Portugal 'ranks high' on human rights, still 'deficient' in some areas

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 08-11-2018 08:34:00 · 0 Comments
Portugal 'ranks high' on human rights, still 'deficient' in some areas

Portugal has come from nowhere to the first division in terms of human rights over the past 40 years, but remains "deficient" in issues such as the integration of minorities and gender equality, according to the commissioner appointed to oversee commemorations in the country of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.

In an interview with Lusa, academica and politician Vital Moreira, stressed the decisive role played by Portugal’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights in 1978, four years after a military coup had brought down the Salazar dictatorship.

"We are proud of having, in 40 years, gone from nothing to the first division in the protection of human rights, but we should want Portugal to be among the leaders," he argued.

"It is a historical achievement what Portugal has achieved,” he went on: “from being a reprobate of the international human rights order to being a country in the first rank, which has enormous prestige and authority [with] an active human rights policy" in the United Nations, European Union and Community of Portuguese-Language Countries (CPLP).

While there are no serious or repeated violations of human rights in Portugal, Moreira said, there are areas where improvement is needed.

"We should take the change to improve the aspects of human rights in which Portugal is still deficient,” he said. “For example, gender equality, female genital mutilation, inclusion of ethnic minorities, guarantees of criminal prosecution and prison conditions."

On activities to mark the two historical dates in Portugal for international human rights protection, Moreira said he hoped that these can help boost awareness of human rights in the country, which "is relatively low", he maintained.

"As in Portugal the freedoms of expression, of opinion, of religion, of assembly, nor of demonstrating, are not in question, we don’t see them as human rights issues, but in 1974 they were,” he recalled, referring to the military coup and Revolution that ushered in democracy in the country after four decades of dictatorship.


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