them to ensure that migrants and asylum seekers receive full health care, particularly during the pandemic, and to end the discrimination that some countries have practiced against them—whether in the uneven implementation of preventive measures, or the unequal distribution of vaccines.
Iraqi authorities announced the arrest of a suspect “responsible for carrying out several assassinations” in the Maysan Governorate in southeastern Iraq.
Since the escalation of assassinations in Iraq, which has coincided with widespread popular protests calling for reform, Euro-Med Monitor has urged Iraqi authorities to do everything possible to protect activists and opinion-makers, as well as prosecute all those involved in the numerous assassinations of civil activists in the country.
Saudi authorities released a group of prisoners of conscience following years of detention.
Euro-Med Monitor and its partners have launched lobbying and advocacy campaigns in recent years, including presentations in the European Parliament and meetings with officials and decision-makers to pressure Saudi authorities to release prisoners of conscience, end arbitrary detention, and promote freedoms in the country.
The British House of Lords approved the Dubs Amendment, which allows for the establishment of a new safe route for unaccompanied child refugees in Europe to be reunited with their families in the UK.
Since the escalation of the refugee crisis in 2015, Euro-Med Monitor has launched several campaigns urging countries of destination to provide protection and support to migrants and asylum seekers, particularly those from the most vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied children.
The Constitutional Court of Italy ruled that non-EU immigrants with work permits and long-term residence in the country should be entitled to the same family allowance as Italian citizens.
Euro-Med Monitor has worked with organisations for years to highlight the plight of migrants and asylum seekers in Italy and throughout Europe, and has repeatedly urged the Italian authorities to develop laws for receiving these people and ensuring their rights under relevant European and international laws.
Algerian authorities released about 10 prisoners of conscience who were imprisoned for exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
Since the beginning of the Algerian popular movement in 2019, Euro-Med Monitor has been monitoring security forces’ violations against protesters and opposition activists, particularly “security” prosecutions and arbitrary detention. Euro-Med Monitor has repeatedly urged Algerian authorities to release prisoners of conscience and respect individuals’ right to freedom of expression.
Fabrice Leggeri, the executive director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), resigned his mandate after a probe revealing the agency’s involvement in violent pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers attempting to arrive via the Mediterranean Sea.
Euro-Med Monitor has published several reports in recent years exposing grave violations committed by Frontex against migrants and asylum seekers in the area. It has also organised lobbying and advocacy efforts aimed at agency officials and European Parliament members, calling for accountability and the removal of all those involved in implementing or allowing these violations.
The Houthi group agreed to adhere to a UN action plan aimed at ending the group’s recruitment of children.
Through focused efforts that included publishing detailed reports documenting abuses, as well as various lobbying and advocacy activities, Euro-Med Monitor revealed that the Houthi group recruited thousands of children in areas under its control in Yemen. Euro-Med Monitor called on the UNHCR to intervene and put an end to this dangerous phenomenon.
Sudanese military authorities released several civil force leaders who were detained during the October 2021 military coup.
During Sudan’s popular protests, Euro-Med Monitor worked to document violations against activists, journalists, and demonstrators, and urged the authorities to stop violating human rights and to reverse all illegal measures, including arbitrary arrests and the violent suppression of peaceful protests.
Under a presidential amnesty, the Syrian regime released hundreds of detainees, some of whom had been held for more than 10 years.
For years, Euro-Med Monitor and many other human rights organisations have documented the atrocities perpetrated against detainees in Syrian regime prisons, and have called on all concerned parties to exert maximum pressure on the regime to release all prisoners of conscience and end human rights violations.
Bahraini authorities released prisoner of conscience Ahmed Jaber Reda for medical reasons after he contracted tuberculosis in the Juw Central Prison, and had served nearly four years of his 10-year sentence.
Euro-Med Monitor and other human rights organisations have documented violations against prisoners of conscience inside Bahraini prisons in recent years, and have launched several lobbying campaigns to pressure authorities to provide health care for sick detainees and release all prisoners of conscience.
Between January and June of 2022, the Danish Refugee Appeals Board overturned the decision of the Danish Immigration Service to repatriate Syrian refugees in 71% of cases, allowing them to remain in the country.
Since Danish authorities decided to revoke residence permits for Syrian refugees under the pretext that Syria has become safe, Euro-Med Monitor has urged the country’s authorities to reverse deportation decisions and continue granting residency and protection to Syrian refugees as the war in Syria continues.
Saudi authorities released detainee Murtaja Qureiris after eight years of imprisonment.
Qureiris was arrested as a minor for taking part in a protest in the country’s east. Over the years, Euro-Med Monitor has urged the country’s authorities to release prisoners of conscience, and has worked with partners in launching lobbying campaigns to put pressure on Saudi authorities to end the policy of arbitrary arrests and respect people’s right to free speech.
The Yemeni government and the Houthi group agreed to extend their truce for another two months, to expire on 2 August 2022.
Throughout the conflict, Euro-Med Monitor and other human rights organisations urged Yemen’s various parties to end the violence, protect civilians from all military actions, and allow relief organisations to work safely and freely in all regions of Yemen.
The High Court of Justice of Andalusia in Spain upheld a Ceuta court’s decision that returning minor migrants who entered the country in May 2021 to Morocco is illegal and a violation of their rights.
For years, Euro-Med Monitor and other human rights organisations have urged destination countries not to forcibly return migrants and asylum seekers to the areas from which they came, and to respect their human rights and dignity.
Member States of the Security Council agreed to extend the mechanism for cross-border UN aid entry into northern Syria for another six months.
Although the decision did not meet humanitarian organisations’ expectations because it only covers six months, the continued flow of aid to millions of displaced Syrians living in harsh conditions in the country’s north is critical.
For years, Euro-Med Monitor has urged concerned countries and international bodies to make every effort to alleviate Syria’s humanitarian crisis and ensure the flow of humanitarian aid to millions of people, particularly in the country’s northern regions.
Saudi authorities released two prisoners of conscience who had been arbitrarily detained for years for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
For years, Euro-Med Monitor has urged Saudi authorities to release prisoners of conscience and has worked with partners in launching lobbying campaigns to pressure the country’s authorities to end the policy of arbitrary arrests and to respect free speech.
Hundreds of asylum seekers who were sleeping out in the open were transferred by Dutch authorities to one of the country’s designated shelters for asylum seekers.
During the crisis, Euro-Med Monitor wrote to the Dutch Minister of Immigration, urging him to take immediate action to provide shelter, food, health care, and other necessities to asylum seekers stranded out in the open.
Two members of a Danish government committee that had proposed a headscarf ban in primary schools backed down due to widespread criticism.
When the proposal was made, Euro-Med Monitor had written to the Danish government to urge it to reject the committee’s discriminatory recommendations, asserting that the ban on hijab is entirely based on erroneous views of people of Islamic origin in Denmark.
After he spent nine years in detention, Bahraini authorities released prisoner of conscience Hassan Abdullah Habib, who was suffering from tuberculosis.
Euro-Med Monitor had been documenting Habib’s deteriorating health, and had written to the authorities, urging them to release him and all other prisoners of conscience in the country.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Hungary’s asylum procedure partially violated EU law, and confirmed that the country’s asylum system is designed to restrict access to case files for certain applicants and their legal advisors.
Euro-Med Monitor and other human rights organisations have been addressing EU agencies and institutions for years, to pressure Member States to stop violating the rights of migrants and asylum seekers, and to amend their laws to ensure respect for human dignity and the right to protection and a decent life.
A military court in Tunisia ordered the release of journalist Saleh Attia, who was imprisoned for practicing his right to freedom of expression.
Since his initial detention, Euro-Med Monitor had written to Tunisian authorities urging them to release Attia, stop trying civilians in military courts, and respect freedom of opinion and expression.
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled that it is illegal to seize irregular migrants’ mobile phones upon their arrival on the British coast, as well as to extract and store data from these phones.
For years, Euro-Med Monitor and its partner organisations have urged the British and European governments to stop violating the privacy of migrants and asylum seekers, and to respect relevant European and international laws.
A local court ordered the Dutch government to improve reception conditions for immigrants and asylum seekers immediately, citing that current conditions do not meet international standards; it also urged authorities to provide shelter for asylum seekers.
Previously, Euro-Med Monitor had written to the Dutch Minister of Immigration, urging him to take immediate action to provide shelter, food, health care, and other necessities to asylum seekers stranded out in the open.
Saudi authorities released Palestinian Mohammed al-Khoudari, who had been arbitrarily detained for nearly three and a half years despite his poor health.
In April 2019, Euro-Med Monitor revealed that Saudi authorities had arrested al-Khoudari. Euro-Med Monitor carried out a pressure campaign over the past several years which included correspondence with relevant UN authorities and regular updates on al-Khoudari’s health status and detention conditions; Euro-Med Monitor had urged the Saudi authorities to release him without conditions.
In November, Saudi authorities released three prisoners of conscience who had been imprisoned for varying periods in an arbitrary and unjustified manner.
For years, Euro-Med Monitor has written to Saudi authorities to release prisoners of conscience, and has launched pressure campaigns with its partners urging the country’s authorities to end the policy of arbitrary arrests and to respect freedom of expression.
Occupied Palestinian Territory
The United Nations General Assembly approved a request for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice in the Hague on the implications of Israel’s continued violations of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.
For many years, Euro-Med Monitor has addressed UN bodies concerned with Israeli violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and has provided information to the UN Special Rapporteur in her report on Palestinians’ right to self-determination.
Saudi authorities released journalist and writer Khalid al-Alkami, who had been arbitrarily detained for more than five years for exercising his legitimate right to freedom of expression.