Concluding remarks

AuthorEuropean Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EU body or agency)
At the time of drafting this report (April 2020), the Covid-19 pandemic has
shown all too clearly that the functioning of societies– grounded in respect
for fundamental rights– depends on public administrations that are able to
provide everyday services for all members of society, and in particular those
who are socially and economically disadvantaged. Guidance and measures
by public authorities are likely to be more effective when people have trust
in authorities to provide certain services. One way to ensure ahigh level of
trust is by taking steps to guarantee that public services ‘work’ for people
that they provide people with the necessary information concerning rights,
offer effective complaint mechanisms to make sure that decisions are made
in compliance with laws, and that public authorities function eff‌iciently,
transparently and free from corruption. The standards set in international
human rights commitments, including the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights,
form the backbone of standards which are ref‌lected at the national and local
level. However, the risk remains that if human rights don’t enjoy the necessary
awareness, popular support and recognition among the population, countries
may end up backing away from their commitments.
On the one hand, the survey results provide evidence of strong support for
human rights among people in the EU. This support is not equally shared by
all in society, however, which can ref‌lect the feeling of being left behind.
Those who have diff‌iculties in making ends meet, the unemployed, as well
as those with lower education– are some of the people who, according to the
survey, sometimes doubt whether everyone enjoys the same human rights,
and perceive that there are people who take unfair advantage of human
rights. To ensure continued support for human rights, it is necessary to inform
people in all segments of society about how human rights are important for
them– not as abstract concepts, but in relation to their daily lived realities.
At the same time, the results stress the need to ensure transparency and
reliability of public services, so that people can see that services are provided
in an equitable and non-discriminatory way– that is, without some people
receiving preferential treatment due to their wealth or political connections.
In terms of participation in democratic processes, the survey also shows
that there is aneed to further encourage the participation of young people,
while also informing them why it is important for everybody to contribute
to ‘traditional’ democratic processes such as elections, in parallel with other
ways of participation, such as through the work of civil society organisations.
Concluding remarks

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