EU Instruments and Initiatives in Third Countries

AuthorEuropean Union Publications Office
Pages13 - 23

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The EU has a number of instruments at its disposal to promote human rights in third countries. This chapter gives an overview of other legal and policy instruments during this period.

3.1. Common Strategies, Joint Actions, Common Positions

This section gives an overview and update on Common Strategies, Joint Actions and Common Positions as well as crisis management operations in force during the reporting period.

The aim of Common Strategies is to set objectives and increase the effectiveness of EU actions through enhancing the overall coherence of the Union's policy. They are adopted by the European Council (Heads of State or Government) to be implemented by the Union in areas where the member states have important interests in common. No new Common Strategies were adopted during the period of this report.

Joint actions address specifi c situations where action by the Union is deemed to be required. In the period covered by this report, the EU has adopted a considerable number of joint actions relevant to human rights. These joint actions related primarily to the appointment of EU Special Representatives and to civilian and military crisis management operations.

On 12 December 2005, the Council changed the Common Position (2004/622/CFSP amending Common Position 2004/179/CFSP, which concerns restrictive measures against the leadership of the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova) concerning restrictive measures against several high-level Transnistrian offcials involved in the closure of Moldovan language schools by force. Because the situation has improved and most schools were able to open again, the Council shortened the list of offcials under a visaban. The new list is contained in Common Position 2005/890/CFSP. On 14 February 2006, the Council prolonged the Common Position concerning restrictive measures against the leadership of the Transnistrian region until 27 February 2007 (2006/95/CFSP) and updated the Annex containing the list of people falling under the visaban (2006/96/2006).

Crisis management operations: Human Rights Issues and Confl ict Prevention

In the fi eld of confl ict prevention, the EU has continued to develop its instruments for long- and short-term prevention. The Presidency Report to the European Council on EU activities in the framework of prevention, including implementation of the EU Programme for the Prevention of Violent Confl icts sets out progress in this fi eld.

Following the practice established under previous presidencies, a conference entitled “What future for EU Confl ict Prevention? Five years after Göteborg and how to move on” was jointly organised by the Presidency, the European Commission and the European Peace building Liaison Offce (EPLO) on 3rd May 2006. This conference brought together practitioners and representatives of Member States, the European Commission, the Council General Secretariat, NGOs, civil society, think tanks and academia as well as Members of the European Parliament to share best practice and develop ideas for future EU capacity building in the fi eld of confl ict prevention. The Presidency subsequently informed the European Parliament on the outcome of this conference as well as on current work in the field of civilian crisis management.

Work on mainstreaming of human rights into CFSP, including ESDP, has continued – not least through awareness raising in relevant Council working groups and committees. The chairs of two groups dealing with crisis management3 as well as an advisor to Chairman of the EU Military Committee (EUMC) met with the Council Human Rights working party. Relevant human rights issues have been increasingly taken into account and integrated, as appropriate, in all phases of operations, especially during the planning phase. The protection of human rights has been addressed by including measures that ensure that the necessary human rights expertise is available. In this respect the experience from crisis management operations with a particular emphasis on human rights, such as the Aceh Monitoring Mission, should be duly taken into account. It has also been noted that the EU should draw on the expertise of the United Nations. The SG/HR's personal representative for human rights has contributed to this mainstreaming of human rights aspects into EU crisis management.

Work has continued to implement the document on Implementation of UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security in the context of ESDP and gender mainstreaming. An exchange of national best practices on gender mainstreaming and the implementation of UNSCR 1325 has taken place which resulted in a call for a check list to be developed to ensure a proper gender perspective through-out the planning process and conduct of ESDP operations. The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is conducting a case study on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 in the context of the EU presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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Work has continued to address the issue of children in armed confl ict and UNSCR 1612 as a follow up to the EU Guidelines on Children and Armed Conflict. Based on the review of progress made towards the implementation of the guidelines, an implementation strategy4 was developed. It includes a check list for the integration of the protection of children aff ected by armed conflict, to be introduced into ESDP missions. Reporting on children and armed conflict has been further systematized. See chapters 3.2 and 4.3.

Work has begun on considering how the issue of transitional justice can be better integrated into EU crisis management, reflecting the importance for sustainable peace and stability in addressing the question of past human rights abuse in transitional and post-conflict situations. In March 2006, the Political and Security Committee (PSC) held a seminar on transitional justice which explored how strategies to confront past human rights abuses in the context of major political transformations could be integrated into EU crisis management. This seminar is being followed by further work aiming at the development of concrete recommendations on integrating transitional justice into EU planning for ESDP operations.

Crisis management: operational activities

During the reporting period operational activity in the fi eld of crisis management has continued to expand, both in the civilian and in the military fi eld. The EU is undertaking a wide range of civilian and military missions, on three continents, with tasks ranging from peacekeeping and monitoring implementation of a peace process to advice and assistance in military, police, border monitoring and rule of law sectors. Further missions are under active preparation.

The EU military operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Operation ALTHEA, continues to guarantee a safe and secure environment in the country. During the last six months, increased focus has been put on the reduction and safe storage of the signifi cant amount of excess weapons and munitions held by the Armed forces of BiH as well as the BiH population. Cooperation with NATO continues to work well in respect of Operation Althea, in Brussels as well as in BiH, in the context of the “Berlin Plus” arrangements. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was invited to participate in the operation as the 12th contributing third State.

The Council reviewed operation ALTHEA in June. This review was carried out within the framework of the Single Comprehensive Review of EU activities in BiH. It confirmed that EUFOR should retain current force levels and tasks and stressed the importance of close cooperation between all EU actors in BiH, especially in the area of fi ght against organised crime, and highlighted the crucial role of the EUSR in ensuring EU coherence.

The EU continued to demonstrate its commitment to supporting the transition process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), through political action, assistance as well as ESDP (European Security and Defence Policy) operations. As the elections in the DRC draw near, in May the EU carried out a comprehensive review of the EU's external action in the DRC.

Following a request from the UN on 27 December 2005 to deploy a military force to the DRC to provide support to MONUC (EUFOR RD Congo) during the electoral process, the Council on 23 March decided to answer positively to the UN request. EUFOR RD Congo will be part of the EU's comprehensive approach in the DRC.

The Council started military planning of Operation EUFOR RD Congo and, following the adoption of UNSCR 1671, adopted a Joint Action on 27 April appointing Lieutenant- General Karlheinz Viereck EU Operation Commander and Major General Christian Damay EU Force Commander and identifying the Offce Head Quarters (OHQ) in Potsdam. The decision to launch the operation was adopted by the Council and preparations have been ongoing in order to reach full operational capability by the date of the first round of the elections, i.e. 30 July 2006.

The DRC authorities have indicated they support the deployment of an EU force to support MONUC during the electoral process and confi rmed this agreement in a letter to the United Nations Security Council. Close consultations with the UN have been maintained throughout this process, both with MONUC and with DPKO (The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations). EUFOR RD Congo constitutes a further enhancement of the EU's policy of cooperation with the UN in the field of crisis management. EUFOR RD Congo has a dedicated gender adviser at the OHQ.

The EU has continued its civilian-military supporting action to the African Union Mission (AMIS II) in the Darfur region of Sudan. EU support to AMIS II was reviewed as part of a Single Comprehensive Review of Sudan, which Council noted in May 2006. The EU is providing continuing military assistance in the form of technical, planning and management support throughout the AMIS II command structure. Financial and logistic support has also been provided including the provision of strategic air transport. The EU is also continuing to provide the Vice President of the Cease Fire Commission and a number of EU military observers. EU police offcers continue to play a key role in building AMIS II's civilian policing capacity through support, advice and training to the AMIS II police chain of command and police offcers on the ground. The EU is also continuing its support for the development of African Union policing capacity and the establishment of a police unit within the AU Secretariat in Addis Ababa.

In view of the African Union's Peace and Security Committee decision of 15 May 2006 to transfer its mission to the UN and thePage 15signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement on 5 May 2006, the EU decided to continue both the civilian and military elements of the supporting action to AMIS II until 30 September 2006. The EU is considering the appropriate legal and operational framework and the additional resources and capabilities that may be required for this extended EU support action. The EU has stated its readiness to respond swiftly to any requests addressed to it to support the implementation of the peace agreement and to support, as appropriate, the planning for a UN transition.

The EU Rule of Law Mission in Georgia, EUJUST Th emis5, that has been deployed to assist the Georgian government in the development of a strategy to guide the criminal justice reform process terminated on 15 July 2005. This mission was a novelty, representing a new development in the civilian aspects of ESDP, as it was the first Rule of Law ESDP mission.

The period right after the expiration of the mandate of EUJUST Themis was crucial for the momentum gained in the rule of law reforms. On 9 June 2005 the PSC agreed on the modalities of the follow-up to EU support in the implementation of the strategy for reform of the Georgian criminal system.

A reinforced EUSR (EU Special Representative) Support Team, consisting of a Rule of Law follow-up to EUJUST Themis and a Border Support Team, started its operation on 1 September 20056. The Rule of law component of the EUSR offce in Tbilisi was responsible for follow-up to the Rule of law strategy that EUJUST Themis helped Georgia develop.

On 1 March 2006, an extended and amended mandate of the EUSR for the South Caucasus entered into force, prolonging also the functioning of the Border Support Team until the end of February 2007. The follow-up to EUJUST Themis eff ectively came to an end at that same date, as a crisis management type operation.

On 20 September 2005, the PSC agreed to the establishment of a European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM), including through the reinforcement of the team of the EUSR for Moldova, following a joint request of the Ukrainian and Moldovan Presidents. The Mission itself, which started its work on 1 December 2005, is organised by the Commission under the Rapid Reaction Mechanism and later Tacis. It comprises approximately 60 customs and police offcers from EU Member States. In July 2006, the mission will be enlarged to approximately 100 staff from Member States. The Head of Mission is double-hatted as senior political advisor to the EUSR for Moldova. In addition, an EUSR Border Team consisting of three people was created, which ensures liaison with the EUSR and the Council (see EUSR Mandate, Joint Action 2006/120/CFSP).

The Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM), led by Mr Pieter Feith from the EU, has been established to monitor the implementation of various aspects of the peace agreement set out in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Government of Indonesia (GoI) and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) on 15 August 2005 in Helsinki, Finland. The European Union, together with five contributing countries from ASEAN (Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines and Singapore), and Norway and Switzerland, are providing monitors for the peace process in Aceh (Indonesia ).

Following a brief interim presence (IMP) since the signing of the MoU, the AMM was offcially launched on 15 September 2005, covering an initial period of 6 months. On 27 February 2006, the EU Council extended the duration of the mission for a further 3 months, until 15 June 2006. The presence of AMM is based on an offcial invitation from the Government of Indonesia and enjoys the full support of the leadership of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

A human rights component, including human rights observation, was for the first time included in the Aceh Monitoring mission, representing a welcome step towards mainstreaming of human rights with in ESDP missions. The AMM is undertaking this mission in order to contribute to a peaceful, comprehensive and sustainable solution to the confl ict in Aceh. This has been made all the more important by the terrible tsunami disaster of 26 December 2004 and the suffering it inflicted on the Acehnese people. The EU and ASEAN fully respect the territorial integrity of Indonesia and see the future of Aceh as being within the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia.

The objective of the AMM is to assist the GoI and the GAM in their implementation of the MoU. This includes the following tasks: monitor the reintegration of active GAM members; monitor the human rights situation and provide assistance in this fi eld in the context of the tasks set out in the above points; monitor the process of legislation change; rule on disputed amnesty cases; deal with complaints and alleged violations of the MoU; establish and maintain liaison and good cooperation with the parties.

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As part of the AMM's tasks the decommissioning of GAM armaments and the relocation of non-organic military and police forces was fully completed on 5 January 2006. In accordance with the MoU the GAM handed over all of its 840 weapons to AMM and on 27 December 2005 it offcially disbanded its military wing (TNA). Equally the GoI has fulfilled its commitments by relocating its non-organic military and police. The number of police and military (TNI) forces remaining in Aceh are within the maximum strength of 14.700 for the TNI and 9100 for the police, in accordance with the MoU.

The AMM does not take on a negotiation role. Should this be needed during the implementation process, it will be the responsibility of the two parties and the original facilitator, i.e. the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI).

The mission, whose headquarters are in Banda Aceh, has established a monitoring capability through 11 District Offces geographically distributed throughout Aceh: Sigli, Bireuen, Lhokseumawe, Langsa, Tapaktuan, Blang Pidie, Meulaboh, Calang, Banda Aceh, Kutacane and Takengon.

The AMM numbers approximately 80 international unarmed personnel, of which almost 2/3 come from EU Member States as well as Norway and Switzerland, and slightly more than 1/3 from the five participating ASEAN countries. AMM is completely impartial by nature and does not represent or favour any of the parties.

It comprises personnel with expertise in the whole range of competencies needed to fulfi l the tasks of the mission. AMM is a civilian and not a military mission. Some monitors will have a military background as this is necessary to perform certain technical tasks implied by the mission. Monitors conduct their monitoring tasks by patrolling and communicating with both parties, and by carrying out inspections and investigations as required.

EU Special Representatives (EUSR)

The EUSR for Moldova, Ambassador Adriaan Jacobovits de Szeged, who was initially appointed on 23 March 2005, continued his work. His mandate focuses on the EU's contribution to the settlement of the Transnistria confl ict. It also includes the fight against the traffcking of human beings and of weapons and other goods from and through Moldova. In addition, the EUSR maintains an overview of all EU activities, notably relevant aspects of the ENP (European Neighbourhood Policy) Action Plan with Moldova, which was signed at the EU-Moldova Cooperation Council on 22 February 2005. On 20 February 2006, the EUSR's mandate was prolonged by one year until 28 February 2007.

Until 28 February 2006 the EUSR for the South Caucasus, Ambassador Heikki Talvitie and as of 1 March 20067, his successor, Ambassador Peter Semneby continued to assist Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in carrying out political and economic reforms, notably in the fi elds of rule of law, democratisation, human rights, good governance, development and poverty reduction.

On 18 July 2005, the EU appointed a new EUSR for Sudan, Mr Pekka Haavisto (Joint Action 2005/556/CFSP)8. The work of the EUSR has focussed on three key areas: the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) in Sudan, the Darfur peace talks in Abuja and the oversight of the EU's civil-military supporting action to the African Union (AU) Mission in Darfur (AMIS). Human Rights constitute an important part of the mandate of the EUSR, who follows the situation in this area and maintains regular contacts with the Sudanese authorities, the AU and the UN, in particular with the Offce of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the human rights observers active in the region, and the Offce of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. In this respect, the mandate of the EUSR emphasises in particular the rights of children and women and the fight against impunity in Sudan.

The EUSR for Central Asia, Ambassador Ján Kubiš, continued his work until 5th July 2006. He contributed to the implementation of the EU policy objectives in the region, which include promoting good and close relations between the countries of Central Asia and the EU, contributing to strengthening of democracy, rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Central Asia as well as enhancing EU's effectiveness in the region, including closer coordination with other relevant partners and international organizations, such as the OSCE.

3.2. EU Guidelines on Human Rights: Death Penalty, Torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, Children and Armed Confl ict, Human Rights Defenders

The EU Guidelines on Human Rights, covering issues of particular importance to EU member states, have been adopted by the Council since 1998. These Guidelines cover the deathPage 17penalty (adopted 1998); Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (adopted 2001); Human Rights Dialogues (adopted 2001); Children and Armed Conflict (adopted 2003), and Human Rights Defenders (adopted 2004). They are available in all EU languages, plus Russian, Chinese, Arabic and Farsi from the Council Secretariat website ( In May 2005, the Council Secretariat also produced these Guidelines in booklet form, in English and in French9.

Concerning the Children and Armed Conflict Guidelines, the Human Rights Working Party has during the reporting period submitted a biennial review of the Guidelines, made a series of recommendations, which were endorsed by the Council in December 2005, and revised its list of priority countries. On 7 April 2006, the Council issued a strategy for the implementation of the CAAC Guidelines. Within the framework on the human rights defenders guidelines, EU has launched a worldwide campaign on freedom of expression and women human rights defenders as well as submitted the fi rst biennial review of the implementation of the guidelines on human rights defenders.

Details of action taken to implement the Thematic Guidelines during the period under review are included in Chapter 4 and details on action in the framework of the Human Rights Dialogues Guidelines are found in Chapter 3.4.

abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines (26 June 06), the prolongation of the mandate of the Offce in Colombia of the UN High Commissioner for human rights (26 June 06). Declarations are also used to convey a message in support of EU's priorities; e.g. on the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the EU issue a statement underlining the priority it attaches to the global eradication of torture and to the full rehabilitation of torture victims. In the context of the global campaign for freedom of expression démarches were made in all regions of the world.

In the period under review, the EU has further carried out démarches throughout the world to seek support for the human rights aspects of UN reform as well as for the Rome Statute of the ICC. In addition, démarches concerning human rights have been made inter alia on: Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Cambodia, China, DRC, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Libya, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, USA, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen.

During the same period, the Union made human rights-related declarations concerning inter alia the following countries: Algeria, Belarus, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Cuba, DRC, Egypt, Gambia, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mexico, Nepal, Russia, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, USA, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

3.3. Démarches and Declarations

Démarches on human rights to the authorities of third countries and press statements are important instruments of the EU's foreign policy, and the conclusions of meetings of the Council may equally address human rights issues in that context. Démarches are usually carried out in a confi dential manner, either in ‘Troika' format or by the Presidency. In addition, the EU can make public declarations calling upon a government or other parties to respect human rights, or welcoming positive developments. These declarations are published simultaneously in Brussels and in the Presidency's capital.

Démarches and declarations are widely used to convey concerns related to human rights. The main subjects tackled by them are protection of human rights defenders, illegal detention, forced disappearances, the death penalty, torture, child protection, refugees and asylum seekers, extra-judicial executions, freedom of expression and of association, and the right to a fair trial, free and fair elections. Démarches and declarations are also employed in a positive sense. In the period under review the EU welcomed a number of positive developments through declarations, for example, the elections in Afghanistan, in particular the participation of women (18 Sept 05), the adoption of the resolution establishing the Human Rights Council (16 March 06), the

3.4. Human Rights Dialogues (including Guidelines on Human Rights Dialogues) and ad Hoc Consultations
3.4.1. Human Rights Dialogue with China

The EU and China have held human rights dialogues for almost 11 years, guided by benchmarks set out by the Council. The human rights situation, and the impact of the dialogue upon it, was evaluated by the Council in October 2004, resulting in Council Conclusions and oral briefi ngs to the European Parliament and to NGOs. The overall assessment of developments showed a mixed picture of progress in some areas and continuing concerns in others. On the one hand, the Council acknowledged that China has made considerable progress over the last decade in its socio-economic development and welcomed steps towards strengthening the rule of law, while urging China to ensure eff ective implementation of such measures. On the other hand, the Council expressed concern that, despite these developments, violations of human rights continued to occur, these including restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and association, a lack of progress in respect for the rights of persons belonging to minorities, continued widespread application of the death penalty, and the persistence of torture. All in all, the Council considered the dialogue a valuablePage 18instrument and an important element of overall EU-China relations and endorsed proposals for improving the dialogue and the accompanying expert seminars aimed at encouraging tangible results on the ground.

In the period covered by this report, two dialogues and two seminars took place. The 20th dialogue took place in Beijing on 24 October 2005 and was preceded by a Troika visit to Xinjiang. The 21st round took place on 25-26 May 2006 in Vienna. The EU was represented by the Council Working Party on Human Rights Troika, which was assisted by the High Representative's Personal Representative on Human Rights. China was represented by offcials of the Ministry of Foreign Aff airs, including their Special Representative on Human Rights, and included offcials of other departments. Both meetings were preceded by a meeting at political level during which the EU raised a number of key concerns, stressing in particular the release of prisoners connected with the 1989 events in Tiananmen Square, speedy ratifi cation and implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), reform of the re-education through labour system (RTL) and the importance of allowing for greater freedom of expression, including on the Internet.

The 2005 dialogue had freedom of religion as one of its main themes. The 2006 dialogue focused on freedom of expression, in particular on the Internet. As always, the EU handed over a list of individual cases of concern, on which China provided replies in writing. In line with the benchmarks, specifi c concerns raised at both dialogues included: ratifi cation of ICCPR and legislative reforms needed to implement its provisions; rights of ethnic minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang; abolition and application of the death penalty and the need to obtain statistics on its use; the allegation of organ transplants from executed prisoners was raised for the first time in 2006, reform of the RTL system and similar institutions, without judicial overview, used for misdemeanours; prevention and eradication of torture and rights of prisoners; independence of judges, the right to legal counsel and a fair and impartial trial; protection of human rights when countering terrorism; cooperation with the UN, in particular with the newly established Human Rights Council and special procedures and with the OHCHR, UNHCR, ICRC and the ICC. The EU also called on China to apply the principle of “non-refoulement” to North Korean refugees in China in line with China's international obligations. In 2005, attention was paid also to protection of social and economic rights and the independence of NGOs.

The Chinese side informed the EU of a number of legislative reforms taken or under way, including a review by the Supreme Court of all death penalty cases, a special court for minors, regulations on interrogation and detention and rights of prisoners in the context of a nation-wide campaign to prevent and eradicate torture, planned reform of the RTL system and the new regulation on organ transplants coming into eff ect on 1 July 2006. Information was also provided on a series of new regulations regarding, inter alia: legal assistance to vulnerable sections of society, measures to promote democratic governance at village level and new regulations in the fi eld of criminal procedures. China also updated on progress made towards ratifi cation of the ICCPR.

The Chinese side informed the EU on the implementation of the recommendations of the report of UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, following his visit to China in 2005, and on the follow-up to the visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour. Familiar replies were given on questions relating to freedom of expression, Internet, freedom of religion and belief including Falun Gong, and freedom of association and the role of NGOs. China raised concerns about racism and xenophobia in the EU. Discussion on the rights of persons belonging to minorities showed little common ground. The visit of the Troika to Xinjiang allowed for meetings with a wide variety of representatives, including of the Muslim minority, but largely confi rmed EU concerns. Through the dialogue these diff erent views were openly discussed.

The EU and Chinese authorities organised two human rights seminars within the framework of the dialogue, one in London, on 12-13 December 2005 and one in Vienna on 22- 23 May 2006. The London Seminar focused on the theme “Ratification and Implementation of the ICCPR, articles 14 and 9”, in particular on recommendation of steps to be taken by China to bring its legislation into alignment with these articles. At the Vienna seminar, academia, offcials of the EP, the National People's Congress, representatives of member states' foreign ministries and various Chinese ministries and of NGOs discussed “the implementation of recommendations by international human rights mechanisms (Treaty Bodies' recommendations and the special procedures) and human rights education”.

In addition to the human rights dialogue, the EU and its member states continued to push for concrete steps to enhance the eff ective enjoyment of human rights in China at other EU political dialogue meetings with China, including at the highest political level, as well as through bilateral technical co-operation and exchange programmes. In between dialogue sessions, démarches were carried out on particular cases of concern. Unfortunately the limited action of the Chinese government meant that very few individuals were released early and new names were added to the list of individual cases of concern in the course of the year.

The EU is in regular contact with other countries maintaining a human rights dialogue with China, through the “Berne process”.

The 22nd round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue is expected to take place in Beijing in October 2006. See chapter 6.4 for more on China.

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3.4.2. Human Rights Dialogue with Iran

Human rights are an essential element of the EU's overall relations with Iran, as with any other country. The human rights dialogue, which was the fi rst to be set up in accordance with the 2001 EU Guidelines on Human Rights Dialogues, is one of the EU's tools to promote human rights there. Although a lot remains to be done in Iran in the field of human rights, the EU believes that engaging with Iran is a way to encourage those who want to promote reforms there.

Since 2002 the EU has held four sessions of the human rights dialogue with Iran, with the last occurring in June 2004. An evaluation of the dialogue in 2004 found that since the start of the dialogue there has been little or no progress against the EU's benchmarks. Despite Iran's failure to engage effectively, the EU remains open to discussing human rights, including by means of the dialogue process. The EU saw a need to attain a renewed commitment from the Iranian authorities to improve respect for human rights and promote the rule of law in the country and also the need to adjust the modalities of the dialogue with a view to enhancing its effectiveness. With regard to the latter, negotiations are ongoing

The dialogue is based on a number of mutually agreed principles and on concrete benchmarks, which include every area of concern to the EU: Iran's signature, ratification and implementation of international human rights instruments; cooperation with international procedures; openness, access and transparency; and improvements to civil and political rights, the judicial system, the prevention and eradication of torture, criminal punishment, discrimination and the prison system. A broad range of participants were associated with these dialogues including the Government, the Judiciary, academics, and civil society. The human rights dialogue is primarily a channel to express the EU's concerns to Iran, while there is also opportunity for Iran to raise its concerns with the EU. The EU has used the dialogue in the past to raise individual cases, for example prisoners of conscience, and plans to do this again at the next round. A crucial element of the dialogue is the opportunity for mutual assessment and review.

See chapter 6.5 for more on Iran.

3.4.3. Human Rights Consultations with Russia

Agreement on the holding of Human Rights Consultations was reached, upon proposal by the EU, at the EU/Russia summit in The Hague on 25 November 2004. After a fi rst round in Luxembourg, on 1 March 2005 the. second round was held in Brussels, on 8 September 2005, and the third one in Vienna, on 3 March 2006.

The aim of these Consultations, which are held at the level of senior offcials, is to discuss the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the EU and in Russia, as well as international human rights issues, in an open and constructive manner.

Discussions covered Russia's international obligations and cooperation in UN human rights fora, in particular UN reform and cooperation with UN Special Mechanisms. In the March 2006 round, the follow-up to the (February 2006) visit of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Arbour to Russia, was discussed. Cooperation in the Council of Europe, including the implementation of decisions and recommendations of the Council of Europe (i.a. Gil-Robles report, ECHR judgments, Protocols), and the OSCE were also covered.

The EU raised specific concerns about the human rights situation in Russia, notably the situation in Chechnya, the situation of human rights defenders, including specifi c cases, the independence of the media and freedom of expression, the respect for Rule of law and human rights protection in the Armed Forces, as well as other issues. The phenomena of racism and xenophobia were particularly emphasized during the March 2006 Consultations, where the situation of NGOs after the entry into force of the law on NGOs was also discussed.

The EU closely associated NGOs in the preparation of the Consultations, and de-briefed them on their outcome. Prior to the 3 March 2006 Consultations, the EU and Russian delegations visited the Vienna-based European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia. See chapter 6.1.3 for more on Russia.

3.4.4. Other human rights dialogues (Cotonou article 8)

One of the notable changes introduced by the EU-ACP Partnership Agreement of Cotonou (2000), is the strengthening of the political dimension through enhanced dialogue. Making this dialogue a major pillar in the partnership refl ects the growing importance of political issues within the EU-ACP relationship. Article 8 lays down the principal provisions relating to a normal state of aff airs, but other provisions on political dialogue are found in Articles 96, 97, and 98 (grave violations). The Agreement came into force on the 1st April 2003, and guidelines for conducting this dialogue were approved by the ACP-EC Council of Ministers in May 2003.

One of the objectives of the dialogue is to promote a stable democratic environment, and topics to be included are the socalled essential and fundamental elements of Cotonou: human rights, democracy, the rule of law, governance, peace and security, gender, ethnic or racial discrimination, cultural issues. Civil society, non-state actors, and the opposition should be included in the talks whenever possible; and the process should be transparent and continous.

Examples of countries in which the parties have initiated an Article 8 dialogue are Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Mauritania, Mozambique,Uganda, Zimbabwe. It is to be carried out with regional organisations as well, such as the AU, SADC, and ECOWAS.

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3.5. Troika consultations on Human Rights with US, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Candidate Countries Troika consultations with the US

The EU and the US held consultations on human rights issues prior to the UNGA Third Committee on 16 October 2005 in Washington and on 16 February 2006 in Brussels. The meetings were used to provide information on and seek support for thematic and country priorities and to decide on common aims and initiatives. These consultations laid the groundwork for constructive and fruitful cooperation in the framework of UNGA.

The EU and the US discussed the human rights situation in a number of countries, in particular those possibly subject to a resolution, as well as respective policies vis-à-vis these countries. They provided an update on human rights dialogues and consultations with third countries. Both sides expressed an interest in working together in defence of human rights defenders. They also held in depth exchange of views on negotiations relating to the establishment of the Human Rights Council.

The consultations provided a good opportunity to discuss differences in approach. The EU raised concerns regarding the death penalty, focusing in particular on executions of juvenile off enders and mental illness cases. On both occasions, there was a frank discussion on the impact of counter-terrorism measures on international eff orts to promote human rights protection, touching inter alia on the legal situation of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay and the issue of rendition. The EU asked the US to react positively to the request by the UN Special Rapporteurs to visit Guantánamo Bay and other places where alleged terrorists are being held. The US provided information concerning cases pending before the US courts regarding Guantánamo and confirmed that they would issue a response to the report of the US Special Rapporteur to Guantánamo. The US raised concerns relating to anti-Semitism in Europe. They also asked for EU support for the Community of Democracies.

Troika consultations with Canada

Consultations on human rights with Canada took place prior to the UNGA Third Committee on 17 October 2005 in Washington and on 20 February 2006 in Brussels. The meetings, focused on cooperation during the Third Committee as well as on the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council.

The EU and Canada further exchanged views on the need to improve coordination between like-minded countries. In a discussion about UN reform Canada underlined that mainstreaming of the human rights dimension in the overall UN system was essential.

Troika consultations with Japan

EU-Japan consultations on human rights took place in October 2005 in New York and in June 2006 in Geneva. Japan stressed the importance it attached to coordination with the EU and was keen to be informed about the EU-China dialogue and the EU-Russia consultations.

Japan recalled the EU that according to a 2004 enquiry more than 80% of the population were in favour of maintaining the death penalty; in the light of this result, Japan considered a discussion about the abolition of death penalty would not be very successful.

Troika consultations with New Zealand

During the consultations on human rights in March 2006 in Brussels, New Zealand stressed its wish to strengthen cooperation with the EU. New Zealand underlined that one of its key initiatives focused on the Rights of the Child.

Troika consultations with Candidate countries

The annual exchange of views took place on 8 March 2006 in Brussels. The EU informed candidate countries Croatia, FYROM and Turkey of its active support for the establishment of the Human Rights Council and other priority issues in the fi eld of human rights, and asked their support for EU initiatives. Croatia, FYROM and Turkey informed about their general human rights policy.

3.6. Human Rights clauses in cooperation agreements with third countries

Since the Commission's 1995 Communication On the inclusion of respect for democratic principles and human rights in agreements between the Community and third countries, a clause providing that respect for human rights and democratic principles constitutes an essential element of the agreement has been included as a standard clause in all agreements with third countries, except for sectoral agreements and agreements with industrialised countries. Under this clause, sanctions may be put in place in response to serious violations of human rights or of the democratic process. However, the principal role of the clause is to provide the EU with a basis for positive engagement on human rights and democracy issues with third countries. To this end, the Commission has established human rights sub-committees and working groups with a number of countries. The process of extending human rights sub-committees to all European Neighbourhood Policy countries continued with the fi rst meeting in June 2006 of the working group on human rights and minorities with Israel.

In February 2006, the EP adopted a resolution on the human rights and democracy clause in EU agreements, based on aPage 21report prepared by Vittorio Agnoletto MEP. The resolution called, inter alia, for the standard wording of the human rights clause to be revised, for the clause to be extended to all new agreements and for the EP to play a greater role in the application of the clause. In response, the European Commission outlined several measures to improve application of the clause, such as gradually extending human rights committees to more third countries and giving human rights greater prominence in the mandate of Heads of Commission Delegations in third countries.

3.7. Activities funded under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights

The EIDHR is a programme specifi cally designed to promote Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law mainly through cooperation with civil society organisations but also in partnership with some key international organisations. It is managed by the European Commission. In years 2005 and 2006 its resources amounted total to over EUR 251 million, making it possible to fund a wide range of projects in 68 countries and covering priority areas through four Campaigns: (1) Promoting Justice and the Rule of Law, (2) Fostering a Culture of Human Rights, (3) Promoting the Democratic Process and (4) Advancing Equality, Tolerance and Peace.

At the end of June 2006, the EIDHR was supporting more than 1000 projects around the world, covering the full range of priorities as set out in the basic regulations and in the programming document. Activities have been taking place at country level, regional level, and globally. Management of EIDHR country level projects is decentralised from Brussels to EC Delegations.

Identification, selection and funding of projects.

As in previous years, new projects were selected in three different ways:

i) Projects identified through global calls for proposals

To achieve greater clarity and coherence of the programmes, four thematical campaigns were set. Hence four global calls for proposals were launched in December 2005 and January 2006. An approximate amount of EUR 74.8 million has been made available. The four calls (or Campaigns) targeted the following priorities:'

1. Promoting Justice and the Rule of Law:

Lot 1: The effective functioning of ICC and other international criminal tribunals including their interaction with national justice systems.

Lot 2: The progressively restrictive use of the death penalty and its eventual universal abolition

Lot 3: Reinforcement of the work of international human rights mechanisms

2. Fostering a culture of Human Rights:

Lot 1: Advancing the rights of marginalised or vulnerable groups

Lot 2: Prevention of torture10 Lot 3: Rehabilitation of victims of torture

3. Promoting the Democratic process:

Lot 1: Underpinning and developing the democratic electoral processes

Lot 2: Strengthening the basis for civil society dialogue and democratic discourse through freedom of association Lot 3: Strengthening the basis for civil society dialogue and democratic discourse through freedom of expression

4. Advancing Equality, Tolerance and Peace:

Lot 1: Combating racism and xenophobia and promoting the rights of peoples belonging to minorities11 Lot 2: Promoting the rights of indigenous peoples12

The Commission will award grants to most of the successful proposals between October and December 2006.

II) Projects selected though country-specific calls for proposals

For 2005-06, an amount of EUR 66 million was made available for calls for proposals launched by EC delegations in 54 countries. Such country-specifi c calls are launched to identify projects for smaller scale grants between EUR 10.000 and EUR 100.000 (‘micro-projects') and are normally open only to country-based organisations. In this way the EIDHR is able to support local civil society and defi ne the precise priorities relevant to each country where micro-projects are implemented. In 2005, 229 new project grants were awarded by EC delegations for EIDHR micro-projects.

III) Projects selected without a call for proposals

In 2005, 17 projects were selected without a call for proposals, with an EU contribution of EUR 15,59 million. Major grants were made to organisations such as the Offce of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe, OSCE and the international criminal tribunals. An additional specifi c envelope of EUR 10 million was allocated to 3 projects focusingPage 22on Human Rights in Iraq. A further EUR 26 million was allocated to Election Observation Missions. More information on election observation missions can be found in chapter 4.10.

A list of projects funded from the EIDHR budget during the reporting period can be found at Annex 1.


During 2005 and 2006 six evaluations were carried out on the EIDHR. Three of them are of particular relevance in the context of this report – one thematic, one regional, and one methodological.

This thematic evaluation focused on the relevance and eff ectiveness of EIDHR projects dealing with the fight against racism, xenophobia and the promotion of minorities' rights (excluding indigenous peoples). The evaluators reported that the majority of the 17 projects selected showed substantial results, undoubtedly improving the lives of those who are victims of racism and discrimination. It was further reported that the EIDHR programme reached some of the most vulnerable members of discriminated communities in some of the most challenging environments in the world (see more details in Chapter 4.15 “Racism, xenophobia, non-discrimination and respect for diversity”).

The regional programme evaluation in South America (Programa Andino de derechos humanos y democracia) included fi ve country projects and two regional projects. Its purpose was to assess the overall regional approach of the programme and consider the relevance, eff ciency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability of the projects. The objectives of the programme were relevant to the human rights situations in Andean countries. The evaluation concluded that the programme's regional approach had been partly achieved. It further concluded that there needs to be a stronger local ownership from the design to the implementation and a regional coordinating body in order for a programme to develop a regional character. In order to benefi t from a programme's regional approach, it was recommended that the programme addresses problems that exist in the entire region. Only then can it provide signifi cant opportunities for productive synergies based on common themes and issues.

One objective of the methodological evaluation Generating Impact Indicators – EIDHR, was to provide the EIDHR with country level indicators for each one of its four main Campaigns. Indicators for each Campaign were developed with the purpose of improving the monitoring and measuring of the project and programme results. As a result, a selection of indicators was included in the EIDHR 2005-2006 calls for proposals; these specify what kind of results the Commission is expecting from EIDHR funded projects. A guide to developing project indicators is now also available on the EIDHR website.13

The new Democracy and Human Rights Instrument

The Commission made at the end of June 2006 its Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing a new separate fi nancing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide, called: European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. This new instrument would replace the current EIDHR, which is based on two regulations that will expire at end of 2006. The proposal is a part of the package of new fi nancial instruments for years 2007 – 2013 and it is planned to be discussed and adopted later in year 2006.

3.8. Analysis of the eff ectiveness of EU instruments and initiatives

The EU is committed to mainstreaming human rights and democratization into EU policies and choices, in order to achieve a more informed, credible, coherent, consistent and eff ective EU human rights policy. The EU aims to make better use of the wide range of sources of information available as well as improve follow up to actions taken such as démarches. Improving the follow-up to human rights action will further help the EU to take up the challenge of dealing in a coherent way with human rights in different fora .

The EU has during the year made a conscious eff ort to enhance coherence by better organising its “tool-box” for the promotion of human rights. The EU has become more aware of the various means it can use (such as démarches, guidelines, dialogues, development cooperation etc), and tried to promote coherent and consistent use of these tools. The establishment of the post of the Personal Representative of the SG/HR on human rights is a concrete input to these efforts, and has proven useful from the point of view of promoting mainstreaming and continuity.

However, the challenge of coherence remains. There is still room for improvement to have coherence and the mainstreaming of human rights as an all-embracing tool in the policy implementation. The EU is a complicated structure, and issues related to competences and the roles of various actors need to be taken into account. Nevertheless, delivering a coherent message is a key to being credible and achieving results in terms of promoting human rights on the ground. The work to promote coherence will need to be an on-going eff ort.

Better possibilities to integrate human rights into the Unions policies have increased the demand to promote various practical tools (such as manuals, check lists, indicators etc.) for human rights mainstreaming and policy coherence.

One element of seeking an optimal use of the different tools in the tool-box has been to seek a balance between persuasion and critical action as well as choosing instruments that include incentives as well as restrictive measures; building an environment of trust, creating an open exchange of views and off eringPage 23to provide assistance while at the same time indicating clearly when red lines have been crossed. Again here it is important for the EU to be seen to as using the same standards in its actions with various countries and regions.

Démarches taken during the reporting period, which have been followed-up on, have shown in a short-term impact assessment both success and sometimes lesser or none eff ects. In many cases EU actions have had influence directly as dissidents have been freed and punishments reduced. In general, evaluating the effciency of the EU's human rights action is not easy and also a long term view is needed. Démarches on for instance individuals facing the death penalty naturally seek to alter the sentence of the individual concerned but at the same time also convey the message of the EU's general line of promoting abolition in all countries, and may thus also produce results in the longer term.

As it is clear that the EU can not work by itself, the EU has aimed to improve the coherence between EU action at bilateral and multilateral level as well as improve co-operation with NGO's and other actors while enhancing transparency and openness. Constant interaction with civil society representatives has already become an important feature of the EU's human rights policy. For instance, the Annual EU NGO Forum held in London 8-9 December 2005 was as a successful event in bringing together NGO representatives, academics, individual human rights defenders and governmental offcials.


[3] PMG : Politico-Military Group, CIVCOM : Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management

[4] 9767/06

[5] Joint Action 2004/523/CFSP OJ L 228, 29.6.2004, p.21.

[6] Joint Action 2005/582/CFSP OJ L 199, 29.7.2005, p. 92.

[7] Joint Action 2006/121/CFSP OJ L 49, 21.2.2006, p. 14.

[8] Council Joint Action 2005/556/CFSP of 18 July 2005 appointing a Special Representative of the European Union for Sudan (OJ L 188, 20.07.2005,p.43-45).

[9] Details of sales and subscriptions available at

[10] See also chapter 4.2

[11] See chapters 4.15 and 4.17.

[12] See chapter 4.18.


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