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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+.

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Davide zaru policy desk officer dg relex human rights and democratisation unit l.jpg

Davide Zaru - Policy Desk Officer

DG RELEX, Human Rights and Democratisation Unit

The EU’s External Human Rights Policy - a Commission perspective

Outline l.jpg

Historic overview and legal basis

The players involved

The tool box

HR Guidelines

HR Dialogues

HR Clause


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A gradual introduction of human rights

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:

Legal basis

Enlargement process (Copenhagen criteria)‏

Charter on Fundamental Rights


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HR as EU foundation


“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).

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HR and foreign policy


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)‏

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HR and development cooperation


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)‏

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“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”.‏

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The Players involved

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)‏

“EU Troika”

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: ??

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European Parliament

Role and tools of the EP in the EU's HR policy?

Human Rights Sub-Committee

Urgency debates



Assent to agreements

Annual report on Human Rights

Sakharov Prize

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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

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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.

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MEP questions murder of human rights activists in Russia

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.

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Sakharov Prize – 2009 laureate? murder of human rights activists in Russia

  • The European Parliament's 2009 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded to Russian civil rights defence organization Memorial, and their three representatives Oleg Orlov, Sergei Kovalev and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, as well as all other human rights defenders in Russia.

  • The winner was announced by EP President Jerzy Buzek in Strasbourg on 22 October.

  • The prize ceremony will take place in Strasbourg on 16 December.

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PRIX SAKHAROV murder of human rights activists in RussiaPour la liberté de l'esprit



PRIX SAKHAROVPour la liberté de l'esprit



Earlier laureates

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)‏

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Assent to Agreements murder of human rights activists in Russia

Annual Report on Human Rights

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Civil society murder of human rights activists in Russia





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EU Human Rights tool box murder of human rights activists in Russia

EU Guidelines*

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

Development cooperation


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EU Human Rights Guidelines murder of human rights activists in Russia

  • Human rights dialogues (2001)‏

  • Death penalty (1998)‏

  • Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (2001)‏

  • Children and armed conflict (2003)‏

  • Human rights defenders (2004)‏

  • International Humanitarian Law (2005)‏

  • Rights of the Child (2007)‏

  • Violence against Women (2008)‏

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Case study 2 – EU Statements on Human Rights murder of human rights activists in Russia

  • HR Issue – who, what, when, why?

  • Tone, content and aim of EU statement

  • Link with EU policy

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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.

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EU DP Guidelines Union on the 1,000th Execution by Lethal Injection in the United States of America

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.

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EU DP Guidelines Union on the 1,000th Execution by Lethal Injection in the United States of America

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

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EU DP Guidelines Union on the 1,000th Execution by Lethal Injection in the United States of America

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).

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EU DP Guidelines: general demarches Union on the 1,000th Execution by Lethal Injection in the United States of America

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.)

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EU DP Guidelines: individual cases Union on the 1,000th Execution by Lethal Injection in the United States of America

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.

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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. 


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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.


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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.


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Human rights defenders Union on the situation in Zimbabwe, 12 November 2009

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

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Human rights defenders Union on the situation in Zimbabwe, 12 November 2009

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)‏

Assistance (EIDHR)‏

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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.

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HR and assistance cooperation Union on the situation in Zimbabwe, 12 November 2009

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

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International fora Union on the situation in Zimbabwe, 12 November 2009

UN General Assembly Third Committee

UN Human Rights Council


Council of Europe

Other regional HR systems

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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.


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  • Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the EU concerning the human rights situation in Iraq (11 November 2009)

  • The European Union expresses its profound concern over the human rights situation in Iraq. The European Union deplores the reintroduction of executions in Iraq. At least 117 persons are known to have been executed since May this year, when the 2007 suspension of executions was terminated. The EU is concerned by  indications that the actual numbers of executions are higher, and that another 900 persons are currently on death row, having exhausted legal remedies. Reports also indicate that Iraq is considering public executions. In this context, the EU expresses its concern at the lack of fair trials, as well as in relation to credible allegations that confessions are obtained under torture. The EU considers the death penalty a cruel and inhuman punishment and a violation of the right to life. The EU therefore urges the Government of Iraq to resume the de facto suspension of the death penalty, pending its abolition. Such a step would be in line with the global trend towards abolition, as demonstrated inter alia by recent UN General Assembly resolutions. As the Iraqi state is consolidating further, a number of profound challenges have to be addressed, including strengthening governance structures to be able to protect its population from human rights violations. In this respect, the EU reiterates the importance it attaches to the fight against impunity and encourages the Government of Iraq to deepen its efforts to work to improve accountability structures with the view to eradicate impunity. The EU is especially concerned by the difficulty Iraqi authorities are experiencing in preventing the appalling and arbitrary violence directed against vulnerable groups in Iraqi society, such as lethal attacks against ethnic and religious minorities and homosexual men. Arbitrary violence against children is frequent, and is of special concern to the EU. The situation for human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists in Iraq is of  concern to the EU. Exposed categories, among which killings and disappearances have been reported in the last few months , include individuals working in women’s organisations, and persons advocating against prison conditions and torture. The EU notes with deep concern that insurgent groups have targeted female politicians, civil servants, journalists, and women’s rights activists and advocates. Female lawyers representing women in personal status matters are particularly targeted, as well as women providing protection for vulnerable girls and women, such as those threatened with “honour killings”. The difficult conditions prevailing for journalists, with members of the press being targeted and killed by militia groups, constitute a serious infringement on the freedom of expression. The EU calls on the Iraqi Government to promote freedom of expression and freedom of the media, including freedom of expression on the Internet.

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Section 3: Human Rights Dialogues the human rights situation in Iraq (11 November 2009)

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Case study 3: EU Russia HR dialogue the human rights situation in Iraq (11 November 2009)




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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.

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EU-Russia Human Rights Consultations rights consultations


2 day event: NGO roundtable & consultations


Presidency capital or Brussels (not Moscow)


Troika format

COM (inter DG)‏

Russian MFA (no line Ministries)‏

Interaction with NGOs

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Scope of the consultations rights consultations

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

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Human rights dialogues rights consultations

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

Registering concern

Gathering information

Raising individual cases

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Human rights dialogues rights consultations

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

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Ongoing dialogues & consultations rights consultations









African Union

(Ad hoc) Israel





  • United States

  • Canada

  • Japan

  • New Zealand

  • Candidate countries

  • Hybrid: Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Mexico

  • Indonesia

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Establishing a HR dialogue: Belarus/Moldova rights consultations

EU-Belarus HR dialogue, May 2009

EU Guidelines on HR dialogues

COHOM assessment

Exploratory talks

Council decision

Agreement on modalities



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Case study 4 : NGOs and EU's human rights policy rights consultations

NGOs and the EU-Russia HR consultations

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NGOs and the EU-Russia HR consultations rights consultations

Analyse issue

assess interests of stakeholders

Assess constraints

suggest improvements

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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.”

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Front Line's briefing paper in view of the forthcoming EU-Russia HR Consultations

October 2009

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.

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Interaction with NGOs and EP EU-Russia HR Consultations

Involvement of NGOs (Moscow, Brussels) – consultation & debriefing

NGO Roundtable on the eve of the consultations (Russian NGOs)‏

Information of EP (DROI)‏

Press statement

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Civil society EU-Russia HR Consultations





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Some questions… EU-Russia HR Consultations

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?

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Challenges EU-Russia HR Consultations

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

Regular review

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What does this mean in practice? EU-Russia HR Consultations

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

Providing assistance

Promoting our policies and values inside and outside the institutions

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Some key challenges EU-Russia HR Consultations


Values versus interests


Double standards or double Dutch?

Synergy between EU instruments

Speaking with one voice?

External/internal coherence

Multilateral work

The EU, a key global payer or player in human rights?

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Websites EU-Russia HR Consultations

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


European Parliament


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Trade and human rights EU-Russia HR Consultations



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Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) EU-Russia HR Consultations‏

  • GSP may be withdrawn from beneficiaries for violations of human rights or export of goods made by prison labour

  • Burma/Belarus

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GSP+ EU-Russia HR Consultations

  • Incentive arrangement

  • Ratification and implementation of international conventions (HR, labour rights, environment; drugs and corruption)‏

  • Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Sri Lanka (Moldova)‏

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GSP+ EU-Russia HR Consultations

  • Investigations:

    • El Salvador (closed)

    • Sri Lanka (ongoing)‏

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GSP+: some challenges EU-Russia HR Consultations

  • A new powerful HR instrument?

  • Ensuring consistency

  • Monitoring implementation

  • Dialogue with beneficiary country

  • Internal coordination

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HR Clauses EU-Russia HR Consultations

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Human rights clause 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

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Political clauses and the EU-Russia HR ConsultationsEU's foreign policy

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

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Suspension mechanism EU-Russia HR Consultations

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

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Political clauses EU-Russia HR Consultations

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

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Negotiation challenges EU-Russia HR Consultations

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

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Implementation challenges EU-Russia HR Consultations

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

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Over 19 cases since 1995 EU-Russia HR Consultations

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).

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The way forward EU-Russia HR Consultations

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)‏