EU Watch

Human Rights Violations Continue Against People From Marginalised Groups: Trend Analysis

Liberties Rule of Law Report 2024

by Akudo Kyoshia McGee-Osuagwu

Migrants, asylum seekers children, and LGBTQIA+ persons faced continued threats across the EU in 2023. Liberties’ 2024 Rule of Law Report shows a pattern of backsliding on protections for these groups and, in some cases, the introduction of detrimental legislation.

In its fifth edition, Liberties’ annual rule of law report compiles contributions from our 37 member and partner organisations. An extensive shadow report covering six thematic areas, it reflects on the status of the rule of law in 19 European countries.

Human rights are intimately linked to the rule of law. The systems which make up the rule of law structure, such as independent courts, human rights institutions and civil society, are responsible for protecting human rights. Furthermore, human rights protections are enshrined in law, including the European Convention on Human Rights, EU law, and national law. Despite this, our Rule of Law Report 2024 shows that respect for human rights is steadily degrading across Europe, especially in the case of marginalised groups.

Asylum Seekers and Migrants Squeezed by Oppressive Border Regimes

Reports from our contributing organisations reveal that asylum seekers and migrants, who regularly experience systemic rights violations, continue to find themselves in a precarious position. In member states including Greece, Croatia, and Lithuania, asylum seekers and migrants experienced illegal pushbacks at borders. Worryingly, in the case of Lithuania, these pushbacks were legitimised by new legislation. Containment facilities in border zones often featured deplorable conditions designed to make minorities invisible. Both illegal pushbacks and the cruelty of containment facilities are normalised by a long history of degrading treatment towards asylum seekers and migrants.

In Slovenia, migrants and asylum seekers were handed over to authorities with a track record of violence. NGOs who express concern about the violation of migrants’ rights received the cold shoulder, and their work has been increasingly criminalised, as seen in Latvia and Italy. Civil society plays a critical role ensuring that migrants, refugees and asylum seeks can access their legal protections. Without their work, systemic human rights violations will remain unaddressed.

Rights of Marginalised Children Neglected

The human rights of children were also neglected, according to reports from our members. This included vulnerable children such as refugees and migrants, but also children who were institutionalised or came from LGBTQIA+ families. Special concerns arise for child asylum seekers. In addition to the stress and trauma of their personal circumstances, these children, including unaccompanied minors, endured improper detainment. It likely that some unaccompanied minors, for example in Slovenia, slipped through the cracks due to deficient age-determination tools.

Alarming trends also emerged regarding freedom restrictions for children in youth care. In the Netherlands, freedom-restricting measures, which should be used as a last resort - especially in the case of children - were taken without legal basis. This mistreatment of young people who have already experienced extreme distress due to poor legal oversight is highly concerning. Children of LGBTQIA+ faced difficulties obtaining vital documents from authorities, due to governments’ failure to uphold equal treatment for same-sex parents and counteract discrimination.

LGBTQIA+: Attacks and Inaction On Legal Reforms

LGBTQIA+ rights endured setbacks following direct political attacks and inadequate legal protections. In Italy, LGBTQIA+ persons were the subject of political propaganda and faced inaction on legislative proposals to improve their rights. Politicians were responsible for spreading harmful information about the LGBTQIA+ community in Slovakia and Lithuania, a common tactic to delegitimise LGBTQIA+ rights and identity. While some progress was reported in Latvia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, enthusiasm was muted as the new laws were not deemed to guarantee satisfactory legal protection.


Download the full Rule Of Law Report 2024 report here.

Read related articles

Governments Shrug Off Democratic Oversight: EU Rule of Law Report By 37 NGOs

Trend Analysis: Restrictions on Peaceful Protest Intensified

Trend Analysis: Court packing puts the judicial protection of citizens’ rights in danger

See previous rule of law reports

2023 2022 2021 2020

Donate to liberties

Your contribution matters

As a watchdog organisation, Liberties reminds politicians that respect for human rights is non-negotiable. We're determined to keep championing your civil liberties, will you stand with us? Every donation, big or small, counts.

We’re grateful to all our supporters

Your contributions help us in the following ways

► Liberties remains independent
► It provides a stable income, enabling us to plan long-term
► We decide our mission, so we can focus on the causes that matter
► It makes us stronger and more impactful

Your contribution matters

As a watchdog organisation, Liberties reminds politicians that respect for human rights is non-negotiable. We're determined to keep championing your civil liberties, will you stand with us? Every donation, big or small, counts.

Subscribe to stay in

the loop

Why should I?

You will get the latest reports before everyone else!

You can follow what we are doing for your right!

You will know about our achivements!

Show me a sample!