Unit B/1 - Human Rights and Democratisation December 2008 The External Human Rights Policy of the European Union
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights « All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights « (article 1) The Second World War and the post-war context The foundation of international human rights law • http://www.knowyourrights2008.org/
What are human rights? • Human rights are inherent in every human being - the law does not grant rights, but recognises them • Human rights are a concern of all • A common standard of achievement for all • They regulate relations between the State and individuals • In brief: they apply equally to everyone, everywhere and always
EU legal basis 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 Member States (1993:Treaty on European Union- TEU, article 6) Common Foreign and Security Policy objective to “develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms” (TEU, article 11) Community development co-operation policy and economic, financial and technical cooperation 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” (TEC, articles 171 and 181).
Why HR/D in external policy? A moral conviction Internal consensus Projection of EU values and principles Interest in promoting stability, security and prosperity
Charter on Fundamental Rights The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission signed and solemnly proclaimed the Charter on Fundamental Rights of the European Union on 7 December 2000 in Nice The EU Charter sets out in a single text the whole range of civil, political, economic and social rights of European citizens and all persons resident in the EU The Reform Treaty (the Treaty of Lisbon) guarantees the freedoms and principles set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and gives its provisions a binding legal force in all countries except Poland and the United Kingdom The provisions of the Charter are addressed to the institutions of the Union and apply to the Member States only when they are implementing Union law
Policy tools • Diplomatic tools • Council conclusions; Common strategies and common positions; Joint actions • Political dialogue and consultations (bilateral, regional) • Démarches • Declarations (EU, Presidency, HoMs – Heads of Mission) • International and regional fora (UN, OSCE, CoE) • HR Guidelines • “Carrots and Sticks” • HR Clause in agreements • Financial assistance • Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), Free Trade Agreements • Autonomous sanctions / restrictive measures
EU Human Rights Guidelines • Human rights dialogues (2001) • Death penalty (1998 – update 2008) • Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (2001- update 2008) • Children and armed conflict (2003) • Human rights defenders (2004) • Rights of the Child (2007) • Violence against women (2008) + International Humanitarian Law (2005)
EU Human Rights Guidelines • The EU Guidelines provide the general framework for EU action in a specific area towards third countries, as well as in multilateral human rights fora, such as the UN. • The guidelines do not create new legal obligations, but are the expression of a political commitment to carry out systematic and sustained action in a specific area of human rights. • The Guidelines foresee the use of all available tools of diplomacy and cooperation to reach their objectives, most notably through political dialogue, demarches and assistance under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
Human Rights defenders Guidelines supplemented by Manual (2004) and Council conclusions (2006) 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 2008: 10th anniversary of the UN Human Rights Defenders Declaration
EU role – HR defenders EU monitoring, reporting and assessment EU embassies/delegations to support and protect HR defenders by coordinating and sharing information; maintaining contacts; providing visibility; observing trials Statements and demarches Support to UN special procedures; special representative on HR defenders
Objectives of HR dialogues • Discussing questions of mutual interest and enhancing cooperation on human rights • Registering the concern felt by the EU at the human rights situation in the country concerned, information gathering and endeavouring to improve the human rights situation
Human rights dialogues • More than 30 HR dialogues ongoing • Structured Human Rights dialogues, such as with China • Agreement-based dialogues: dialogues based on human rights clauses in trade and cooperation agreements (e.g. Jordan) • Troika consultations on human rights issues (e.g. US, Japan) • Ad hoc dialogues: all other dialogues and consultations on human rights either set up locally or otherwise (e.g. Turkmenistan) • Human rights raised during political dialogue meetings with third countries
EU Election Observation Missions (EU EOMs) 70 EU EOMs since 2000: +50 Countries - Over 4000 Observers deployed Increasing Activity : 7 EOMs in 2004 12 EOMs in 2005 14 EOMs in 2006 10 EOMs in 2007 10 EOMs in 2008 The Compendium of International Standards for Elections and the Handbook for EU Election Observation are available on the European Commission website http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/human_rights/eu_election_ass_observ/docs/handbook_en.pdf
Human rights clause Standard in most agreements since 1995 (exception for trade agreements with industrialised countries) “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” Basis for positive and negative measures
Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) • GSP may be withdrawn for violations of human rights or export of goods made by prison labour • Withdrawal of GSP: Myanmar (forced labour) and Belarus (freedom of association for workers) • GSP+ : incentive arrangements offered to vulnerable countries which have ratified and implemented core UN/ILO human rights and labour rights conventions as well as environment and good governance principles
International fora • UN General Assembly Third Committee & Human Rights Council (Coordination, initiatives) • OSCE (Permanent Council, Human Dimension Meeting) • Council of Europe
Financial Assistance • European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) • Direct grants to civil society actors worldwide • Flexible; complementary to other cooperation programmes • Priorities: HR Guidelines; promotion of democracy • Election Observation Missions • Geographic cooperation instruments (e.g. ENPI, DCI) support institutional reform (e.g. legal, judicial and administrative reform, national human rights institutions, electoral processes, independent media)
EU annual human rights report • http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/human_rights/intro/index.htm This 10th EU Annual Report on Human Rights covers the actions and policies undertaken by the European Union between 1 July 2007 and 30 June 2008 in pursuit of its goals to promote universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. While not an exhaustive account, it highlights human rights issues that have given cause for concern and what the EU has done to address these, both within and outside the Union.
This brochure presents an overview of the EU human rights and democratisation policy, including human rights promotion in the EU’s legal system; tools and mechanisms under the CFSP (including EU human rights guidelines); the EIDHR funding as well as key thematic issues. The European Union: Furthering human rights and democracy across the globe
Websites • European Commission External Relationshttp://ec.europa.eu/comm/external_relations/human_rights/adp/index.htm • EuropeAid http://ec.europa.eu/comm/europeaid/projects/eidhr/index_en.htm • European Commission Delegations http://ec.europa.eu/comm/external_relations/delegations/intro/web.htm • Council of the European Union http://www.consilium.europa.eu/showPage.asp?id=248&lang=en&mode=g • European Parliament http://www.europarl.europa.eu/comparl/afet/droi/default.htm