"To many friends of human rights in Europe, the Arab Spring has been the most thrilling period since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Judging from their soaring rhetoric about yearning for freedom among Arab peoples, European Union leaders share that enthusiasm. Today there is an opportunity, the optimists proclaim, to have an arc of human rights-respecting countries around much of the Mediterranean rim.
The reality of human rights policy in Europe itself and toward its Mediterranean perimeter has been far less edifying. Documents discovered in Libya by Human Rights Watch in September 2011 evidenced British complicity in rendition to Libya under Muammar Gaddafi. Italy, which was willing to send African migrants and asylum seekers back to Libya during the Gaddafi era to face abuse and worse, moved quickly to sign a migration cooperation agreement with the transitional authorities there (although at this writing it has yet to resume forced returns). EU governments have proved reluctant to help migrants and others fleeing war-torn Libya. The arrival of thousands of Tunisian migrants in Italy beginning in January led leading EU governments to question free movement inside the EU, one of its fundamental pillars.
Move beyond the fine words and human rights in Europe are in trouble. A new (or rather a resurgent old) idea is on the march: that the rights of “problematic” minorities must be set aside for the greater good, and elected politicians who pursue such policies are acting with democratic legitimacy."
Europe has, in some ways, reacted no better than America to the threat of terrorism
Europe’s Own Human Rights Crisis | Human Rights Watch: