Human Rights

15 Sep: Civil society, the missing link in addressing corruption and human rights violations.

Editor’s Blog: Produced in collaboration with the EU Buzz team 

Corruption and human rights in third countries are frequently discussed in foreign policy debates in Brussels and this year the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the European Union to integrate the fight against corruption into its human rights agenda. It also emphasised that the EU had a duty to protect anti-corruption associations, investigative journalists and whistle-blowers who work to expose corruption and human rights violations. The adoption of this resolution follows the adoption of a similar one made in 2017 under the previous parliamentary mandate. 

In both the …

15 Jul: European Instrument for Human Rights and Democracy

Editor’s Blog: Produced in collaboration with the EU Buzz team 

The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) was a little known but very effective thematic instrument of the European Union which directly supported grass roots civil society organisations in cooperation with the EU Delegation in country. Under the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), which promotes a ‘Global Europe’ for 2021-2027, EIDHR will be replaced by the Human Rights and Democracy thematic programme. Due to the success of EIDHR in addressing multiple human rights and democracy issues, which avoided funds going through governments, civil society organisations …

09 Jul: Human rights breaches in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and Iran

(Source: European Parliament)

Chinese and Hong Kong authorities must stop arresting, harassing and intimidating journalistsSaudi Arabia must stop executing child offendersIran must halt the imminent execution of Swedish-Iranian academic Ahmadreza Djalali

On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted three resolutions on the human rights situation in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Hong Kong, notably the case of Apple Daily

Parliament condemns in the strongest terms the recent forced closure of the Apple Daily newspaper in Hong Kong, the continued freezing of its assets and the arrests of its journalists. This is yet another step by Chinese authorities to dismantle free …

28 Jun: Double standards on human rights

Editor’s Blog: Produced in collaboration with the EU Buzz team 

Human rights and democracy are not “European” nor “Western” principles but universal values to which all UN members subscribe. However, within European affairs, and Europe’s desire for increased recognition, influence and trade, contradictions in its policies, especially regarding its commitment to human rights are becoming more and more evident. As a result, and noted in the recent publication of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024, whilst proactive steps forward have been made, there has also been a pushback against human rights. The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and …

10 Jun: Human rights breaches at the Spanish/Moroccan border, in Russia, and in Sri Lanka

(Source: European Parliament)

Morocco must end the use of unaccompanied minors to pressure SpainRussia must release Andrei Pivovarov and halt reprisals against political opponentsSri Lanka must repeal controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)

On Thursday, Parliament adopted three resolutions on the human rights situation at the Spanish/Moroccan border, in Russia, and in Sri Lanka.

The breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the use of minors by the Moroccan authorities in the migratory crisis in Ceuta

Parliament rejects Morocco’s use of border control and migration, and unaccompanied minors in particular, as political pressure against Spain. …

21 May: A stronger Europe in the world will require clear messaging.

Editor’s Blog: Produced in collaboration with the EU Buzz team 

When it comes to foreign policy, Europe is awash with mixed messaging. There appears to be no clear strategy, and worst of all, no clear principles. It is very difficult to comprehend how the European Union will achieve its fourth priority “a stronger Europe in the world”. 

Ursula von der Leyen has stated that the EU endorses a multilateral rules-based order by ‘strengthening our unique brand of responsible global leadership’. In February 2021, the European Commission, jointly with the High Representative/Vice President of the Commission (HR/VP), Josep Borrell, adopted a …

20 May: Human rights: Chad, Haiti and Armenian prisoners of war in Azerbaijan

(Source: European Parliament)

Azerbaijan must end degrading treatment of Armenian prisoners of warChadian authorities must ensure a return to constitutional orderHaitian authorities must organise new, free and fair elections

On Thursday, MEPs adopted three resolutions on the human rights situation in Chad and Haiti, and the situation for Armenian prisoners of war in Azerbaijan.

Prisoners of war in the aftermath of the most recent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Parliament deplores the violence that took place during the most recent war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh area between 27 September and 10 November last year. MEPs also express …

20 May: MEPs call for better protection of migrants from human rights violations

(Source: European Parliament)

Commission should sign readmission agreements with third countries, replacing informal agreementsOverview of EU funds used to finance migration cooperation neededCall for an independent and accessible complaints mechanism

Parliament criticises the European Commission and some EU countries for overusing informal agreements on the return and readmission of irregular migrants.

On Wednesday, Parliament adopted a report by 358 votes in favour, 309 against, with 26 abstentions providing recommendations on human rights protection in the framework of the EU’s external asylum and migration policy.

The text notes that, since 2016, the EU and some member states have made many informal …

19 May: External migration: Speech on behalf of High Representative / Vice-President Josep Borrell at the EP debate

(Source: EEAS)

Speech delivered by Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi on Human rights protection and the EU external migration policy

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Madam President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,

Migration is a key policy area for the European Union. This debate today is a timely opportunity to discuss the human rights aspects of our external migration policy. I would like to thank Ms [Tineke] Strik for her report.

As the report highlights, migrants and refugees are among the most vulnerable groups in the world. I am deeply saddened that loss of lives continues to occur on …

08 May: EU and Azerbaijan discuss human rights, democracy and justice

(Source: EEAS) 

On 8 May, Ambassador Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the EU Delegation in Baku met with Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev.

Ambassador  Jankauskas welcomed the decision of the Azerbaijani Bar Association to reinstate human rights lawyers Shahla Humbatova and Irada Javadova and emphasised the expectation that the review of the remaining cases of disbarred and suspended lawyers will follow. The Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan underlined that human rights lawyers are pillars of the rule of law and play a key role in protecting democratic values.

This meeting drew to a close the 9th EU-Azerbaijan Subcommittee on …