Davide Zaru - Policy Desk Officer DG RELEX, Human Rights and Democratisation Unit . The EU’s External Human Rights Policy - a Commission perspective. Outline. Historic overview and legal basis The players involved The tool box HR Guidelines HR Dialogues HR Clause GSP+.
DG RELEX, Human Rights and Democratisation UnitThe EU’s External Human Rights Policy - a Commission perspective
Historic overview and legal basis
The players involved
The tool box
The Economic Community & the Council of Europe/ECHR
The European Court of Justice (« general principles of law » - MS common constitutional traditions and ECHR)
Introduction of HR in external and internal policies in the 90's:
Enlargement process (Copenhagen criteria)
Charter on Fundamental Rights
“The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States” (Amsterdam Treaty (1999) Article 6)
“The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.
These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail” (TEU, article 2).
Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) objective to “develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms” (Art 11 TEU)
“In its relations with the wider world, the Union shall uphold and promote its values and interests and contribute to the protection of its citizens. It shall contribute to peace, security, the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter (TEU, article 3)
The EU shall define and pursue policies to “consolidate and support democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the principles of international law” (TEU, article 21)
Community development co-operation policy and economic, financial and technical cooperation measures with third countries “shall contribute to the general objective of developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law, and to that of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms” (Art 177 and Article 181 TEC)
“Union policy in the field of development cooperation shall be conducted within the framework of the principles and objectives of the Union's external action. Union development cooperation policy shall have as its primary objective the reduction and, in the long term, the eradication of poverty. The Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries.
The Union and the Member States shall comply with the commitments and take account of the objectives they have approved in the context of the United Nations and other competent international organisations”. (art. 208)
The principles and objectives of the external action of the EU apply to economic, financial and technical cooperation (art. 212)
“The Union shall have legal personality” (art. 47).
“The Union shall accede to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”
“The Union recognises the rights, freedoms and principles set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union of 7 December 2000, as adapted at Strasbourg, on 12 December 2007, which shall have the same legal value as the Treaties”.
Council of the European Union:
EU Member States / Presidency (SE, ES, BE)
COHOM – Working Group on Human Rights
High Representative of the CFSP (+Special Representatives; Personal Representative of the SG/HR for Human Rights)
European Commission: RELEX (B1); EUROPEAID; DEV + JLS, TRADE etc
High Representative/Vice President (consistency and coordination of EU external action, chairs Foreign Affairs Council)
European External Action Service: ??
Role and tools of the EP in the EU's HR policy?
Human Rights Sub-Committee
Assent to agreements
Annual report on Human Rights
MINUTES: meeting of 30 September 2009 and 1 October 2009, from 09.00 to 12.30, Brussels
5. Human Rights in Russia with the participation of:
Speakers: Stanislav Dmitryevski, editor-in-chief of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society newspaper, Pravozashchita, Karinna Moskalenko, Human Rights Lawyer, Sergei Kovalev, Human Rights defender
Magomed Khazbiev (representative of the Ingushetian opposition,replacing Karinna Moskalenko), Jan Nordlander (Ambassador at Large for Human Rights, Swedish Presidency), Rolf Timans (European Commission), Thijs Berman, Barbara Lochbihler, Vytautas Landsbergis, Werner Schulz, Oksana Chelysheva (Russian-Chechen Friendship Society), Elsa Vidal (RWB), Leonidas Donskis, Andrei Nekrasov (Film director, United Civil Front (OGF), Russia), Eduard Kukan, Andrzej Grzyb, Metin Kazak, László Tőkés, Cristian Dan Preda, the Chair
European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2009 on the murder of human rights activists in Russia
The European Parliament,
1. Unreservedly condemns and strongly deplores the harassment and attacks on the lives of human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists in Russia;
8. Calls for a stepping-up of the EU-Russia human rights consultations and urges that this consultation process be opened to effective input from the European Parliament, the State Duma, the Russian judicial authorities and civil society and human rights organisations; calls on Russia to respect fully its obligations as a member of the OSCE and of the Council of Europe, including respect for the right of association and the right to peaceful demonstrations; stresses its position that the protection of human rights should be a privileged item on the agenda of the next EU-Russia summit and become an integral part of the new EU-Russia agreement;
10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.
Question:Is the Commission satisfied that the Government of Uzbekistan is honouring its commitment under international conventions on human rights, especially in relation to its Christian minority?
Answer given by Mrs Ferrero-Waldner on behalf of the Commission:
The EU attaches great importance to the freedom of religious beliefs.
The EU is concerned about the situation with the freedom of religion in Uzbekistan.
In its Conclusions on Uzbekistan of 13 October 2008 the Council urges the Uzbek authorities to implement their international obligations in the area of human rights and encourages Uzbekistan to continue progress in the direction of human rights, democratisation and the rule of law.
The issue of religious freedom, situation with Christian minority in particular and an individual case of Pastor Shestakov were raised by the EU in the annual Human Rights Dialogue with Uzbekistan held in Tashkent on 9 June 2009. The EU urged Uzbek authorities to ensure respect for the human rights of religious believers and to ensure that they are able to carry out their peaceful activities. The EU also urged the release of those who have been imprisoned solely because of their religious beliefs or practices.
PRIX SAKHAROV murder of human rights activists in RussiaPour la liberté de l'esprit
PRIX SAKHAROVPour la liberté de l'esprit
2008 Hu Jia (China)
2007 Salih Mahmoud Osman (Sudan)
2006 Alexander Milinkevitch (Belarus)
2005 Damas de Blanco (Cuba), Hauw a Ibrahim (Nigeria) and Reporters Without Borders
2004 Zhanna Litvina (Belarusian association of Journalists)
2003 UN and Kofi Annan
1998 Ibrahim Rugova (Kosovo)
1993 Oslobodjenje (Bosnia)
1989 Alexander Dubcek (CZ)
Assent to Agreements murder of human rights activists in Russia
Annual Report on Human Rights
EU statements; Demarches
Political dialogue, including HR dialogues*
Human Rights Clauses*
Multilateral action – UN, CoE, OSCE*
Mainstreaming HR in external policies
ENP; EU accession process
Case study 2 – EU Statements on Human Rights murder of human rights activists in Russia
Declaration by the Presidency on Behalf of the European Union on the 1,000th Execution by Lethal Injection in the United States of America
July 21, 2009
The European Union notes with deep regret that, with the execution of Mr. Marvallous Keene by the State of Ohio on 21 July, the United States has carried out its 1,000th execution by lethal injection since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.
The European Union is opposed to the use of capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances and has consistently called for its universal abolition. We believe that the abolition of the death penalty is essential to protect human dignity, and to the progressive development of human rights. The European Union considers this punishment cruel and inhuman. It has not been found to act as a deterrent, and any miscarriage of justice – which is inevitable in any legal system – is irreversible. Consequently, the death penalty is abolished throughout the European Union.
The European Union also recalls that, on December 18, 2008, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on the death penalty, reaffirming its Resolution adopted in December 2007, which calls upon all nations that still use the death penalty to institute a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the practice.The European Union warmly welcomes and values its cooperation with the United States on a wide range of human rights concerns around the world. The European Union therefore takes this opportunity to renew its call to the United States federal and state authorities for a moratorium on the application of the death penalty, pending its complete legal abolition.
Adopted in 1998 and revised in 2008, DP Guidelines form the basis for EU action.
Provide criteria for making general or individual representations & outline minimum standards to be applied in countries retaining the death penalty.
A policy area where there is a strong EU consensus.
The EU is the only international actor to actively pursue the abolition of the DP as a policy goal.
State that « the abolition of the DP contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights »
Establish the EU objectives as:
Working towards the universal abolition of the DP as a strongly held policy view agreed by all MS
Where the DP still exists, to call for its use to be progressively restricted and to insist that it be carried out according to minimum standards
The EU to intensify its initiatives, including declarations or demarches on the DP, on international fora and towards other countries.
Every year, the EU carried out numerous demarches worldwide (on individual cases, general use of the DP, UN General Assembly action).
The EU will raise the issue of DP in its dialogue with third countries (call for abolition, or at least a moratorium)
Demarche when policy of the third country is in flux/”countries on the cusp” campaign
Demarche or public statement where countries take steps towards abolition
Other initiatives may include human rights reporting, encouraging third countries to accede to international or regional instruments, raising the issue in multilateral fora, bilateral and multilateral co-operation, e.g. UN General Assembly (UNGA) Declaration 19 Dec. 2006, UNGA Resolution 18 December 2007, EU and Council of Europe initiative for the European Day against the Death Penalty (10 Oct.)
The EU does not and cannot carry out demarches on all individual cases.
EU will consider a demarche in cases which violate the UN minimum standards.
Speed and facts are essential.
Sources: EU missions and Delegations, international and local NGOs.
Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union regarding the recent executions of nine persons in Xinjiang (12 November 2009)
The European Union condemns the recent executions of nine persons in Xinjiang following the violent protests in Ürümqi on
July 5-7, 2009.
The EU respects China's right to bring those responsible for violent action to justice but reaffirms its longstanding opposition to the use of the death penalty under all circumstances. The EU also recalls that in case the death penalty is maintained, internationally recognised minimum standards must be respected. These include all possible safeguards to ensure a fair trial and adequate representation.
The EU reiterates its concerns about the conditions under which the trials were conducted, especially with regard to whether due process and other safeguards for a fair trial were respected. The EU calls on China to review urgently the cases of those who remain under sentence of death for their alleged involvement in this year's unrest and for their sentences to be commuted.
The EU continues to call on Chinese authorities to abolish the death penalty completely and, as a first step, to establish a moratorium as urged by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolutions 62/149 and 63/168.
Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on executions by stoning in Somalia, 18 November 2009
The European Union condemns the recent executions by stoning in Al Shabab-controlled areas of Somalia, including of a woman accused of adultery, close to the town of Wajid, and of Abas Hussein Abdirahman, in the town of Merka.
The European Union recalls its opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances and regrets the continued occurrence of executions in Somalia. Execution by stoning is a particularly cruel and inhuman form of punishment.
The European Union calls on all relevant parties to refrain from and abolish the practice of executions and to respect human rights and international humanitarian law at large. The European Union also calls on all relevant parties to ensure that the practice of execution by stoning is effectively and permanently terminated in the country, in conformity with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, both of which Somalia has acceded to.
The European Union calls on the relevant parties to prevent the execution of the woman who was condemned to death together with Abas Hussein Abdirahman.
Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the situation in Zimbabwe, 12 November 2009
The European Union is concerned by the arrest on Sunday 8 November of five prominent members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, including ZCTU President, Mr Lovemore Matombo, and their continued detention.
This follows a number of other recent cases of harassment and intimidation directed against political activists and members of Zimbabwean civil society. The European Union also finds it most disturbing to learn about the alleged torture in incommunicado detention of MDC member Pascal Gwezere.The EU calls for the early release of Mr Matombo and his colleagues and for a halt to all state violence and intimidation of members of civil society and political activists in Zimbabwe.It supports the recent call of regional governments for the speedy implementation of the GPA, following the SADC Organ summit in Maputo. The EU urges the parties to the GPA to find a way forward to resolve their differences.
Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders supplemented by Manual and 2006 Council conclusions
UN definition: “…individuals, groups and organs of society that promote and protect universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms”
Activities of HR defenders: documentation of violations, seeking remedies for victims of such violations, combating cultures of impunity
EU monitoring, reporting and assessment
EU embassies/delegations to support and protect HR defenders by coordinating and sharing information (local HRD strategy); maintaining contacts; providing visibility; observing trials (Orlov vs Kadyrov trial)
Statements and demarches (Estemirova)
Presidency Statement on Azerbaijan Union on the situation in Zimbabwe, 12 November 2009
12 November 2009
The Presidency of the European Union expresses its concern with respect to the verdict against the two bloggers, Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, which was pronounced on 11 November by the Sabail District court in Baku. The Presidency regrets that the trial proceedings did not reflect due process and believes that the court decision may further undermine the freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.
The Presidency recalls that Azerbaijan has committed itself to the principles of democracy, good governance and the respect for the rule of law and human rights, when joining the OSCE and the Council of Europe, as well as in the context of its relationship with the European Union.
The Presidency reiterates that the European Union is willing and ready to assist Azerbaijan in developing its democratic institutions, while offering the prospects of a deeper bilateral relationship within the framework of the Eastern Partnership.
Cooperation assistance: governance/democracy building - e.g. legal, judicial and administrative reform, national human rights institutions, electoral framework, independent media
Geographic instruments – EDF, DCI, ENPI, IPA
Thematic programmes - EIDHR (European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights)
Direct grants to NGOs via calls for proposals
No government approval
countries and regions where HR are most at risk
Strengthening role of civil society
Supporting actions in areas of EU Guidelines (Torture, Death Penalty, Human Rights Defenders etc)
Strengthening the international and regional HR frameworks
Election Observation Missions
UN General Assembly Third Committee
UN Human Rights Council
Council of Europe
Other regional HR systems
Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on Georgia (12 November 2009)
The European Union expresses its deep concern with respect to the recent detentions of Georgian citizens, especially the detention of four minors at the administrative boundary line to South Ossetia, Georgia, on 4 November and urges for a rapid release of all detained persons.
The European Union underlines the need to take into account the specific rights of underage detainees in accordance with international standards, in particular the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The European Union urges all sides to address incidents of this kind within existing mechanisms, in particular to make full use of the good offices offered by the European Union Monitoring Mission and of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism. In this context the European Union underlines its support of the Geneva talks and calls for constructive and sustained engagement from all sides.The European Union calls on all parties to use their influence to prevent incidents of this kind from taking place and reiterates its full respect for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Section 3: Human Rights Dialogues the human rights situation in Iraq (11 November 2009)
Case study 3: EU Russia HR dialogue the human rights situation in Iraq (11 November 2009)
Presidency press statement on EU/Russian Federation human rights consultations
On November 5, 2009, the European Union and the Russian Federation held the tenth round of human rights consultations in Stockholm. The human rights consultations between the EU and the Russian Federation took place for the first time in March 2005.
The consultations were held in an open and constructive atmosphere.
At the consultations the EU and Russia continued to address the human rights situation and developments in their respective countries, with a particular focus on cooperation in international human rights fora including the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE, the functioning of civil society, rule of law and judiciary reform, protection of human rights in the fight against terrorism and the fight against racism and discrimination. The EU raised a number of concerns related to specific human rights issues in the Russian Federation, including in the Northern Caucasus. The EU also provided answers to Russia’s concerns about certain human rights issues in the EU. Both sides will continue to provide clarifications on individual cases of concern in the respective countries. There was an exchange of ideas on how EU and Russia could increase their practical cooperation in the area of human rights.
In keeping with the EU’s practice of incorporating the voice of civil society into its meetings on human rights with third countries, the EU met representatives of Russian and international NGOs prior to the consultations. The representatives of the Russian NGOs also met experts and Parliamentarians in Stockholm on November 5 at a roundtable to discuss the human rights situation in Russia and the prospects of more practical cooperation between the EU and Russia in the field of human rights.
The next regular human rights consultations are planned to take place in the spring of 2010.
2 day event: NGO roundtable & consultations
Presidency capital or Brussels (not Moscow)
COM (inter DG)
Russian MFA (no line Ministries)
Interaction with NGOs
Reciprocity: HR situation in the EU and Russia
Thematic issues covered, include freedom of media, expression and assembly; the functioning of civil society; the rights of persons belonging to minorities; fight against terrorism; racism and xenophobia and the rights of children and women
Non-thematic issues: Northern Caucasus.
Co-operation in international fora (UN, CoE, OSCE)
Individual cases (EU (and Russian) lists)
Identifying future areas for cooperation
Seeking to improve the human rights situation
Discussing questions of mutual interest and enhancing cooperation on human rights in international fora
Identifying areas for practical cooperation
Raising individual cases
Structured Human Rights dialogue China
Agreement-based dialogues: dialogues based on human rights clauses in trade and cooperation agreements. Tunisia
Ad hoc dialogues: all other dialogues and consultations on human rights either set up locally or otherwise. Russia
Troika consultations on human rights issues USA
(Ad hoc) Israel
EU-Belarus HR dialogue, May 2009
EU Guidelines on HR dialogues
Agreement on modalities
NGOs and the EU-Russia HR consultations
assess interests of stakeholders
Russian NGO Leaders Call for a Change in the Mechanism for Human Rights Consultations with the EU (27 May 2009)
Brussels, 27th May 2009. Leaders of Russian NGOs visiting Brussels for Human Rights Consultations with the EU criticised the current structure of the consultations when speaking at the EU-Russia Centre yesterday.
Three experts criticised the current system of a selection of activist groups meeting EU officials in the first instance, followed by a separate meeting between those officials and their Russian counterparts. This meant that opposing points of view were put across in isolation, leading to potential confusion and misunderstanding.
Lev Ponomarev of For Human Rights, All Russia Public Movement called for an alternative meeting of all parties around a table, so that all elements of the agenda could be discussed jointly. He also sought the establishment of a taskforce to collect information on any human rights violations in Russia that could report to relevant officials in the EU and act as a rapid reaction group to give on the spot information, with an annual report for wider distribution. (..)
Summing up, Fraser Cameron of the EU-Russia Centre stated a belief that the EU could and should put more pressure on Russia to make the existing human rights consultations more meaningful in order to effect real change. “There is a need to reflect on how the EU and the West as a whole can support human rights organisations in Russia at a number of levels at summits, at ministerial exchanges and most importantly among individuals.”
Front Line's briefing paper in view of the forthcoming EU-Russia HR Consultations
Atmosphere of impunity and the failure of the Russian authorities to investigate the attacks against human rights defenders and to bring to justice those responsible
A climate of impunity currently prevails in Russia for those who have carried out grave human rights violations. The lack of independent and effective investigations and hostile rhetoric towards human rights defenders by representatives of state authorities facilitates the impunity of perpetrators and the
increasing harassment and persecution of human rights defenders in the Russian Federation.
In accordance with the EU Guidelines on HRDs, Front Line calls on the EU and its Member States
1. Maintain suitable contacts with Russian HRDs, and organise regular meetings with them;
2. Provide Russian HRDs with visible recognition of their legitimate work;
3. Where appropriate, visit HRDs in custody or under house arrest and attend their trials as
4. Raise individual cases with Russian authorities and remind them of their obligation to implement
effective measures to protect human rights defenders who are or could be in danger;
5. Provide measures for swift assistance and protection to HRDs in danger, such as emergency
visas and temporary shelter in the EU Member States.
Involvement of NGOs (Moscow, Brussels) – consultation & debriefing
NGO Roundtable on the eve of the consultations (Russian NGOs)
Information of EP (DROI)
What is the impact of the consultations?
Dialogue for the sake of dialogue?
« a human rights box »?
How are the consultations integrated in the political dialogue (Summit, demarches) and broader EU-Russia relations (PCA; Common Spaces)?
How to ensure coherence and consistency? (JLS visa dialogue)
How reciprocal is it?
Do we need benchmarks?
Securing political will from both sides
Linkage with assistance
Responding to public and EP pressure and expectations
Allocating EU ressources
Addressing EU consistency between internal and external policies
Interaction with civil society
Monitoring HR developments; Reporting on cases and trends
Liaising with civil society and stakeholders
Including HR on the agenda of the political dialogue
Preparing and attending HR dialogues
Building EU consensus (COHOM, HoMs)
Carrying out démarches; making statements
Promoting our policies and values inside and outside the institutions
Values versus interests
Double standards or double Dutch?
Synergy between EU instruments
Speaking with one voice?
The EU, a key global payer or player in human rights?
European Commission External Relations http://ec.europa.eu/comm/external_relations/index.htm
EU in the world
European Commission Delegations
Council of the European Union
Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) EU-Russia HR Consultations
GSP+ EU-Russia HR Consultations
GSP+ EU-Russia HR Consultations
GSP+: some challenges EU-Russia HR Consultations
Standard in most agreements since 1995 (HR as essential element)
“Respect for human rights and democratic principles as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights underpins the domestic and international policies of the Parties, and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement” & suspension clause
Basis for positive and negative measures -Its violation can, as a last resort, lead to the suspension of the agreement or parts thereof
Important part of an emerging core of the EU's identity in conducting foreign policy – they reflect the EU values and strategic interests.
Political clauses included systematically in agreements with third countries(more than 120 countries; Cotonou 78 third countries)
Framework agreement vs Sector agreement
Cotonou Agreement article 96
Non-execution of one of the obligations of the agreement – dialogue procedure
Material breach of an essential element (« special urgency ») - possibility for immediate suspension
Human rights, democracy and rule of law clause (essential element)
Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (essential element)
Fight against terrorism
International Criminal Court
Small arms and light weapons
Other standard clauses
Good governance in the area of taxation
Negotiating directives in principle provide for all political clauses to be included based on the agreed standard wording
Lack of flexibility
« Cost » of an essential element clause (GCC)
HR clause perceived as a unilateral sanction mechanism
Potential use to suspend specific trade concessions
Like-minded countries want differential treatment (South Korea)
Proliferation of political clauses
So far, only invoked in relation to ACP countries
Only invoked on occasions of significant regression from the status quo, rather than on lack of progress
Never invoked as a basis to suspend trade concessions
Led to partial or total suspension of aid and other measures (visa refusal, asset freeze)
one case led to a total or almost total suspension (Togo 1998) plus Sudan, (since 1990 though not based on article 96, but decided on an ad-hoc basis);
in two cases, no suspension (Guinea-Bissau in 1999 and 2003).
In 15 cases partial suspension was decided (Niger (1996), Comoros (1999), Niger (1999), Ivory Coast (2000 and 2002), Fiji (2000 and 2007 ongoing), Haiti (2000), Liberia (2001), Guinea-Conakry (2003-ongoing), Zimbabwe (2002-ongoing), Central African Republic (2003), Togo (2003 and 2004), Mauritania (2005; 2008).
Limit the addition of new clauses
Limit political clauses to framework agreements
Linkage sector/free trade agreements and framework agreements
Limit essential element to HR (and WMD)