For the first time, a court in Sweden has decided that a girl or woman can be granted asylum if she can prove she’s at risk of being forced into an arranged marriage abroad. A 15 year old girl has won her case in Sweden and lawyers say it could open the way for many other similar claims. But is Sweden really now a haven for girls facing forced arranged marriages?
Countries around Europe marked the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture this week. This year it comes as in Greece, human rights groups are calling on the police to root out what they call a subculture of violence. This follows the broadcasting of a video on the internet of what prosecutors allege is torture. More allegations of police brutality have since emerged as our Athens correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports.
The newly-elected government of Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed this week that it was planning to restrict immigrant's right to bring their family to live with them in France. Human right activists and the centre left opposition are in uproar. Radio France International's Nick Champeaux reports from Paris.
The Netherlands hit the international headlines on April Fools day five years ago - not because of a spectacular practical joke, but because on April 1 2002 it became the first country in the world to legalise euthanasia. The new law legalised the practice of "mercy killings" within strict boundaries - and there was considerable international criticism of the legislation. Radio Netherlands' Louise Dunne examines how the euthanisia law is working five years on. 5 years since the Dutch legalised euthanasia, what has changed for doctors and patients?
Life could be looking up if your homeless, French and living in Paris. The French government's come up with a new idea to sort out the country's homelessness problem. All through last winter people of no fixed abode lived in tents along the banks of the trendy canal Saint Martin area of Paris, you might remember it from the whimsical hit movie Amelie. A lucky few have now been re-housed in a trailer park, South of Paris, courtesy of the state. The trailer park's being called the "village of hope" and residents are expected to use their time there to find jobs and reintegrate into society. Its an experimental project, and if it proves successful, a hundred other villages-of-hope, will be built throughout the country.
It's two hundred years since Great Britain abolished the Slave trade. But there were countries at that time which instead of following this fine example, took advantage of it and expanded their transatlantic slave operations - one of those, you might be surprised to read, was Sweden. It didn't abandon the practice until nearly 40 years later, but how much do the Swedes of today know about their country's shameful past
You might not automatically link the Swedish super-troopers Abba with German-occupied Norway, but there is a link, and it's group-member Frida Lyndstad. She was the dark-haired one. She was also the illegitimate daughter of a German officer stationed in Norway during the war. And is just one of thousands of Norway's so-called 'war children'. More than 150 such off-spring say they suffered discrimination and abuse after the war purely because they had German fathers. But now they're taking Norway to the European Court of Human Rights in search of recognition for their suffering.
There are between eight and ten million ethnic Roma people in Europe, and about half of them are children, living in conditions you'd sooner expect to find in the developing world. UNICEF has just published two fresh studies on the plight of Roma children and DW's Eric Heath explored the findings.
Of course, housing or the lack of a decent supply of it isn't a problem confined to the Roma people. Homelessness is back on the agenda in France after the country's politicians had hoped it had gone away. Network Europe reported in January on the public demonstrations against homelessness, the lines of red tents pitched in a trendy part of Paris. Usually by Spring, the warm weather means sympathy for people living in tents has trailed off. But this year the tents are still there.
Imagine showing up at a government office to apply for unemployment or to register the birth of a child - you're asked for your papers, and the clerk destroys them in front of you because you are not a citizen. Something you didn't realize until that very moment. That's what happened to thousands of Slovenian residents after Slovenia gained independence in 1991. 18,000 people -- or roughly one percent of the population -- were purged from the official residence records. Thus the name they call themselves: The Erased. This week a group of the Erased traveled from Slovenia to Italy, France and Belgium to draw attention to their tragic fate.
George Orwell once lived in Paris, but he may not have had it particularly in mind when he wrote 1984 and created the concept of Big Brother keeping watch over citizens. Today technology is becoming ever more a part of the fabric of ordinary life. At the start of the new school term, the biometrical scanning of pupils’ hand prints as a way of paying for meals has appeared in more school canteens in France. With computers, mobile phones, chip and pin payment systems, not to mention surveillance equipment our movements are being traced and tracked as never before.
An almost immediate impact of the attacks on the US in 2001 in Britain was a move to bring in legislation giving police wider powers, notably to act on suspicion of terrorist activity. Some see such initatives on the part of the British government as sensible and effective prevention steps. Others have raised concerns over abuse of rights.
German’s were shocked to find that those believed to be behind the attacks on the US five years ago, had worked on their plan in one of its own cities. The authorities try to work out how to move forward, to protect themselves and others, while dealing with its particular history, and recent policy of welcoming foreigners.
Network Europe reporters ask ordinary citizens what they think about how 9/11 has affected their lives. From living in fear to “nothing has changed”, to embracing religion, or embracing the United States, depending on who you are and where you are.
Polish people feel vulnerable and wonder if they are could be on a terrorist hit-list because they have shown support for the US war on terror. So the level of suspicion is high and tighter anti-terror laws are on the cards.
In Sweden’s civil liberties take a knock after the authorities take preventive measures against possible terrorist attacks. There’s serious debate about whether it’s necessary to snoop into people’s internet research or phone calls. And self-censorship raises its ugly head.
After last month’s failed bomb attacks on two German trains, German police identified both men with the help of video footage from closed ciruit TV cameras, or CCTV. The two men were caught on video cameras dragging their suitcases containing the bombs through Cologne's central station. The release of the images has prompted a flurry of calls by German politicians for increased video surveillance. For one, Deutsche Bahn, the German railway operator, has announced that it will significantly beef up video surveillance in many of Germany’s train stations.
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