The regional overview summarizes the human rights situation and developments in the region throughout 2017.
The space for civil society continued to shrink across Europe and Central Asia region. In Eastern Europe and in Central Asia, a discourse hostile to human rights remained prevalent. Human rights defenders, activists, the media and political opposition were frequently targeted by authorities. Across the region, the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of opinion and expression came under attack. Public protests were met with a range of restrictive measures and excessive use of force by police. Governments continued to implement a range of counter-terrorism measures disproportionately restricting people’s rights in the name of security. Millions of people faced an erosion of their economic, social and cultural rights, which led to diminished social protection, increased inequality and systemic discrimination. States repeatedly failed to meet their protection responsibilities towards refugees and migrants. Women and girls continued to experience systemic human rights violations and abuses, including torture and other ill-treatment, and faced widespread gender-based violence. Discrimination and stigmatization of minorities remained common with groups facing harassment and violence. Some prisoners of conscience were released.