|Author||European Union Publications Office|
|Pages||25 - 60|
The EU has actively pursued its policy against the death penalty during the period covered by this report. The EU is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and systematically upholds this position in its relations with third countries. It considers that the abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights.
The Guidelines on EU policy towards third countries on the death penalty (adopted in 1998) provide the basis for action of the Union14. These guidelines provide criteria for making representations and outline minimum standards to be applied in countries retaining the death penalty. The EU also presses, where relevant, for moratoria to be introduced as a fi rst step towards the abolition of the death penalty.
General representations consist in the EU raising the issue of the death penalty in its dialogue with third countries. Such démarches occur particularly when a country's policy on the death penalty is in flux, e.g. where an offcial or de facto moratorium on the death penalty is likely to be ended, or where the death penalty is to be reintroduced through legislation. Similarly, a démarche or public statement may be made where countries take steps towards abolition of the death penalty. Individual representations are used in specifi c cases where the EU becomes aware of individual death penalty sentences which violate minimum standards. These standards provide, inter alia, that capital punishment cannot be imposed on those who were under the age of 18 when committing the crime, pregnant women or new mothers, persons who are mentally disabled or were not allowed a fair trial.
During the period covered by this report, the EU raised the question of the death penalty in general with the governments of Belarus, China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgystan, Malawi, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania and Uganda.
The EU carried out individual representations in Afghanistan, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, the Philippines, Sudan, USA, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
In addition, the EU made a series of public statements on the death penalty worldwide, including a declaration on 5 September 2005 deploring the use of the death penalty in Iraq, on the occasion of the International Day against the Death Penalty on 10 October 2005, on 2 December 2005 expressing deep regret on the occasion of the 1000th execution in the USA since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, and on 17 January 2006 welcoming the complete abolition of the death penalty in Mexico and on 26 June 2006 in the Philippines.
According to Amnesty International's report for 2005, over 2,100 people were executed worldwide and 5,186 people were sentenced to death in 53 countries in 2005. The vast majority of all known executions occurred in China (at least 1,770 executions). Iran had the second highest number with at least 94 executions, followed by Saudi Arabia with at least 86 and the USA with 60.
The EU is pleased that 45 of the 46 Council of Europe (CoE) member states have ratifi ed Protocol No.6 to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the abolition of the death penalty. More than 10 years after its accession to the CoE, the Russian Federation has yet to ratify Protocol 6. As regards Protocol No 13, which bans the death penalty in all circumstances, including in wartime, 36 CoE member states have now ratifi ed it, including 20 EU member states. It has been signed by a further seven. Only Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia have not signed it.
Among the positive trends concerning the death penalty was the fact, that the following countries abolished the death penalty for all crimes in the period of reporting: Liberia, Mexico and the Philippines. In Uzbekistan on 1 August 2005, President Karimov signed a decree abolishing capital punishment with eff ect from 1 January 2008. In Kyrgyzstan, the statutory moratorium on executions, in place since 1998, was extended for one more year on 29 December 2005.
The European union welcomes the abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines
Abolishing death penalty in the Philippines
In 1987, the Philippines was the fi rst Asian country to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. However, the death penalty was reintroduced by Congress in 1993 for 46 diff erent offences. Executions were then carried out until the introduction in 2001 of a de facto moratorium on executions. In April 2006, President Arroyo commuted all death sentences to life imprisonment and on 6 June, the Congress voted a law providing for abolition of the death penalty, which was signed by President Arroyo on 24 June 2006.
The role of the European Union
In line with the EU Guidelines on the death penalty, the European Union has been actively supporting efforts by local legislators, public offcials and civil society activists for the abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines, inter alia through individual and general representations, awareness raising activities and support to abolitionist groups. In December 2005, the European Union organized in partnership with the Commission for Human Rights in the Philippines a series of “Human Rights Dialogues on the Death Penalty and Restorative Justice” in Cebu, Davao and Manila. These sought to focus increased attention on the approach of restorative justice and to advocate for the unconditional and immediate abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines. The European Commission has also fi nancially supported a number of activities by NGOs and universities to sustain an ongoing advocacy campaign as well as specific projects (e.g. a forensic DNA analysis programme with the University of the Philippines; support to an anti-death penalty campaign by the Philippines MGO, Free legal Assistance group/FLAG). The European Union also carried out numerous formal démarches in Troika format and informal démarches with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines.
Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the complete abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines
“The European Union warmly welcomes the signing by President Arroyo on 24 June 2006 of the legislation abolishing the death penalty in the Philippines. The EU strongly hopes that this decision will encourage other countries in the region to follow suit.
The European Union considers that the abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights. It reaffrms its objective of working towards universal abolition of the death penalty.
The European Union looks forward to strengthening cooperation with the Philippines towards promoting our common objective of the universal abolition of the death penalty.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.”
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
In line with the EU Guidelines against Torture adopted by the Council in April 200115, the EU has sustained its action to combat torture with initiatives in international fora, bilateral representations to third countries and substantial support for individual projects.
During the 60th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Denmark submitted resolutions on torture which were adopted by consensus with cosponsorship by all EU member states16. In statements at the UNGA session, the EU reiterated the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment in international law and underlined its concern at the use of torture in several countries and regions. EU representatives observed and reported on the examination of third-country reports during the 35th and 36th sessions (7- 25 November 2005; 1-19 May 2006) of the UN Committee Against Torture17. In its annual declaration on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June 2006, the EU specifi cally welcomed the entry into force on 22 June 2006 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), which will institute a complementary system of national and international visiting mechanisms to inspect places of detention. This represents a milestone towards the establishment of an eff ective and innovative preventive mechanism at the universal level. At present there are 51 signatories and 21 ratifi cations of OPCAT, with 17 signatories and 7 ratifications by EU member states18.
In line with the EU Guidelines against Torture, the EU has actively continued to raise its concerns on torture with third countries through political dialogue and démarches. Such contacts address both individual cases and wider issues. During the period under review, the EU further pursued its policy of individual cases. On the basis of a thorough review of the implementation of the guideline undertaken at the end of 2004, the EU is implementing a programme of raising the issue of torture systematically with all countries, including through four rounds of démarches to around 60 countries worldwide (see list below). These rounds have focused on countries which had not ratified United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT)19, countries whose initial reports to the UNCAT committee are overdue and a round of démarches to countries that have not responded to requests to visit from the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. The main purpose of the demarches is however to raise and discuss torture issues and cases relevant to the specific country. It is during the current reporting period that the implementation of the EU Guidelines on Torture has really progressed.
To facilitate informed dialogue, the EU has instituted a system of regular confi dential reporting on human rights, including on torture, by its Heads of Mission in third countries and has provided Heads of Mission with a checklist designed to provide a solid basis for raising the issue in political dialogue.
Where did the EU carry out démarches on torture and ill-treatment?
Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Botswana, Brunei, Burma, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Cook Islands, Comoros, Dominican Republic, DPRK, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Kiribati, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Nauru, New Zeland, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome & Principe, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu.
What is the content of EU démarches on torture?
Common elements to be included in all EU démarches:
- In the resolutions on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment adopted by the 60
- The prevention and eradication of all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment across the world is a priority for the EU. The position of the EU is further elaborated in its guidelines on torture [appended; to be handed over].
As applicable to States, which have not responded positively to requests from the special rapporteur to visit: The EU strongly supports the eff orts of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or Punishment to prevent and eradicate torture. Thus all EU states have issued standing invitations to all UN Special Procedures, including the Special rapporteur on Torture. The EU understands that the Special Rapporteur has requested to undertake a fact fi nding visit in state x. Considering the importance of such visits for the prevention of torture the EU strongly supports the request and encourages state x to respond favourably to the request.
- The EU and its Member States support and adhere to international and regional instruments for the protection against torture, including the UN Convention against Torture. The convention establishes global measures for the protection of freedom from torture as applicable to states, which are not parties to UNCAT: and the resolutions urge all States that have not yet done so to become parties to the Convention as a matter of priority. The EU is therefore concerned that state x has not yet ratifi ed/adhered to it. The EU strongly urges the competent authorities of state x to seriously consider doing so. It is important to note, that the Convention only covers events taking place after ratification/accession. A State Party is under no responsibility under the Convention for previous events.
- As applicable: The EU welcomes that state x has ratifi ed UNCAT and attaches great importance to its implementation.
Article 19 of UNCAT requires all countries that have ratifi ed the Convention to report to the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) on the measures they have taken to give eff ect to their undertakings under the Convention within one year after its entry into force for that country. It also requires these countries subsequently to submit periodic reports every four years on new measures taken. The EU is concerned that x's initial report to CAT is long overdue. The EU considers the fulfilment of this reporting obligation as a central obligation under UNCAT and encourages x to submit its report to CAT as a matter of priority.
- As applicable: In this regard the EU would also like to point out that the UNGA resolution on torture calls upon the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to provide, at the request of Governments, advisory services for the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including for the preparation of national reports to CAT.
- As applicable to states, which are parties to UNCAT: Furthermore the EU invites state x to make the declarations provided for in articles 21 and 22 of UNCAT concerning inter state and individual communications.
- As applicable to states, which are parties to UNCAT: The EU also asks state x to give early consideration to signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or degrading Treatment or Punishment (OP/CAT), which intends to prevent torture through monitoring of places of detention, rather than reacting to it after the occurrence.
- EU action on torture is global. No individual country or group of countries is singled out.
The role of trade, in particular goods used in torture, is of critical concern to the EU and has been the subject of a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture20. The EU Guidelines commit the EU to preventing the use, production and trade of equipment which is designed to infl ict torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Signifi cant progress has now been achieved in fulfilling this commitment. The EU adopted on the 27 June 2005 a Regulation on trade in goods which could be used for capital punishment or torture (hereafter the Regulation)21 which prohibits the export and import of goods whose only practical use is to carry out capital punishment or to infl ict torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The export of goods which could be used for such purposes is also subjected to authorisation by EU Member State authorities. Member states are to publish annual reports on activities in connection with the Regulation. Once in force on 30 July 2006, this Regulation will represent an important contribution to the EU's effort in preventing and eradicating torture and ill-treatment in third countries and will serve to reinforce the global fight against torture. The EU hopes that other states will introduce similar legislation.
The prevention of torture and the rehabilitation of torture victims is a major priority for funding under the (EIDHR). EUR 22.6 million was committed for supporting civil society projects in this field in 2005-06 under the EIDHR campaign “Fostering a Culture of Human Rights”, thereby making the EIDHR one of world's leading sources of funding in this fi eld. The themes selected for support are designed to reinforce EU policy: for example, awareness-raising on OPCAT, investigation into the supply of torture technology and support to the rehabilitation of torture victims. The EU's long-term commitment to the fight against torture and ill-treatment will be upheld under the future European instrument for democracy and human rights for 2007-2013 (see chapter 3.7 for more on EIDHR).
See also chapter 4.8 “Human rights and terrorism”.
Children's rights form part of the human rights that the EU and the Member States are bound to respect under international and European treaties, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its Optional Protocols, including also the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The EU explicitly recognized children's rights in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, specifi cally in Article 24.
Developments in internal policy
The Commission identified children's rights as one of its main priorities in its Communication on Strategic Objectives 2005- 2009. In this context, the Group of Commissioners on Fundamental Rights, Non-discrimination and Equal Opportunities decided in April 2005 to launch a specific initiative to advance the promotion, protection and fulfilment of children's rights in the internal and external policies of the EU. This initiative was put in place through the preparation of a Commission Communication entitled “Towards an EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child”. The drafting process, which included several rounds of consultations with external partners such as UNICEF, Council of Europe and NGOs specialised in children's rights, was fi nalised in June 2006 and the communication issued on 4 July 2006.
The communication marks the Commission's launch of a long- term strategy to ensure that EU action actively promotes and safeguards children's rights and to support the eff orts of EU Member States in this fi eld. Through the Communication, the Commission adopts for the first time a broad-brushed approach to children's rights, covering policies that range from development cooperation and employment to health and education.
The EU Strategy is structured around seven specifi c objectives: the capitalisation of ongoing engagements; the mainstreaming of children's rights throughout the Commission's policies and programmes; the identification of future priorities and the launching of a wide consultation in order to develop a long- term strategy on children's rights; promoting children's rights in external relations (e.g. within the framework of the UN); establishing an eff ective communication on children's rights; increasing the capacity on children's rights and putting in place effcient coordination and consultation mechanisms. Under the last heading, the Commission will set up a European Forum on Children's Rights as a platform for exchange; establish a formal Inter-Service Group (that will replace the existing informal group); and appoint a Coordinator for Children's Rights to facilitate cooperation between services and to improve communication on children's rights.
Child poverty, passing from one generation to another, has come increasingly to the fore in the Union's social inclusion process, the Open Method of Coordination on poverty and social exclusion. The objectives underpinning the process refer to the need to move towards the elimination of social exclusion among children and give them every opportunity for social integration. The majority of Member States have thus made child poverty a priority issue in their successive national action plans and in the implementation reports.
The December 2005 Communication on the new framework of work in the areas of social inclusion and social protection policies within the EU mentions child poverty amongst the most important policy priorities on which Member states should focus their efforts. At the spring 2006 European Council, thePage 30Heads of States and Governments asked Member States to take the necessary measures to rapidly and significantly reduce child poverty, giving all children equal opportunities, regardless of their social background.
Further developments in internal policy during the period under review include the issuing of the Commission Communication “Common Agenda for Integration”22 on third-country nationals in the EU, emphasising that specific attention must be paid to the situation of migrant youths and children, for example in order to ensure that they fully benefi t from the education system. Two important Directives had to be implemented by the Member States within the period covered: the Directive on family reunifi cation23 laying down the conditions for exercising the right to family reunifi cation for spouses and minor children and the Directive on long-term residents24, stipulating that once a Member State has granted long-term resident status, the resident's children must benefi t from an equal treatment with nationals, especially as regards education and vocational training.
The Commission proposed a Directive on common standards and procedures for returning illegally staying third-country nationals25, including many provisions to protect children. The overall principle is that the “best interests of the child” should be a primary consideration of Member States when implementing return programs.
In the Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders26, specifi c attention must be paid to ensure that minors do not leave the territory against the wishes of the person(s) having parental care of them. The Schengen Information System (SIS) contains alerts on missing persons with specific reference to minors.
The Commission is tackling the potential hazards to children of new technologies such as mobile phone services. In June 2006, it published a consultation document on child safety and mobile phone services27 to gather feedback on this issue and determine whether new action is necessary at EU level. The Commission set up a EUR 45 million programme (Safer Internet Plus 2005- 200828) which builds on an earlier Safer Internet programme29(1999-2004). One of the programme's aims is to protect children from web-based sexual exploitation.
On 18 October 2005, the Commission adopted the Communication “Fighting traffcking in human beings: an integrated approach and proposals for an action plan”30. The communication pays particular attention to child traffcking. Further to this Communication the Council adopted an EU action plan against traffcking in human beings31 on 1 December 2005 (see chapter 4.6. for more details on traffcking in humans).
In respect to issues of family law, the Commission's activities exceed the borders of the EU, particularly as part of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the European Neighbour- hood Policy (ENP). The issue of parental responsibility, with particular reference to child abduction, has been raised in the context of the former and the five-year World Program that was launched at the Euromed Ministerial Meeting in November 2005 includes as an objective the provision of practical solutions to family confl icts. The objective will be implemented through a regional programme (2007-2010). As part of the ENP, the Commission is actively promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of family law, seeking in particular to help provide solutions to family disputes over issues of parental responsibility.
Children's rights and enlargement
Membership in the EU requires among other criteria that the candidate country has achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities. Children's rights form part of the human rights issues which have to be respected by candidate countries as an integral element of the common European values referred to in Article 6 of the EU Treaty.
The Commission's “Regular Reports on Candidate countries' progress towards accession”, which draw on all available sources of information including reports by UN and other international organisations as well as NGOs, have underlined concerns on issues such as the particular exposure to poverty, exclusion, social stigma and discrimination of Roma children and adolescents, children in childcare institutions, traffcking of children, abuse of international adoption system and child labour.
Furthermore, as regards fi nancial assistance, the Commission has always given high importance to projects that aim at improving the situation and rights of children in candidate countries, particularly in the area of childcare, education or specifi c assistance to disadvantaged groups such as Roma. During the last few years more than one third of a total amount of almost EUR 100 millions PHARE funds for Roma communities were targeted at improvement of education. In Romania, since the endPage 31of 2000, a multi-annual Phare programme, with a total value of EUR 59.5 millions has started to support the efforts of the Romanian government to reform child protection and fi nance the closure of large old-style childcare institutions by replacing them with alternative child protection services. Signifi cant progress has been made: some 90 large institutions were closed and replaced by over 300 alternative child protection services. This programme was accompanied by a large public awareness campaign. Pre-accession financial assistance has also been granted to Turkey for eradicating the worst forms of child labour.
Developments in the external policy
The EU has intensified action to implement the EU Guidelines on Children and Armed Confl ict of December 2003. The Guidelines commit the EU to addressing the short, medium and long term impact of armed conflict on children, including through monitoring and reporting by EU Heads of Mission, EU Military Commanders and Special Representatives, démarches, political dialogue, multilateral cooperation and crisis management operations.
The EU has raised concerns about children affected by armed conflicts in various fora and highlighted the issue in several declarations and statements. The Troika has carried out démarches in Burundi, Uganda, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, DRC, Liberia, Nepal and Sudan. The issue has also been introduced in training activities related to the ESDP and crisis management. Children have been a priority of the EU's humanitarian aid policy for several years. However, as highlighted in the review submitted in November 2005, further efforts are necessary to exploit the Guidelines to their full potential. A series of recommendations were therefore endorsed by the Council in December 2005, and the list of priority countries was revised. The list now includes Afghanistan, Burma, Burundi, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, DRC, Liberia, Nepal, Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Uganda.
On 7 April 2006, the Council issued a strategy for the implementation of the Guidelines32, which is based on the UNSCR 1612. A Task Force comprising representatives from the Presidency, the Commission and the Council Secretariat was put in place to follow up on the implementation. A guidance note was sent to the Commission delegations in the countries concerned and to the Heads of Missions of the EU Member States. The EU Special Representatives received specific instructions on the issue and a checklist for the integration of the protection of children aff ected by armed confl ict into ESDP operations33 was issued on 2 June 2006. Heads of Missions of EU Member States were invited to report on CAAC where appropriate.
Within the EIDHR, the Commission launched a call for proposal early 2006 to select for funding projects that fi ght against the traffcking of women and children and seek to protect the rights of vulnerable groups in armed confl ict, in particular children's rights (see chapter 3.6 for more on EIDHR).
The EU works actively to promote children's rights within the framework of the United Nations. In the 60th UN General Assembly (UNGA), it tabled a Rights of the Child resolution (60/231) as a product of collaboration between the
The EIDHR and Children's Rights
The EIDHR has played particular attention to promotion and protection of children's rights. In the past years action has been funded in support of social reintegration of child ex-combatants in Angola, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, to combat child traf- ficking in West Africa and to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children in tourism, and to eradicate the phenomenon of female genital mutilation (FGM).
The EIDHR is currently funding several relevant actions:
- “Mainstreaming child rights and promoting non violence a sub-regional project for Palestinian children”, being implemented in the OPT, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan in co-operation with UNICEF (EUR 970.000);
- “Birth Registration,” being implemented in Bangladesh in cooperation with UNICEF (EUR 990.000);
- “Child Welfare Reform,” being implemented in Azerbaijan in cooperation with UNICEF (EUR 350.000);
- “Development of a Child Rights ombudsman in Kazakhstan,” being implemented in cooperation with UNICEF
(EUR 399.700); - “Integration and Empowerment of Minority Children and Youth in Serbia and Albania,” being implemented in cooperation with CCFK (EUR 389.260).
- “Innovative tools for the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation Cutting,” being implemented in Kenya in cooperation with AIDOS (EUR 304.986);
- “Centre to promote children's rights,” being implemented in Sudan in cooperation with Enfants du Monde-Droits de l'Homme
European Union and Some Latin American and Caribbean countries (SLAC). The resolution highlights inter alia the particular vulnerability of children affected by HIV/AIDS. In the 60th UNGA, the EU also cosponsored a specific resolution on the girl child.
On 25 January 2006 the Commission adopted seven communications on Thematic Programmes under the future Financial Perspectives (2007-2013), including the Thematic Programme for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide. Children's rights will be included in the programme as a mainstreaming issue that has to be taken on board in all interventions.
The Commission signed in July 2004 a Strategic Partnership with the ILO, which has preventing child labour as one of its priorities. In this context, during 2005 the Commission agreed with ACP partners an action programme to fight child labour together with the ILO IPEC (International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour). The action programme, with an overall budget of EUR 15 millions, will focus on capacity building, targeted interventions and the legal framework to enhance children being freed up from child labour into primary education.
The EU's education policy is fi rmly anchored in the international community's commitments to education as defined in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Education for All (EFA) goals, and focuses on basic education and gender equality. Overall, an estimated annual average of EUR 260 million was allocated to education during the last 2002-2005 period. The vast majority of these funds target basic education for children. The Commission is also discussing with EU member states and ACP Partners support (EUR 63 million) to the Fast Track Initiative for basic education in several ACP countries.
In March 2002 the Commission adopted a Communication on “Health and Poverty” which establishes an EC policy framework to guide investment in health and AIDS prevention, with one of the four strands relating to the protection of the most vulnerable, including children living in poverty. Most of EC support to the health sector has been moving towards a sector-wide approach where child health is a priority.
Orphans and vulnerable children aff ected by HIV/AIDS are subject to increased risks of human rights abuse. The Commission has programmed an average of over EUR 150 million (period 2003-6) annually to tackle HIV/AIDS in developing countries, through support to country programmes, global initiatives, NGOs and research.
The EU's commitment to support sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people translates in concrete actions through various instruments. In a number of countries the Commission is providing, for instance, budget support linked to indicators related to contraceptive rates, HIV prevalence in 15-24 years olds or skilled delivery attendance. At global level, the special budget line on sexual and reproductive health and rights has been prioritising attention to youth through projects such as those in Malawi and Zimbabwe.
The EU is also working with UNFPA to increase national capacities in 23 ACP countries to ensure access, utilization and quality of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and commodities. The Commission support (EUR 20 million), with a special emphasis on young people, aims at increasing awareness of SRH issues and risks, increase service utilisation and improve the quality and geographical distribution of services. The Commission is programming further support to UNFPA to alleviate the crisis on supply and access to reproductive health commodities (EUR 15 million). This covers support to ACP countries within the timeframe of the 9th EDF (2003-2007). For ALAMED (Asia, Latin America, Euro-Mediterranean partnership) countries, the programming periods vary from 2002- 2004 to 2002-2006.
During the period under review, the Commission initiated a wide range of actions related to children's rights and needs in developing countries. For instance, the Commission identifi ed additional programmes at country level to fight child abuse (e.g. South Africa), to improve juvenile justice (e.g. Cameroon), to improve birth registration (e.g. Bangladesh) or to support social protection for HIV/AIDS (e.g. Lesotho, Swaziland). The implementation of projects that had been launched before the period under review continued, for example in Egypt, Moldova, Pakistan and in Brazil.
Following the adoption of the European Consensus on Development in December 2005, where a special emphasis is placed on the situation of working children (including those engaged in the worst forms of child labour), the Commission adopted specifi c follow up strategies for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, reflecting its commitment to protect children from poverty, marginalisation and abuse.
In the period of reporting, the EU pursued and strengthened its global eff orts aiming at protecting and defending human rights defenders. In line with the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders adopted in June 2004, the integration of issues related to human rights defenders into relevant EU policies and actions promoted, and several proactive steps undertaken to advance concrete implementation of the Guidelines and to raise awareness of the Guidelines. A stock taking of progress made in the implementation of the Guidelines served as the basis for formulating recommendations for further action towards their full and eff ective implementation.
The EU stressed the importance of the mandate of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, and the crucial role she played in imple-Page 33menting the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and enhancing the protection of human rights defenders throughout the world. The EU fully supported the Special Representative and continued close cooperation with this crucial mechanism. Recommendations made by the Special Representative in her sixth and final report in January 2006 were taken into account when reviewing implementation of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders.
In view of the new Human Rights Council, established in March 2006 and replacing the UN Commission on Human Rights, the EU underlined the importance it attaches to continued access and active participation of human rights defenders and non-governmental organisations in the work of the Council from the outset.
In the second half of 2005, a lobbying campaign was conducted by EU Heads of Mission on behalf of human rights defenders in all areas of the world who are suff ering for exercising their freedom of expression. The campaign on Freedom of Expression reaffrmed the EU's strong commitment to this fundamental freedom which constitutes a prerequisite in the exercise of many human rights, and contributes to the emergence and existence of eff ective democratic systems. A number of useful lessons were learned from the implementation of the campaign, including on raising awareness of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, visibility and type of action undertaken, and incorporating local expert knowledge and the expertise of non-governmental organisations and human rights defenders concerned.
Within the framework of the 7th Annual EU NGO Forum on Human Rights on Freedom of Expression, organized by the EU Presidency on 8 and 9 December 2005 in London, one of the four workshops concentrated on the hitherto implementation of the EU Guidelines, based on an evaluation by Amnesty International on EU action in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, the Russian Federation and Zimbabwe. The discussions in the workshop resulted in recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness of EU activity in favour of human rights defenders. In particular, it was considered that there is need for further awareness raising among staff of the EU institutions, Member States' competent ministries and diplomatic missions, more integration of human rights defenders' issues into political and human rights dialogues conducted with third countries by the EU and Member States, and improved monitoring and evaluation of both the situation of human rights defenders and of the implementation of the EU Guidelines. Moreover, the EU was invited to give greater consideration to the eff ectiveness of public action, and to develop systems and procedures that have greater coherence and consistency to underpin the implementation of the Guidelines in actions taken in support of human rights defenders.
In following up on the campaign on Freedom of Expression, the EU is highlighting the situation of Women Human Rights Defenders throughout 2006. The global campaign on Women Human Rights Defenders aims at extending and strengthening the engagement of EU diplomatic missions with women human rights defenders, identifying their specific protection needs and following up with corresponding EU interventions. Heads of Mission organise events with a cross-section of women human rights defenders working on women's human rights and human rights in general. This covers the promotion and protection of civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights, and the rights of members of groups such as indigenous
Specific target countries
Campaign on Freedom of Expression
Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Chad, China, Cuba, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leon, Sudan, Swaziland, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zimbabwe
Objectives of the 2006 Campaign on Women's Human Rights Defenders
• To ensure that women are equally entitled to exercise the right to defend human rights and all the other rights afforded to them in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, as well as in all other international human rights instruments;
• To address the specific risks women human rights defenders are facing when undertaking human rights work;
• To raise awareness for the specific protection needs of women human rights defenders;
• To help develop and strengthen networks of women human rights defenders;
• To give recognition, visibility and support to the contribution of women to building and strengthening a culture of human rights.
Campaign on Women's Human Rights Defenders
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Burundi, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Burma/Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Serbia, Singapore, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe communities. Heads of Mission are encouraged to recommend action on behalf of individual human rights defenders, women and men alike, as and when they arise.
The campaign on Women Human Rights Defenders focuses on countries where the EU considers priority action is requested. These include third countries where the UN Special Representative on the situation of human rights defenders has documented cases of women human rights defenders in 2005, countries that, despite repeated requests, have not extended an invitation to the Special Representative, countries from which no response was received to pertinent communications, countries in which women human rights defenders cases were taken up in the context of the Freedom of Expression campaign in 2005, and countries in confl ict and post-confl ict situations.
The recommendations underline that the EU strives to provide human rights defenders with the best possible support. In this context, EU missions are encouraged to adapt their approaches to the local environment and the specific challenges this environment may pose for human rights defenders. As a matter of principle, human rights defenders should be consulted on the level of contact they wish to maintain and on the advisability of publicity of action and association with EU Missions. Any support provided to human rights defenders should take into account their specifi c fi nancial and protection needs, as well as the urgency to address these needs.
The recommendations further point out that the situation of human rights defenders and the environment in which they work should be systematically integrated into the EU's political dialogues with third countries, including bilateral dialogues by Member States. They also call for a further development of cooperation with the UN Special Representative on the situation of human rights defenders, and cooperation with regional human rights mechanisms on all aspects of the implementation of the Guidelines. At regular intervals the implementation of the Guidelines will continue to be reviewed. Furthermore, the EU will consider enhancing public reporting on and transparency of EU action with due regard to the security of the human rights defenders on whose behalf action has been undertaken.
The EU support to human rights defenders in third countries includes activities funded under the EIDHR. Within the framework of the programming for 2005 and 2006 some 54 European Commission Delegations in third countries have made available a total of € 65.5 million for funding micro projects of local non-governmental human rights organisations. In this context, human rights defenders are an eligible target group for project funding.
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, awarded annually by the EP to exceptional individuals or organisations who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression constitutes an important element of the EU's commitment to support and protect human rights defenders. In 2005, the prize was shared by two organisations, namely Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White) and Réporteurs sans Frontières (Reporters without Borders), and Hauwa Ibrahim, a leading Nigerian human rights lawyer (see chapter 2.3).
The EU has a long-standing commitment to promoting gender equality, and it has played an active role on the international stage. At the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, the EU was an active party in drafting the Platform for Action. Since then, gender mainstreaming has become an important strategy to achieve the goal of gender equality. Gender mainstreaming is the process that integrates the priorities and needs of women and men in all key policies. The process is reinforced by specifi c measures, programs and projects to support the empowerment of women.
Countries for EU priority action
In the first half of 2006, the implementation of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders was subject of a thorough review. The summary analysis and recommendations which Council approved in June 2006 were based on contributions from Member States, the Commission, responses from EU Heads of Mission in 79 countries, and an exchange of views with international NGOs, in particular Amnesty International, Peace Brigades International and the Observatory for the protection of Human Rights Defenders. The recommendations focus on the issues of awareness raising and training of EU actors, increasing external publicity of the Guidelines and EU efforts to implement them, strengthening coordination and sharing of information by EU Missions, and effective support and protection of human rights defenders.
Countries in which EIDHR micro project support is available
Western Balkans and Candidate countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey; Eastern Europe and Southern Caucasus: Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, Russian Federation; Mediterranean and Middle East: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Syria, Tunisia; Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan; Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam; Sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe; Latin America, Caribbean: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Haiti.
On 8 March 2006, the Commission issued a Communication entitled “A Roadmap for equality between women and men”. The roadmap builds on the experience of the Framework Strategy for equality between women and men for the period 2001-2005. It combines the launch of new actions and the reinforcement of successful existing activities. It reaffrms the dual approach of gender equality based on gender mainstreaming and specifi c measures. It defi nes six priority areas for EU action on gender equality for the period 2006-2010: equal economic independence for women and men; reconciliation of private and professional life; equal representation in decision-making; eradication of all forms of gender-based violence; elimination of gender stereotypes; and promotion of gender equality in external and development policies. For each area, the roadmap identifies priority objectives. Each objective is followed by specifi c key actions designed to bring the goal nearer. Actions include increasing awareness of gender equality in schools, promoting female entrepreneurship, establishing in 2007 an EU network of women in economic and political decision-making positions, publishing a Communication on the gender pay gap and highlighting gender issues during the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for all.
In May 2006, the European Commission/Human and Social Development, DG Development organized a Gender Experts meeting, for presenting a draft Communication on Gender Equality and Development. The meeting provided an opportunity for the member states to give feedback on the draft. The Communication builds on existing tools and formulates an EU strategy, designed to accelerate the achievement of Gender Equality and women's empowerment using the EU's support to developing countries.
As agreed on the occasion of last year's International Women's Day, the new European Institute for Gender Equality should become operational in 2007 (see box). As well funding the new gender institute, the proposed new EUR 650 million PROGRESS programme will fund some of the activities outlined in the roadmap. A new network of national gender equality bodies will be established under the provisions of the EU gender equality Directive 2002/73.
European Institute for Gender Equality
The Commission adopted on 8 March 2005 a Proposal for a European Institute for Gender Equality1. The proposal is currently being considered by the European Parliament and the Council. It is expected that the regulation establishing the Institute will be adopted by early 2007 and that the Institute will commence work in 2007. It will be funded by the Commission, with a proposed budget of EUR 52,5 million for the period 2007-2013. The Institute will act as a technical support to the European institutions, in particular the Commission, and the member states, in the promotion of equality between men and women in all areas of Community competence. It will collect, analyze and disseminate information, develop methodological tools for the integration of gender equality into Community policies (gender mainstreaming) and facilitate the exchange of experience and the development of dialogue at European level.
The Institute shall work closely with all Community programmes and agencies, in particular the European Foundation for the improvement of Living and Working Conditions, the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training and the future Fundamental Rights Agency.
1 COM (2005) 81
Developments in external policy
The 50th session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place from 27 February to 10 March 2006 and considered the following two main themes: enhanced participation of women in development and equal participation of women and men in decision-making processes. The EU played a leadership role in promoting the Beijing Platform for Action in this forum. In its statement, the EU put emphasis on what constituted an “enabling environment” for achieving gender equality. It stressed that when addressing the gap between norms and practice, special attention was needed on the eradication of violence against women and girls, education, and the involvement of men and boys in the implementation of commitments. More research was needed on the question of women's equal access to and full participation in the economy, the media, NGOs and the private sector. The EU underlined the important role of women in peace-building processes and described the UNSCR1325 as a landmark resolution. Gender equality could not be achieved without guaranteeing women's sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In the 60th UNGA, the EU cosponsored the resolution on an In-Depth Study on all Forms of Violence against Women. France, introducing the draft resolution, stated that although there was consensus among all on the subject, there were difficulties in measuring the scale of violence and therefore in defining the appropriate means to address it. The purpose of the resolution is mainly procedural: to ensure that the Study remains on the UN's agenda while welcoming the work already undertaken. The EU also cosponsored resolutions on the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, seeking to give the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women the necessary tools for performing its tasks more effciently.
The Presidents of the Commission, the Council and the EP signed the European Consensus on Development on 20 December 2005. The European Consensus provides for the first time a common vision on EU action, both at member state and Community level, in the fi eld of development cooperation and highlights the importance of gender equality in the context of the new aid modalities. It is the first EU policy on development cooperation to recognize that gender equality is a goal in its own right. The document also refers to gender equality as one of the five common principles of EU development cooperation.
In November 2005 the European Commission organized a conference together with UNIFEM entitled “Owning Development: Promoting Gender Equality in New Aid Modalities and Partnerships”. The Conference examined the eff ects the changing landscape of development cooperation is having on efforts to promote gender equality, especially as this intersects with eff orts to eradicate poverty. The conference provided input to a Commission Communication on gender equality and development cooperation that will be finalized during the second half of 2006.
The Euromed Women's Conference was held in Barcelona in November 2005 as part of the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Summit of 1995. One of the recommendations to emerge from the conference was that a Euromed Ministerial Conference on Women in the Mediterranean would take place in the second half of 2006 under the auspices of the Finnish Presidency of the EU to address women's and gender equality issues in the region. This Ministerial Conference, planned for 14 and 15 November 2006, will take place in Istanbul and will endorse a Five Year Plan of Action (2007-2011).
The Commission organized a preparatory conference in Rabat in June 2006 that brought together 130 participants from the Euromed partner countries, with Libya and Mauritania attending as observers. Participants were representatives of civil society organizations, governments and parliaments. The conference made a series of recommendations for the Plan of Action that will be adopted in Istanbul.
The European Commission, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Belgian Government jointly organized an “International Symposium on Sexual Violence in Confl ict and Beyond” in Brussels in June 2006. More than 250 participants from 30 countries attended the event, including the heads of UNFPA, UNIFEM, government offcials at ministerial level, representatives of military and police forces, parliamentarians, representatives of the International Criminal Court, NGOs, researchers and journalists. During the three days representatives from 14 confl ict-affected countries presented their national action plans, addressing sexual and gender-based violence. A Call to Action drafted by the participants calls on governments, international organizations and civil society to prioritize the issue of sexual violence in all humanitarian, peace building and development efforts in countries affected by confl ict.
The Austrian Presidency of the EU organized a ministerial conference on the subject of harmful traditional practices in January 2006 in Brussels. At this conference, a “Network Against Harmful Traditions” was founded, which will serve as an international platform bringing together representatives of governments, NGOs and relevant professional groups. It will focus on ways and means to eradicate harmful traditional practices by, inter alia, the collection of data, specific training, awareness campaigns and the protection of victims.
Under the gender budget line of the EC budget, four projects were selected for funding in 2005 under the call for proposals focusing on enhancing the access of women to paid employment in the non-agricultural sectors in China, Costa Rica, as well as Argentina, Columbia, Paraguay and Peru.
In addition to the above gender-specific projects, projects and programs in the areas of education, health, good governance and food security have a significant impact in promoting gender equality.
DAPHNE II and III programme provides funding possibilities for preventative measures against violence against women.
The Commission has developed programming guidelines to provide information to delegations and geographical desks on how to address gender equality in country programming, based on the policy framework underpinning the Commission's approach to gender equality in development cooperation.
Development in internal action
Within the Commission, initiatives were continued to improve staff 's capacity on gender issues mainly through training. In 2005-2006 around 800 persons working in Commission Headquarters, EC Delegations or implementing agencies (including national authorities in partner countries) received training on gender issues. An innovative online training course is also in place. In addition to general training, specifi c thematic training courses have taken place in the areas of gender and trade and gender budgeting.
UNSCR 1325 calls for increased involvement of women, at all decision making levels, in confl ict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict resolution, as well as in areas such as Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), and promotes women as advocates for peace. On 28 September 2005 the Council welcomed and noted an operational paper on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the context of the ESDP. The measures cover all planning and implementation processes from pre-conflict to post confl ict phases.
On 1 June 2006 the EP adopted a resolution on the situation of women in armed confl icts and their role in the reconstruction and democratic process in post-conflict countries. In this resolution, the Parliament called on the EU for more effcient implementation of UNSCR 1325. It also called for better control of the distribution of food, clothing and health and sanitation equipment during emergency operations in order to take the specific requirements of women into account. Measures to protect women within refugee camps should also be taken into account in order to reduce the risk of violence and sexual abuse against women and girls. The Parliament drew attention to the problem of kamikaze women and stressed that rape as a weapon of war concerns all women – whatever their ethnic, religious and ideological differences. It stressed the positive role played by women in the resolution of confl icts and called on the EU to ensure suffcient technical and financial assistance to support programs allowing women to take part in peace talks and giving greater powers to women throughout civil society.
In January the EU launched a worldwide campaign on women human rights defenders (WHRD) for 2006. The campaign is based on the 2004 EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders (see chapter 4.4).
Combating traffcking in human beings has been on the top of the EU agenda in the period covered by this report.
In October 2005 the Commission adopted its communication “Fighting traffcking in human beings – an integrated approach and proposals for an action plan”, launched in a conference organised jointly by the UK Council Presidency, Sweden as chair of the Nordic Baltic Taskforce against Traffcking in Human Beings, and the Commission.
Combating gender-based violence
Gender-based violence in all its manifestations (domestic violence, rape as a strategy of war, traffcking in human beings, honour crimes, harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation etc.) not only impairs the enjoyment by women of their human rights, it is also a serious obstacle to the achievement of equality, development and peace. Violence against women is a manifestation of unequal power relations between men and women.
Efforts to address violence against women need to move beyond addressing the symptoms and effects of violence to tackling the root causes and recognize that the achievement of gender equality is not only an issue for women. Therefore there is a particular need to focus on men and boys and on what drives them to violence. Only by actively involving men will it be possible to change societal norms that make it acceptable for men to use violence against women.
In 2005, under the gender budget line of the EC budget, the Commission launched a competitive call to support projects focusing on innovative and comprehensive education and awareness-raising interventions aimed at engaging both adolescent boys and girls in programmes contributing to change in attitudes and behaviours concerning gender roles and responsibilities in relation to violence against girls and women. The promotion of the rights of women, fi ghting gender based violence in conflict zones and harmful traditional practices is also one of the priorities of the campaigns fostering a culture of human rights launched within the EIDHR.
The Communication, inspired by the Report of the Experts Group on Traffcking in Human Beings, supports a human rights-based approach to the phenomenon, setting at the center of policies in this area the rights of victims. One recommendation is specifi cally to include the prevention of and the fight against human traffcking, and in particular of its human rights dimension, in political dialogue with third countries as well as in regional and international fora. In the framework of development cooperation the Communication suggests that human traffcking and policy frameworks and strategies for its prevention and mitigation are assessed in regional and national poverty reduction and cooperation strategies and that countertraffcking measures receive support.
The Communication advocates a multidisciplinary approach to the phenomenon, not limited exclusively to law enforcement strategies but including a broad array of measures in particular at the level of prevention and of victims' support. One important aspect highlighted by the Communication is the plight of specifi c groups: women and children, but also individuals discriminated on any ground such as members of minorities and indigenous peoples. The Communication therefore advocates for the promotion of non-discrimination as an eff ective counter traffcking tool and for measures specifi cally targeted to these groups, as well as for collection of reliable data and analytical research.
Elements of the Communication have been fed into the EU Action Plan on best practices, standards and procedures for combating and preventing traffcking in human beings. The
Action Plan was adopted by the Council in December 2005, in accordance with The Hague Programme on Strengthening Freedom, Security and Justice in the European Union.
An Expert Conference to promote the implementation of the Action Plan, organized by the Council Presidency and the European Commission, took place in June 2006 in Brussels. It has focused on several elements of the Action Plan: a) developing proposals for coordination and cooperation mechanisms at EU level to ensure common standards across the EU in coordination of EU action, b) taking stock of best practices in the identifi cation of victims, c) fostering synergies between NGOs and International Organizations providing support and reintegration services and d) further developing the OSCE National Referral Mechanism Manual.
The Commission's the Roadmap for equality between women and men, identifies the need for eradicating traffcking in human beings as one of its priority areas. The Roadmap commits the Commission to follow up on the Communication and the Action Plan on traffcking in human beings, and to promote the use of all existing instruments, including the European Social Fund, for the reintegration into society of victims of violence and human traffcking.
The Communication of the Commission of July 2006 “Towards an EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child” takes stock of the plight of traffcking in children, making a commitment to maximize existing policies as well as adopting some additional specifi c measures.
Financial programmes (DAPHNE, AGIS, TACIS, AENEAS a.o.) continue to support projects preventing and combating traffcking in human beings and the exploitation of persons, in particular women and children within the EU and in third countries.
Tackling traffcking through EU-funded programmes – a regional snapshot
Following the focus during the past five years on the Western New Independent States (Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus), where about EUR 10 million have been allocated for addressing traffcking in human beings, the EC has started to extend its activities to Russia and the Southern Caucasus.
A comprehensive traffcking project of EUR 4 million in Russia started at the beginning of 2006. It is the largest single donor project on traffcking in human beings in Russia and will make a crucial contribution to the work already begun by the Russian government, NGOs and international organisations. The project will further analyse the scope of traffcking in human beings in Russia and contribute to enhancing legislation but also to improving donor coordination. Apart from assistance to victims, which is a key focus of the project through e.g. the financing of a shelter in Moscow with necessary social and medical services, the project will especially help advancing the awareness and capacity building of authorities in regions of Russia which are most affected by the phenomenon. Here, as at state level, an inter-agency approach will be advocated including cooperation with specialised NGOs. Finally the project will look at the underlying socio-economic causes of traffcking through an analysis of the employment prospects for high-risk groups but also with regard to the reintegration of victims. The analysis should lead to targeted income-generating activities, awareness of labour market opportunities and legal – no risk – means of taking up employment abroad or across Russia.
For the three countries of the Southern Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) a EUR 1.5 million regional project will be launched in 2006 with the consequence that in all ENP-Eastern countries the issue of traffcking in human beings will be addressed.
In the framework of the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights for 2005-2006, awareness-raising and advocacy programmes on traffcking in women and children have been eligible for support under its Campaign 2: “Fostering a culture of human rights” (see chapter 3.7. for more on EIDHR).
International cooperation was continued at the global and European level, notably pursuant to the UN Traffcking Protocol (Palermo Protocol) and in the framework of the Council of Europe, whose Convention on Action against Traffcking in Human Beings has already been signed by a number of Member states. The accession of the European Community to the Palermo Protocol was completed in July 2006. The EU also continued to cooperate with the OSCE, especially within the Alliance against Traffcking in Persons, initiated by the OSCE Special Representative on Combating Traffcking in Human Beings.
The European Union is determined to work towards the prevention of crimes of international concern and the ending of impunity for perpetrators of such crimes. To this end the EU has consistently expressed strong political support for the functioning of the International Criminal Court (ICC), including through an EU Common Position and an EU Action Plan on the ICC.
The objective of the Common Position34 is to support the eff ective functioning of the Court and to advance universal support for the Court by promoting the widest possible participation in the Rome Statute. Article 2(1) of the Common Position provides:
“In order to contribute to the objective of the widest possible participation in the Rome Statute, the European Union and its Member States shall make every effort to further this process by, raising the issue of the widest possible ratifi cation, acceptance, approval or accession to the Statute and the implementation of the Statute through démarches and statements, and in negotiations or political dialogues with third States, groups of States or relevant regional organisations, whenever appropriate.”
In line with the EU Common Position, the ICC has been on the agenda of many major summits and ministerial meetings with third countries, as well as of dedicated human rights consultations. The EU has, throughout the period of the report, carried out démarches in third countries to encourage the ratifi cation and implementation of the Rome Statute, to encourage the ratifi cation of the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities, and to discourage states, where possible, from signing bilateral non-surrender agreements. As with previous years, it has also entered into discussions with the US on the renewal of the Nethercutt Amendment, expressing its regret over the withdrawal of US economic assistance to developing states who do not sign a bilateral non-surrender agreement, and urging the US to apply the waivers contained within the FY06 Foreign Operations Bill.
The EU Action Plan35 supplements the Common Position. Among other objectives, it puts in place a system of national focal points and an EU focal point within the EU institutions to coordinate EU policy on the ICC. In relation to promoting the universality and integrity of the Rome Statute, one of the concrete measures is the following:
e ICC should be mainstreamed in the EU external relations. In this respect, the ratification and implementation of the Rome Statute should be brought up as a human rights issue in the negotiation of EU agreements with third countries.
In 2005 and 2006 the European Commission negotiated the insertion of ICC clauses into ENP Policy Action Plans with Jordan, Moldova and Ukraine. Similar clauses are being negotiated with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia and Lebanon. Draft ICC clauses are also being negotiated by the EU in the context of Partnership and Cooperation Agreements with Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand. The revised Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which now contains an ICC clause, was adopted by the Council on 25 June 2005 and is in the process of being ratified by member states.
The 100th ratifi cation of the Rome Statute by Mexico in November 2005 represents a significant milestone for the Court and makes the prospect of universal ratification more tangible. Further milestones in the reporting period include the unseal-Page 40ing of the Court's fi rst arrest warrants in October 2005, and the arrest of Thomas Lubanga, who was surrendered by DR Congo and transferred to the Court by France in March 2006 on charges of war crimes.
List of démarches to promote the universality and integrity of the Rome Statute during the period under review:
Angola, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Botswana, Cap Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, D.R. Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Moldova, Morocco, Mozambique, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, St Lucia, Surinam, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
During the reporting period, member states were involved in supporting numerous initiatives on the ICC (e.g. seminars in Moldova, Jordan, Mexico, Mozambique, Philippines, and Lebanon). The EU Presidency organised in May 2006 a high-level conference on the ICC and the CIS states, which was well attended by representatives from the CIS states, EU member states, the European Commission, and the Court. Th e conference allowed for an in-depth exchange on the obstacles posed by ratifi cation and implementation of the Rome Statute and was followed by an NGO workshop organised by the Coalition for the International Criminal Court. In April/May 2006, the Commission organised an ICC study-tour for a delegation of approximately 20 offcials from Vietnam, led by the Vice-Minster of Justice. The visit to The Hague was followed by a technical workshop on the work of the Court and implementation of the Rome Statute in Brussels, in which presentations were made by representatives of the ICC, of member states, and of EU institutions.
Throughout the reporting period the Commission, through the European Initiative on Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), continued to fi nance the work of the Coalition for the International Court and Parliamentarians for Global Action whose eff orts are invaluable in promoting the ratifi cation and implementation of the Rome Statute and monitoring the work of the Court. The Commission and member states also funded various projects and programmes of the Court, such as the Internships and Visiting Professionals Programme. Furthermore, the Commission and member states provided consistent political and fi nancial support to other existing special tribunals, such as the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the Khmer Rouge Special Chamber in Cambodia.
On 25th April 2005 the Council authorised the Presidency to open negotiations to conclude an Agreement on cooperation and assistance with the ICC. After extensive negotiations both within the EU and with the ICC, the EU-ICC Cooperation and Assistance Agreement was signed by Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik on behalf of the EU and President Kirsch on behalf of the ICC at a signing ceremony on 10th April 2006. The agreement, based on Article 24 of the Treaty on European Union, places a general obligation of cooperation and assistance between the EU and the ICC and foresees, inter alia, the regular exchange of information and documentation of mutual interest. The agreement does not apply to ICC requests for information from individual member states, which are governed by bilateral arrangements, nor does it aff ect the competence of the European Community to achieve the objectives of the agreement through separate measures. Regular contact will be established between the EU Focal Point for the Court and the Court, and implementing arrangements providing for security clearance and access to classified information are being drafted.
The EU attaches great importance to guaranteeing the full and effective protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in Europe and in the wider world, in the context of the fi ght against terrorism.
In December 2005, the Council adopted the EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The strategic commitment at the centre of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy is “to combat terrorism globally while respecting human rights, and make Europe safer, allowing its citizens to live in an area of freedom, security and justice”. Paragraph 22 of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy provides that all efforts to disrupt terrorist activity and to bring terrorists to justice will be undertaken with respect for human rights and international law. Moreover, in the context of radicalisation, paragraph 11 of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy notes that the Union must promote even more vigorously good governance, human rights, democracy as well as education and economic prosperity, and engage in confl ict resolution. In December 2005, the Council also adopted the European Union Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism. In this Strategy, the EU resolves to disrupt the activities of the networks and individuals who draw people into terrorism;Page 41ensure that the voices of mainstream opinion prevail over those of extremism; and promote yet more vigorously security, justice, democracy and opportunity for all. The Strategy draws attention to a number of factors which may make the radical message more appealing. These include poor or autocratic governance; states moving from autocratic control via inadequate reform to partial democracy; rapid but unmanaged modernisation; lack of political and economic prospects; and inadequate and inappropriate education or cultural opportunities for young people. The Strategy commits the European Union to eliminating these structural factors. The Strategy also commits the EU to targeting inequalities and discrimination within the Union and to promoting inter-cultural dialogue, debate and long-term integration. Outside Europe, the Union commits itself to promoting good governance, human rights and democracy, as well as education and economic prosperity through political dialogue and assistance programmes. In political dialogue with third countries (not members of the EU) the European Union has consistently drawn attention to the imperative need to ensure that all measures taken against terrorism respect human rights, refugee law and international humanitarian law.
EU Declaration on the arrest and transfer of Thomas Lubanga:
e European Union welcomes the surrender of omas Lubanga Dyilo by the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo and his transfer by France to the International Criminal Court on 17 March 2006. Mr Lubanga is alleged to have committed war crimes, namely enlisting and conscripting children as child soldiers and using them to actively participate in hostilities. […]
is arrest constitutes an important achievement in the fight against impunity in the Great Lakes region, with a view to enhancing long-term stability in the region. Furthermore, this arrest is evidence of the international community's commitment and support to the Democratic republic of Congo and its citizens in their efforts towards peace and reconciliation. […]
e arrest and transfer of Mr Lubanga proves that the International Criminal Court is fully operational. e EU is confi dent that the International Criminal Court will function as a deterrent and means of confl ict resolution with the support of the International Community.
EU Declaration on the arrest and transfer of Th
The EU has reaffrmed in statements in various UN fora the importance of ensuring respect for human rights in the fi ght against terrorism. For example, the Presidency in its statement on behalf of the EU during the General Assembly Consultations on a Counter-Terrorism Strategy in May 2006, drew attention to the central role of the rule of law and human rights. The Presidency noted that effective counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights were complementary and mutually reinforcing.
The European Union repeatedly expressed its concerns regarding Guantánamo Bay. The EU noted that nobody should be in a legal vacuum but Human Rights and humanitarian standards have to be maintained while combating terrorism. The EU further noted that Guantánamo represented an anomaly and should be closed as soon as possible. The EU also supported the request of United Nations Special Rapporteurs to visit Guantanamo Bay on their standard terms of reference, which included free access to detainees. EU and US conduct a dialogue on international law and the fi ght against terrorism. Those issues where also discussed in the EU-US Summit in June 2006.
On 13 June 2006, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution reiterating its call for the closure of Guantanamo Bay and insisting that all detainees should be treated in accordance with international law and, if charged, tried without delay in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial court.
The EU supported work of the European Parliament Temporary Committee, established in January 2006, on the alleged use of European Countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners. These investigations focused not only on the extent to which European countries had been involved, but also on the manner by which the domestic law of the State Parties ensures the eff ective implementation of the particular provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.
On 16 May 2006, Prof Martin Scheinin, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, addressed the Council Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.
Following his appointment as UN Special Representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises in July 2005, Mr John Ruggie produced his fi rst interim report in early 2006. The report, seeks to identify and clarify standards of corporate responsibility and accountability for transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises with regard to human rights, and elaborate on the role of States in effectively regulating and adjudicating TNCs and other business enterprises with regard to human rights.
At the end of March 2006 the Commission adopted a Communication on ‘Implementing the partnership for growth and jobs: making Europe a pole of excellence on corporate social responsibility'36. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a concept whereby companies, on a voluntary basis, integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders. Through this Communication the Commission has undertaken to continue to promote CSR globally with a view to maximising the contribution of enterprises to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. Further aims include strengthening the sustainable development dimension of bilateral trade negotiations and pursuing the promotion of core labour standards in bilateral agreements. The Commission also renewed its commitment to using trade incentives as a means of encouraging respect for the main international human/labour rights, environmental protection and governance principles, in particular through the new EU “Generalized System of Preferences Plus” that entered into force on 1 January 2006.
In its May 2006 Communication on ‘Promoting decent work for all'37, the European Commission also committed to working with civil society and the business sector with a view to promoting the decent work agenda globally. In particular, the Communication outlines how the EU's external policies can be best used to promote decent work, including with a view to combat the most flagrant abuses of core labour standards, such as child labour.
Finally, the Commission took part in the work undertaken in the OECD investment Committee (the Committee responsible for the overview of the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational enterprises) that led to the completion of the OECD Risk Awareness Tool for Multinational Enterprises in Weak Governance Zones. The Tool was adopted by the OECD Council on 8 June 200638. Weak governance zones represent some of the most diffcult investment environments in the world for international business. The risk of human rights abuses are a real challenge in such areas. The Risk Awareness tool addresses, among others, the need to observe international human rights instruments and the human rights challenges related to the management of security forces.
For the EU, developing and consolidating democracy is a fundamental objective and a key policy goal of its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP – Article 11(1) TEU) as well as its cooperation policy with third countries (Article 177(2) and 181a(1) TEC).
Democracy is a dynamic process by which citizens are able to get involved in the decision-making process that affects their lives. There is no single model of democracy, but genuine democracies have common features in line with international standards, that include: control over government decisions about policy constitutionally vested in elected representatives, who are chosen in regular and fair elections; all adult citizens have the right to vote and to run for public offce; people have the right to express themselves on political issues without the risk of punishment, and have the right to seek information from a diversity of sources; people have the right to form independent associations and organisations, including political parties, and to disseminate their opinions; government is autonomous and does not face overriding opposition from groups like un-elected offcials or the military or international blocs. Genuine democracy respects rights of persons belonging to minorities and views.
The EU gives much political support to democracy, including through the political processes involved in its partnership and cooperation agreements, and the work of its institutions, as set out in other chapters. In this section we report on the very practical contribution that the EU gives to the mechanics of democracy through support to elections.
A key human right in the context of democratization is the right to participate in the conduct of public aff airs (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 25). This right includes the “right to vote and be elected in genuine periodic elections”. The EU contributes to the realization of this right through election observation and election assistance.
Election Observation and Assessment
Since the Commission adopted a Communication on Election Assistance and Observation in 200039, which defined a coherent and effective policy for election observation, EU involvement in this field has become increasingly professional and visible40 and the EU members states have expressed their growing intension for the Election Observation Mission (EOM) planning and implementation. Since implementation of the Communication began, a total of 44 EU Election Observation Missions (EU EOM) and seven special support missions have been deployed to countries in Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America and Asia41. In line with the agreed policy of focusing on key electoral events, and given the increased fi nancial and human resources available, the Commission aims to observe approximately fourteen elections each year.
The purpose of an EU EOM is to:
• fi rst and foremost assess the degree to which an election is conducted in line with international standards for democratic elections;
• deter/reduce electoral fraud and irregularities;
• deter/reduce violence and intimidation;
• enhance the confidence of political contestants, civil society and the electorate to participate in elections;
• provide a snapshot of a whole range of democratization issues, such as the independence and performance of the judiciary as well as general respect for human rights; and
• issue recommendations to improve the election framework and democratic environment.
Between July 2005 and June 2006, 12 EU EOMs and four special support missions were deployed mostly using EIDHR funding. All missions were deployed in line with the International Principles for International Election Observation Missions agreed under the aegis of the United Nations in October 2005.
Election Observation Missions and Election Support Projects under the reporting period
An EU Election Observation Mission in Afghanistan headed by Ms. Emma Bonino, MEP, was deployed for the elections to the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly (Wolesi Jirga) and Provincial Councils. The mission was deployed on 7 July 2005. The mission was joined by an Observation Delegation from the EP, led by Mr. Jose Ignacio Salafranca, MEP. In its fi nal report, the EOM concluded that “the parliamentary and provincial council elections held on 18 September 2005 were an important step in a transition process designed to put in place a representative government and thereby to help bring peace to Afghanistan after a quarter-century of confl ict. The elections were held in extremely diffcult conditions and to a timetable that was very tight. (…) Overall, given their complexity and the operational challenges, the elections are an accomplishment, although there were notable shortcomings which will need to be addressed for the future. Preelection preparations were generally good and voting on Election Days was largely peaceful. Although the turn-out was markedly lower than in 2004, millions of Afghan voters and thousands of candidates took part often in a challenging security environment. However post-election day developments revealed signifi cant deficiencies in the wider electoral process. Irregularities and fraud cast a shadow over the integrity of the elections in a number of provinces, a worrying development that should be honestly analyzed and eff ectively addressed in the future”.
The parliamentary elections of Burundi of 4 July 2005 were observed by an EU EOM, headed by Mr. Alain Hutchinson, MEP; the mission was joined by Mr. Johan Van Hecke, MEP on behalf of the EP. The mission concluded that the elections marked an essential step forward in the process of reconciliation and stabilization with the country. Despite a tense campaign marked by violence, polling day generally passed off peacefully. The national independent election commission administered the process eff ectively, which enabled the free expression of the people. Voters demonstrated their attachment to the electoral process by participating in large numbers, despite some intimidation and the generally disappointing attitude of the political players.
An EU EOM headed by General Philippe Morillon, MEP, was deployed from 17 November 2005 until 7 February 2006 to observe the Constitutional referendum of 18-19 December 2005 of the Democratic Republic of Congo and to provide detailed recommendations for the upcoming general elections in 2006. In its fi nal report on the referendum, the mission concluded that it marked a decisive step forward in the process of political transition, leading to the setting up of legitimately elected institutions. Following a decade of devastating wars, Congolese voters demonstrated their attachment to the electoral process by turning out to vote in large numbers and in peace. Despite considerable logistical and operational constraints, the election was administered in an eff ective manner by the national independent electoral commission and enabled the free expression of the people. Given the diffculties faced in the organization of the referendum, however, and in particular during the aggregation of results, it was considered essential to review certain operational concepts, such as an enhanced decentralization of the management of the electoral process and strengthening of the capacities of the election administration, in view of the upcoming elections, for which the referendum served as a test-run.
An EU EOM headed by Ms. Ana Gomes, MEP, was deployed to Ethiopia from mid-March 2005 to observe national and regional parliamentary elections on 15 May 2005. The EU EOM followed the process to its conclusion, including all aspects of the complaints and appeals process, as well as the Somali region elections fi xed for 21
The 6-13 May 2006 elections in Fiji were observed by an EU EOM led by Mr István Szent-Iványi, MEP. The mission noted that the “reasonably good and transparent organization” of the elections, including counting and media coverage, and the high participation of the electorate. “Fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly have been respected. (…) Progress is required in voter registration and education as well as complaints procedures. (…) The absence of clear procedures for handling complaints and the lack of transparency resulted in a lack of accountability”. The EU EOM observed “defi ciencies with the voter register. (…) It contains several inaccuracies, the misallocation of constituencies and the exclusion of eligible voters who were therefore disenfranchised”. The EU EOM noted the “abnormally high rate of invalid votes (9%)” indicating that the “voter education system was not effective (…) It indicates that after three consecutive elections where the Alternative Vote system was in use, a significant number of voters still fi nd it diffcult to understand”. The EU EOM had observed the “inappropriate involvement of the Chief Commander of the Fiji Military Forces before and during the elections”.
An EU EOM headed by Mr. Johan Van Hecke, MEP, was deployed for the presidential elections of Guinea Bissau of 19 June and 24 July. In its final report, the EU EOM concluded that the “election was generally well organized, in a transparentPage 44and inclusive manner, and met essential international principles for democratic elections. Election days were largely peaceful and orderly, and voters were able to exercise their franchise freely, despite a tense pre-second round period which included some violent incidents”. The EU EOM played a signifi cant role in creating a stable environment in which elections could be conducted.
The presidential elections and parliamentary elections in Haiti on 7 February and 21 April 2006 were observed by an EU EOM headed by Mr. Johan Van Hecke, MEP. The mission was deployed from November 2005 to April 2006 and was joined by a Delegation from the European Parliament led by Mr. Glyn Ford, MEP.
In its fi nal report, the mission characterized the elections as an important step in the transition towards more stability and democracy in Haiti. The mission underlined the defi cient administrative and organizational capacity of the electoral authorities and their incapacity to properly conduct the electoral process, notably until the first round of the presidential and parliamentary elections which were delayed several times. In addition, the political and legal framework in which the elections were conducted did not provide for a smooth electoral process. While the logistical and technical support provided by the United Nations Mission and the Organization of American States was indispensable, the lack of coordination among the national and international actors handicapped the operation. The political campaign was dominated by the debate on the return of former President Aristide to Haiti, rather than by ideological and programmatic discussions. Signifi cantly, the turnout for the elections of 21 April (second round, parliamentary elections only) was dramatically lower as compared to the turnout for the fi rst round of the presidential and parliamentary elections of 7 February. The EU EOM has called for a “substantial electoral reform in order to create an autonomous and sustainable electoral planning, management, financing and implementing capacity in Haiti”.
An Election Support Project was established in Iraq to support the Parliamentary elections held on 18 December 2005, including the secondment of three election experts to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq.
In addition a separate project included the deployment of three experts to support, through training activities, the work of 50 local representatives deployed by EU Member States to follow and report on the election process notably in Baghdad, Basra and the North of Iraq, also with a view to making recommendations for the future.
In Liberia an EU EOM headed by Mr Max Van Den Berg, MEP, was deployed for the Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives elections of 11 October and the Presidential runoff on 8 November. The mission began work in Liberia on 9 September 2005 and remained until 27 November. The Mission was joined by a Delegation from the EP led by Ms Marie- Arlette Carlotti, MEP.
In its fi nal report, the EU EOM concluded that the elections “were peaceful, generally well-administered and marked an important step forward in the process of returning Liberia to a normal functioning State. Voters were provided with a wide range of political contestants in a genuinely competitive election process and in contrast to the elections of 1997, were able to cast their ballots free from fear. Despite the diffcult conditions caused by the destroyed infrastructure and the holding of the elections during the rainy season, the electoral authorities made adequate and suffcient arrangements for voters. (…) The new government must give priority to starting an active reconciliation process, in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement truth and reconciliation procedures. The climate of impunity must end and those who stand accused of crimes against humanity must face justice through the courts (…) The new Government, Senate and House of Representatives must cooperated fully with the international community to ensure that former President Charles Taylor is brought to court”.
The Commission deployed two experts to Mauritania from 1 to 30 June 2006 to monitor the referendum on constitutional change in the country. Mauritanians endorsed the changes to the constitution, including possibility for political alternation by referendum in June 2006. The election expert mission commented on the effciency of the Ministry of Interior in organising the elections but noted that not all electoral staff was aware of the applicable procedures. The supervisory CENI (Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante), however, did not fulfi l its mandate in an independent, authorative manner. The experts criticised: the lack of neutrality of the local authorities; the presence of security forces in polling stations; and the impossibility for local observers to observe the elections. The experts' recommendations regarding the review of the legal framework and the transparency of the electoral procedures have been transmitted to the Mauritanian authorities, with a view to the organisation of the parliamentary and municipal elections of November 2006 and the presidential elections of March 2007.
An EU EOM in Sri Lanka headed by John Cushnahan, former MEP and Chief Observer for the 2000, 2001, and 2004 elections in Sri Lanka, was deployed for the Presidential election on 17th November. The mission was deployed from 23 October until 4 December 2005.
In its fi nal report, the mission concluded that “while the 17th November presidential election was conducted in a much improved election environment in the South of the country, a markedly contrasting situation was to be found in the North and East. In areas in which the LTTE either controlled or exercised influence, there was little tangible evidence to show that an election process had actually taken place. Political campaigning was non-existent and voters were prevented from exercising their franchised because of an enforced boycott by the LTTE andPage 45its proxies. Regrettably the distortion of the electoral process in these areas was not a new phenomenon and therefore cannot be ignored. Previous EU EOMs to Sri Lanka have made a number of recommendations but most of them have not yet been implemented. These are put forward again as they remain essential ingredients for strengthening the electoral process. However, on their own, they are insuffcient to address the fundamental malaise that exists in those areas of the North and East where voters have been constantly denied the opportunity to fully participate in the democratic process”.
The Commission deployed two experts to monitor the presidential, parliamentary and local council elections in Tanzania (14 December 2005) and Zanzibar (30 October 2005), including to provide advice on electoral issues to the EU Heads of Mission based in Dar es Salaam.
On the elections in Tanzania the experts concluded that, “While political pluralism does exist, the 2005 elections demonstrate that de facto no opposition party is in a position to challenge the dominance of the ruling [CCM]”. While “the elections were well conducted and the National Election Commission enhanced its reputation for professionalism and independence, some aspects of the election did not comply with international standards. (…) While the overall electoral framework is robust, it is not clear if it is suffciently strong to ensure a genuine democratic election in the event that a closely contested election takes place in the future”.
While progress was noted on the administration of the elections in Zanzibar, including in the fi eld of voter registration, and on the integrity of the electoral process as compared to the 2000 elections, the experts noted a number of important shortcomings requiring urgent electoral reform. These include: interference of the political authorities in the electoral process; lack of transparency of the activities of the electoral authorities; and defi cient complaints and appeals mechanisms. The electoral process was characterised by deep mistrust between the two main parties on Zanzibar and by a campaign marred by violence involving, amongst others, militias associated with the ruling party.
An EU EOM headed by Mr. Max van den Berg, MEP, was deployed in Uganda to observe the presidential and parliamentary elections of 23 February 2006, the first multi-party elections in the country for 26 years. The mission was deployed from 27 January to 10 April 2006 and was joined by a Delegation from the EP led by Mr. Johan Van Hecke, MEP.
The mission reported that “the Ugandan people demonstrated strong commitment to determining their political future by peaceful, democratic means, by participating in large number and expressing confi dence in freely making their own choice between continuity or change. (…) The Electoral Commission managed to maintain signifi cant levels of public confi dence, and organized the elections in a [more] effective and transparent manner; [however] it did not retain the full confi dence of all political parties”. According to the EU EOM, “the elections fell short of full compliance with international principles for genuine democratic elections, in particular because a level playing field was not in place. (…) The President and his party enjoyed substantial advantages over their opponents, which went further than the usual advantages of incumbency and the existing legal presidential privileges; they received overwhelming and positive coverage on state television and radio (…) The preelection and campaign period included controversial accusations and court cases against oppositions candidate and this gave him just a limited time to campaign.” In a judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that, “while not affecting the results of the presidential election in a substantial manner, a number of serious irregularities in the process were noticed”. The Court in its ruling referred to cases of disenfranchised voters, intimidation, partisan election offcials, multiple voting, ballot box stuffng and interference of security forces.
An EU EOM headed by Mr Jose Silva Peneda, MEP, was deployed for the Parliamentary Elections held on 4 December 2005 in Venezuela. The mission was joined by a Delegation from the EP led by Mr. Arunas Degutis, MEP.
In its fi nal report, the mission concluded that the electoral authorities (CNE) “administered the process well and its logistical preparations for the electoral event were acceptable. However, its performance was overshadowed by accusations by the opposition of bias and partisanship. The overriding feature of the preelection period was an absence of confidence on the part of wide sectors of the society in the electoral process and in the independence of the CNE. (…) The principle of automated voting is clearly enshrined in the legal framework. However, the current development and applications of the automated voting process have surpassed the law in various aspects; The discovery of a design flaw in the software of the voting machines, with the consequent remote possibility to violate the secrecy of the vote was dealt with by the CNE in a timely and adequate manner with the elimination of the fi nger-capturing devices. For this reason, the EU EOM took note with surprise of the withdrawal of the majority of the opposition parties only four days before the elections. (…) The Parliamentary elections did not contribute to the reduction of the fracture in the Venezuela society. In this sense, they represented a lost opportunity. In order to recompose this fracture, a more constructive and mature eff ort is required by all political forces”.
Concerning West Bank and Gaza, an EOM, headed by Ms. Véronique De Keyser, MEP, was deployed to observe the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council of 25 January 2006. The mission was deployed from 13 December 2005 until 13 February 2006. The EOM was joined by a Delegation from the EP led by Mr. Edward McMillan-Scott, MEP. In its fi nal report, the mission noted that “the elections refl ected an open and fairly-contested electoral process that was effciently administered. (…) The Central Elections Commission commanded a high degree of public confi dence in its profes-Page 46tion that placed restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms related to elections.”sionalism and independence. It maintained integrity in the face of intimidation. (…) The elections saw impressive voter participation, demonstrating an overwhelming commitment by the Palestinian people to determine their political future via democratic means, in spite of the uncertain conditions in which the elections took place involving a background of delay, unacceptable levels of pre-campaign violence, and an occupaThe EU devoted increased efforts to the follow-up of the fi ndings and recommendations of EU EOMs through their inclusion in EU declarations, political dialogue, cooperation programmes, and EIDHR programming. Following the practice established since 2004, all EU EOM Chief Observers returned to the country where they had observed the election in order to present the EOM final report to a wide range of interlocutors.
During the reporting period, the EU also deployed an Exploratory Mission to the Indonesian Province of Aceh, to Mauritania, Nicaragua, Yemen and Zambia in view of upcoming elections, scheduled for the autumn of 2006.
Election Observation Missions (EOMS) / Election Support Projects (ESPS) 7/2005 – 6/2006 Country
|Democratic Republic of Congo||PhilippeMorillonMEP||EUR1.800.000||117Observers(11intheCoreTeam,26LTO,80STO)|
The EU also continued to support efforts to consolidate a European approach to election observation among EU practitioners, and with EU partner countries. Funding was provided to the Network of Europeans for Electoral Support (NEEDS) project, implemented by a group of specialist European institutions in the fi eld of elections, to conduct a comprehensive training programme for EU observers and experts and organize regional meetings for domestic election observers. Over the reporting period, NEEDS carried out five specialized training sessions for over 149 long-term observers and experts, convened a meeting with the election observation focal points from the Member States, and organized in Jakarta, Indonesia a regional seminar for domestic election observers bringing together 19 participants representing 17 organizations from Asia.
The European Commission remains committed to promoting the highest standards in electoral observation. It participated in the process developed under the umbrella of the UN of elaborating key international standards for election observation, which was supported by all major organizations involved in this fi eld. The Commission was represented at the endorsing Ceremony of the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation Missions in New York in October 2005, and participated in the follow-up meeting hosted by the Commonwealth in June 2006 in London.
Financial Assistance to Elections
The EU provides considerable funds for electoral assistance projects in transition countries. This includes support to:
• capacity and institution building of national election management bodies (EMBs) and election jurisdiction bodies;
• specific activities such as voter registration and the organisation of elections;
• domestic election observation and media monitoring groups;
• civic and voter education by EMBs or civil society; and
• international or regional organisations involved in electoral support.
Assistance to state authorities, including EMBs, is provided exclusively through geographical cooperation funds available for third states (such as the EDF, ALA, CARDS and TACIS programmes42). Support to NGOs involved in electoral assistance can come from these sources as well as from EIDHR funds. In addition, in cases where snap elections have been called in post-conflict situations, support to elections has been provided through the Rapid Reaction Mechanism.
Examples of on-going election assistance projects supported by the EU between July 2005 and June 2006 include:
• support to the Congolese Independent Electoral Commission (Democratic Republic of Congo) in all steps of the organization of the electoral cycle in the context of the different elections scheduled in 2005 (constitutional referendum) and 2006 (presidential, parliamentary, provincial elections). The EC has contributed EUR149 million to an overall budget of EUR 330 million.
• a contribution of over EUR 30 million to the UN Trust Fund to cover the preparation of elections in Iraq, as well as EUR 1.5 million to cover the deployment of three EU experts seconded to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq as well as a training programme for more than 170 domestic observer groups.
• over the past years, a EUR 14 million contribution for the preparation of elections in West Bank and Gaza, including the establishment of an Independent Central Election Commission.
• a start-up contribution of EUR 400,000 to the Burundi Independent National Election Commission; this was followed by a EUR 4 million contribution to the UNDP trust fund in support of the organisation of the 2005 election cycle.
• a contribution of EUR 1.2 million to the UNDP-managed Trust Fund established to support the conduct of the 2005 presidential elections in Guinea Buissau.
The European Commission has provided electoral assistance mostly through UNDP. On 21 April 2006, the Commission and UNDP agreed on Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of Electoral Assistance Programs and Projects. These Guidelines outline practical measures aimed at consolidating conceptual and operational cooperation between the two organisations in the domain of electoral assistance, including at fi eld level.
The EU attaches the same importance to economic, social and cultural rights as to civil and political rights, bearing in mindPage 48the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and inter-relatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, as confirmed by the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna. Both categories of rights stem from the inherent dignity of the human person and the eff ective implementation of each right is indispensable for the full implementation of others. This link is particularly explicit in the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which all European Union member states adhere to, and is also refl ected in the recently adopted Commission Communication towards a Strategy on the Rights of the Child.
In the period under review, the EU participated actively in the third session of the open-ended CHR-working group (February 2006) mandated to consider options regarding the elaboration of an optional protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The EU welcomes the report of the working-group and the decision of the Human Rights Council in June 2006 to extend its mandate for a further two years in order to elaborate an optional protocol in which all options are being taken into account.
The EU has supported several CHR mandates dealing with economic, social and cultural rights, namely the Special Rapporteurs on education, housing, health and food, and the Independent Expert on extreme poverty. The EU welcomes the valuable contributions these Special Procedures of CHR make towards the promotion and protection of human rights in the discharge of their respective mandates.
The understanding of economic, social and cultural rights has deep links with Development. Six of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG) put a strong emphasis on human and social development. The EU placed itself at the forefront of the international eff ort to achieve the MDGs through its commitment to increase the eff ectiveness and volume of aid in the run-up to the September 2005 UN Summit and the subsequent adoption of the European Consensus on Development43 in December 2005. This Declaration is divided in two parts. The fi rst part, called the “European Union Vision of Development” sets out the common objectives and principles for development cooperation. It reaffrms the EU's commitment to poverty eradication, ownership, partnership, delivering more and better aid and promoting policy coherence for development. It will guide Community and Member State development cooperation activities in all developing countries, in a spirit of complementarity. Human rights and good governance are other important objectives. The second part “The EC Development Policy”, defines how the Community will implement the fi rst part, for the resources entrusted to the Community.
In addition, the Community has introduced social development objectives in its most recent bilateral, regional and inter-regional agreements. These agreements contain a commitment by both parties to recognise and promote social rights, including the respect for the ILO core conventions on fundamental labour rights. Examples include agreements with South Africa (1999), Chile (2002), and current negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Since 1998, the Community has been granting trade preferences under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) special incentive scheme for the protection of labour rights. This special incentive is offered on request to those developing countries that ensure ILO core labour rights are respected. Under the new GSP+ scheme, which was adopted by the Council on 27 June 2005 and which entered into force on 1 January 2006, a new GSP incentive for sustainable development and good governance provides additional tariff preferences for vulnerable countries which have signed and effectively implemented a number of international conventions on protection of the environment, good governance and on human and labour rights, including the eight core ILO conventions on labour rights. The GSP+ scheme replaces several previous special incentive schemes.
Currently, some 180 developing countries and dependent territories are granted the basic GSP. In addition, 15 vulnerable countries have been granted GSP+ benefits for a 3-year period (2006-2008) including five Andean countries (Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru & Venezuela), six Central America countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua & Panama), Moldova, Georgia, Mongolia and Sri Lanka.
In exceptional cases including serious and systematic violations of any of the eight ILO conventions on core labour standards, the EU GSP scheme allows for the temporary withdrawal of trade preferences. Under the current GSP Council Regulation, the assessments of ILO supervisory bodies can trigger an investigation as to whether GSP temporary withdrawal is justifi ed. In March 1997, the EU Council temporarily withdrew access to the EU GSP preferential arrangement against Myanmar (Burma) for serious and systematic violations of the ILO Convention on Forced Labour. As serious and systematic violations of this Convention have not ceased, temporary withdrawal remains in force.
The EU has consistently underlined its commitment to the right to development as set out in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of 1993 and in the Declaration on the Right to Development of 1986, where a human person and her/his human rights are the central subject of development. That commitment is articulated also through the development cooperation partnerships and agreements that have been established with countries throughout the world, for example the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacifi c countries.
In December 2005 the EU adopted the ‘European Consensus on Development', a joint EU development policy statement renewing its commitment to development and to the fi ght against poverty, and thereby the Millennium Development Goals. Through this Declaration, where human rights and good governance are important objectives and issues to be mainstreamed, the Community and the Member States will strive to improve coordination, complementarity and recipient country ownership in the delivery of development aid. The EU also committed itself to working towards joint multi-annual programming and common implementation mechanisms including shared analysis, joint donor wide missions, and the use of cofi nancing arrangements.
In November 2005 the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted the traditional resolution on the right to development introduced by Malaysia on behalf of the Non- Aligned Movement. This endorses the agreed conclusions and recommendations adopted by the open-ended Working Group on the Right to Development (the Working Group) at its sixth session (14-18 February 2005), and calls for their immediate, full and eff ective implementation by the Offce of the High
Commissioner (OHCHR) and other relevant actors. It stresses the importance of the core principles contained in the conclusions of the Working Group at its third session (equity, transparency, accountability, non-discrimination).
The EU voted in favour of the resolution. In its explanation of vote the EU emphasized the obligation on the State to work for the fulfi lment of the right to development. In the EU's view, it is the primary responsibility of States to create the national conditions conducive to the fulfi lment of this right. This can best be achieved by applying a human rights perspective to national development plans and global partnerships, which stress the universality, indivisibility, inter-relatedness and interdependence of all human rights. The EU strongly supports the partnership between developed and developing countries set out in the Monterrey Consensus, which states that while ‘Each country has primary responsibility for its own economic development; national development efforts need to be supported by an enabling international economic environment'.
The EU participated actively in the 7th session of the Working Group, which met from 9 to 13th January 2006. The Working Group is mandated by the CHR to monitor and review progress in the promotion and implementation of the right to development and to review reports and other information submitted by States and international or non-governmental organisations. The Working Group considered the report of the High Level Task Force (HLTF) on the Implementation of the Right to Development, relating especially to MDG-8 on global partnerships and the report of the OHCHR prepared for the 62nd and final session of the CHR. The EU underlined the respect for human rights as a prerequisite for eff ective and sustainable development policies and partnerships.
The mandate of the Working Group was extended for a further year on 30 June 2006 by the newly established Human Rights Council. The HLTF will meet for a further 5 days before the end of 2006 with a view to implementing the recommendations of the report of the 7th session of the Working Group.
The EU has a strong commitment to promote intercultural dialogue both within the Union and with third countries. The diversity of the Union has increased with the accession of new Member States and by 2007 the total population will approach 500 million, representing an immense richness of cultural, social and linguistic diversity. Moreover, this coincides with major demographic change resulting in an ageing and shrinking working population and sustained immigration flows leading to an even greater cultural diversity.
In such a context, the shared values such as freedom, fairness, tolerance and solidarity that hold our societies together cannot be sustained without more and more priority being given to promoting mutual knowledge and understanding and intercultural dialogue.
There is clear and growing recognition and awareness in Europe of the need for deeper and more structured intercultural dialogue involving not only national authorities but also civil society at large. It is also important to promote a wide ranging dialogue, involving different religions and beliefs as well as ethnic communities.
For many years the EU and the European Community have developed various complementary instruments to encourage intercultural dialogue both within the EU and with third countries (see box below).
In October 2005 the Commission proposed to make 2008 the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. With an overall budget of EUR10 million, the European Year will draw on the wealth and diversity of a series of specific projects to be implemented during 2008 through Community programmes and other actions. Culture, education, youth, sport and citizenship will be the main areas concerned.
With regards to external relations, in February 2006 the Council of the EU expressed its deep concern with the events that followed the publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in European media. It supported the right to freedom of expression and strongly condemned all violent acts and threats, while at the same time acknowledging and regretting that they were considered off ensive and distressing by Muslims all over the world.
As regards the Mediterranean partner countries, the Euromed Partnership (Barcelona process) has become over the last 10 years the most comprehensive instrument for political dialogue. Political, economic and socio-cultural initiatives developed through the Barcelona instruments have the common objective of creating an area of peace, stability and dialogue with the EU's neighbours. After the publication of the cartoons, the Commission presented a comprehensive package of measures, including the full use of the Anna Lindh Foundation, for dialogue between cultures. These initiatives involve the media, opinion leaders, civil society and youth. Situated in Alexandria, the Foundation promotes dialogue between cultures and contributes to the visibility of the Barcelona Process through intellectual, cultural and civil society exchanges. One key element of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures is the role to be played by the so-called National Networks.
• Erasmus Mundus programme (2004-2008) is a cooperation and mobility programme in the field of higher education, promoting exchanges between the EU and third countries
• Tempus is a higher education cooperation scheme between EU Member States and Partner Countries. The programme has been renewed three times (Tempus II, Tempus IIbis and Tempus III – 2000-2006). Today more than ever there is a need for cooperation between countries in the fi eld of education and a parallel need to enhance understanding between cultures. As the Tempus III decision (of 29/04/99) states: “cooperation on higher education strengthens and deepens the whole fabric of relations existing between people, brings out common cultural values, allows fruitful exchanges of views to take place and facilitates multinational activities in the scientific, cultural, artistic, economic and social spheres” .
• The Youth programme (2000-2006) facilitates youth mobility and exchanges between young persons from 31 European countries.
• The Euro-Med Youth programme covers the Member States and 12 Mediterranean countries.
• The Culture 2000 programme (2000-2004, prolongation until 2006) contributes actively to intercultural dialogue by supporting cultural cooperation projects involving organisations from several European countries. Some projects take place in third countries. Many aim at a better understanding of European cultures in third countries. The new Culture 2007 programme will have the similar objectives and intercultural dialogue will be one of its three priorities.
• The INTI programme is a European Union funding programme for preparatory actions promoting the integration in EU member states of people who are not citizens of the EU. Its aim is also to promote dialogue with civil society, develop integration models, seek out and evaluate best practices in the fi eld of integration, and set up networks at European level.
• Intercultural dialogue as a horizontal criterion is mainstreamed in the new calls for proposals for the majority of the programme in the fields of Education and Culture (e.g. Youth, Leonardo, Culture 2000, Media, e-Learning, Citizenship, audiovisual policy). The new generation of programmes in these fields (2007-2013) will also have intercultural dialogue among their objectives. This is the case for the Youth in Action, Culture 2007 and Active European Citizenship programmes.
The political decisions, workshops, regional programmes and national initiatives of the Euromed Partnership address the need to bring the people of the region closer; it should also be noted that governmental action has been significantly complemented by important contributions by other actors such as the Euromed Non Governmental Platform responsible for the Barcelona process, Civil Fora and the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly. The 10th Anniversary Euro-Mediterranean Summit in Barcelona on 27- 28 November 2005 recognised the crucial role of education for political, social and economic development. In the Five Year Work Programme there were undertakings inter alia to cooperate in combating discrimination, racism, and xenophobia; increasing tolerance; understanding and respect of all religions and cultures; and enhancing the role of the media for the development of intercultural dialogue.
Under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plans, the partner countries have committed themselves to cooperate to combat all forms of discrimination, religious intolerance, racism and xenophobia. Other instruments, like the ASEM process in Asia, provide important vehicles for engaging in intercultural dialogue.
Multilateral fora, such as the UN, are an appropriate platform for the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue. In this sense the EU presented, at UNGA60, a resolution on religious intolerance with an increased focus on the dialogue among civilizations. The resolution which was adopted by consensus recognizes the importance of promoting dialogue as a constructive means to enhance understanding and knowledge. The UNESCO Convention on cultural diversity, is also considered an important tool for the improvement of relations in our diverse societies. The Commission is actively promoting thePage 51prompt ratifi cation of this Convention. Moreover, the EU promotes a strengthened dialogue with other international organizations (the Council of Europe, the OSCE etc.) and the use of Community instruments to provide additional opportunities for enhancing intercultural dialogue. The EU is looking into ways of working with partners and other international actors in the Muslim world, including the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Arab League, to foster tolerance as well as respect for religious and other beliefs and convictions. Particular emphasis is given to the role that free media and NGOs can play in this regard.
The initiative of the Alliance of Civilisations was launched at the UN Summit in September 2005 by the UN Secretary- General and cosponsored by the Prime Ministers of Spain and Turkey. The Alliance seeks to forge collective political will and to mobilize concerted action at the institutional and civil society levels to overcome the prejudice, misperceptions and polarization that militate against such a consensus. And it hopes to contribute to a coalescing global movement which, refl ecting the will of the vast majority of people, rejects extremism in any society. Composed of twenty prominent leaders in the fi elds of politics, academia, civil society, international fi nance, and media from all regions of the world, the High-level Group guides the work of the Alliance of Civilizations, assessing the forces that contribute to extremism, and recommending collective action to counter these forces. The High-level Group will present a fi nal report to the UN Secretary-General by the end of 2006. The report will consist of an analysis of current problems and make recommendations for practical action for counteracting extremism and maintaining peaceful coexistence among societies.
Concerning the rights of asylum seekers, the EU is taking steps towards a common EU asylum system and has already agreed foundation measures. The Hague Programme, which is the work plan for Justice and Home Aff airs for the next fi ve years, foresees a fully fl edged Common European Asylum System by 2010. As part of the Common European Asylum System, the Council Directive (2005/85/EC) on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status came into force on 1 December 2005. The Directive ensures that in the EU Member States all procedures at fi rst instance are subject to the same minimum standards, while consistency with international obligations in this fi eld is maintained.
In order to enhance the protection capacity of regions of origin of refugees, where most refugees are, and better protect existing refugee populations there, the Commission has proposed the implementation of Regional Protection Programmes to help provide durable solutions such as repatriation, local integration or resettlement, in partnership with UNHCR, through practically-based projects and funding. The Council supported the approach proposed in the Commission Communication in September 2005 (COM(2005) 388 fi nal) on Regional Protection Programmes and recognised that such programmes are a fi rst step in improving access to protection and durable solutions for those in need of international protection as quickly and as close to their home as possible. In a spirit of coownership and coresponsibility, Regional Protection Programmes assist third countries which host large refugee communities or are faced with large numbers of asylum applicants in building their protection capacity. The fi rst pilot Regional Protection Programmes are being implemented in the Western New Independent States (Western NIS), notably in Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus. These programmes will focus on strengthening already existing protection capacity by giving practical support to the examination of asylum applications, and the reinforcement of subsidiary protection, integration and documentation. The location of the second pilot Programme is being considered. Potential areas of focus include the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa.
The EU recognizes the need to protect the human rights of migrants, particularly women, and to ensure coordinated action against illegal migration, traffcking in human beings and people smuggling. The European Council Conclusions on Migration and External Relations of November 2005 further reiterated the value of joining up work in the fi eld of migration and external relations across interior aff airs, foreign aff airs and development. The Commission has incorporated migration and asylum questions in its political dialogues with third countries and mainstreamed these issues in its cooperation strategies. It has made a proposal for a better and more coordinated use of existing instruments and policies by issuing a Communication in November 2005 on “Priority actions for responding to the challenges of migration: fi rst follow-up to Hampton Court”. The Communication focused mainly on certain aspects of the management of migration in relation to the Mediterranean area and Africa. This was built on in the “Global Approach to Migration: Priority actions focusing on Africa and the Mediterranean”, which was adopted by Heads of State and Government of the EU in December 2005, in view of concrete actions to be implemented in the course of 2006.
The Communication on ‘A common agenda for integration: framework for integrating third-country nationals in the European Union' was a fi rst response from the Commission to the request in the Hague Programme to establish a coherent European framework for integration. Following the adoption of Common Basic Principles on integration (CSB) by the Justice and Home Aff airs Council of November 2004, the cornerstones of the Communication are proposals for concrete measures to put the CSBs into practice, together with a series of supportive EU mechanisms. The Communication stresses the importance of further clarifying the rights and responsi-Page 52bilities of migrants within the European Union, developing specifi c cooperation activities and exchange of information on integration, mainstreaming and evaluation.
The European Commission has supported the preparation and adoption of the ILO Action Plan on Migrant Workers by the International Labour Conference in June 2004 as well as the development and adoption of the Multilateral Framework for a Rights-Based approach to Migration which has been presented to the ILO Governing Body in March 2006.
Over the last years, the EU has been moving towards a holistic approach to migration taking into full consideration the relationship of migration with development. The European Consensus declaration on development policy states that the intention of the EU is to make migration a positive factor for development, through the promotion of concrete measures aiming at reinforcing their contribution to poverty reduction, including facilitating remittances and limiting the ‘brain drain' of highly skilled people.
The Commission Communication on ‘Migration and Development: some concrete orientations' (September 2005) proposed a toolbox for improving the linkages between migration and the development of countries of origin by addressing at the same time remittances, the role of Diasporas, brain circulation, circular migration and ways of limiting brain drain. The Communication looked at the issue of how migration-related phenomena can impact the development of countries of origin.
The Global Commission on International Migration presented its final report to the UN Secretary General on 5 October 2005. The EU has worked on a substantial follow-up to this report and prepared for the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development that will be launched in September 2006. This dialogue is of central importance to promote global approach to migration and development issues.
The European Union is determined to combat illegal immigration in a comprehensive manner, as this phenomenon puts in question the right of Member States to decide who enters and remains on their territories, and may also endanger the lives of migrants and expose them to exploitation. At the same time, it is committed to ensure that fundamental rights of illegal immigrants are respected. A particular emphasis is given to provisions dealing with procedural safeguards, family unity, and safeguards with respect to detention and coercive measures. e Commission adopted in July 2005 the first annual monitoring and evaluation report identifying the level of cooperation of third countries in the fight against illegal migration. The report was presented to the Council of the European Union with a view to evaluating and improving cooperation on illegal immigration in partnership with the relevant third countries.
The Commission's proposal for a Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals provides for clear and transparent common rules concerning return, removal, use of coercive measures, temporary custody and re-entry, which take fully into account the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the persons concerned. The proposal aims to establish a horizontal set of rules, applicable to any illegally staying third-country national, and provides for a two-step procedure, leading to the ending of an illegal stay. A return decision must be issued to any third-country national staying illegally. Priority must be given to voluntary return. Only if the third-country national concerned does not return voluntarily shall Member States enforce the obligation to return by means of a removal order. The proposal for a directive gives a European dimension to the eff ects of national return measures by establishing a re-entry ban valid throughout the European Union.
Illegal migration is very often linked to human rights abuses and human traffcking. Commission presented in October 2005 (COM(2005) 514 final) its communication “Fighting traffcking in human beings – an integrated approach and proposals for an action plan”. The communication is a bases for further discussion and shows a way to consolidate and improve EU's anti traffcking policy. It will help addressing human traffcking by action not only in the area of justice and home affairs but also by taking appropriate initiatives in other policy fi elds, notably in the EU's external relations and development policy.
The Commission adopted in January 2006 a Communication presenting the objectives and priorities of the new thematic programme on migration and asylum, which will continue the AENEAS Programme activities under the new Financial Perspectives 2007-2013. This thematic programme will be included in the new legislative framework for external actions of the Community, i.e. the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and the Development Cooperation and Economic Cooperation Instrument (DCECI). The Commission suggests that the new programme focus on the following strands:
• Fostering the links between migration and development
• Promoting well-managed labour migration
• Fighting illegal immigration and facilitating the readmission of illegal immigrants
• Protecting migrants against exploitation and exclusion
• Promoting asylum and international protection, including through Regional Protection Programmes
The Commission has entered into discussion with the European Parliament and the Council on the scope, objectives and priorities for this thematic programme. The result of this process will provide the political orientations for the subsequent stages of programming through a thematic strategy paper.
Racism and xenophobia are incompatible with the principles upon which the EU is founded. EU institutions have repeatedly rejected and condemned all their manifestations. The EU, within the limits of the powers conferred on it by the Treaties, determinedly pursues a clear policy of fighting these phenomena, both within its borders and in the context of its external action.
In 1997, Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty gave the European Union a legal base on which to develop ‘appropriate measures to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation'. Using these powers the EU adopted with unanimity the Racial Equality Directive in June 2000 (2000/43/EC) and the Employment Framework Directive in November 2000 (2000/78/EC).
Member States have made further progress during the last year in implementing these two Directives, which prohibit direct and indirect discrimination, as well as harassment, on grounds of religion and belief, age, disability and sexual orientation in the employment field, and on grounds of racial or ethnic origin in a range of fields (employment, social protection, education and access to goods, services and housing etc). These Directives have raised significantly the level of protection against discrimination across the EU. In some countries, this has involved the introduction of an entirely new, rights-based approach to anti- discrimination legislation and policy.
Nevertheless, the Commission was obliged to launch infringement procedures against some Member States for late or incomplete transposition of these Directives. In 2005 the European Court of Justice found that Luxembourg and Germany had failed to transpose the Racial Equality Directive and that Austria and Finland had not done so fully. The Commission is now studying whether national legislation in the Member States correctly reflects the Directives. It is also supporting a range of complementary actions to raise awareness and to train judges, lawyers and representatives of civil society in the principles of non-discrimination law.
The Commission will undertake an in-depth study into the relevance and feasibility of possible new measures to complement the current legal framework. To this aim, it has launched a Mapping Study examining national provisions, which go beyond the requirements of the EC Directives, in Member States and in some third countries. The results are expected at the end of 2006.
The ‘2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All' is the centerpiece of the European Commission's framework strategy for non-discrimination and equal opportunities. Activities during the thematic year will be carried out both at the European and the national level. Much of the activity will be devoted to national coordination bodies and national action plans. Other new initiatives include the creation of a high-level advisory group to look at integration in social and labour markets by minorities, including the Roma44.
A proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia was presented by the Commission in November 2001. The purpose of the Framework Decision is twofold: to ensure that racism and xenophobia are punishable in all Member States by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties and to improve and encourage judicial cooperation by removing potential obstacles.
The proposal criminalizes intentional conduct such as incitation to violence or hate towards a group of people, or a person belonging to a group, defined on the basis of race, color, descent, religion or belief, national or ethnic origin, as well as the public denial or gross trivialization of crimes against humankind and war crimes. It addresses every form of racism (including religiously motivated racism) without listing specific groups of people which could be victims of racist conduct. Nevertheless, after several years of discussion, Member States are unable to reach agreement on the Framework Decision, the main obstacle being diffculties in finding the right balance between freedom of expression and repression of racist behaviour. Discussions are currently at a stalemate in Council.
The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), based in Vienna, provides research and analysis which is essential to a proper understanding of the extent and development of manifestations of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism in the EU. The EUMC conducts its regular data collection activities through RAXEN, an EU-wide network of national focal points, on the basis of common guidelines for all EU member states. The findings are published in its Annual Report, most recently published in November 2005, and other publications, such as comparative reports on key thematic areas.
Within the period under review, the EUMC published three comparative reports: (1) Policing Racist Crime and Violence; (2) Migrants, Minorities and Housing; and (3) Roma and Travellers in Public Education. Through RAXEN, the EUMC is also able to collect data and information in response to immediate concerns. After the 7 July 2005 London bomb attacks, the EUMC conducted a specific data collection in order to gather evidence on the impact of the events on the EU's Muslim communities. The EUMC also provided an update of information concerning manifestations of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic attitudes in the EU between 2001 and 2005.
In addition, the EUMC continued its specific work on Roma. Together with the OSCE and the Council of Europe, it coorganised the “International Conference on the implementationPage 54and harmonisation of national policies on Roma, Sinti and Travellers”. It continued to support a unique network of female Roma activists, the International Roma Women Network. The EUMC also cooperated with a number of European cities and followed-up its earlier work to collate good practices for integrating Muslim communities at the local level. The results were highlighted in a conference with the Committee of the Regions on the “Contribution of local and regional authorities to the protection of minorities and anti-discrimination policies”.
The EUMC cooperates with the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), which is the Council of Europe's principal body in combating racism and intolerance in wider Europe. Through its country reports, ECRI monitors and analyses progress made towards combating violence, discrimination and racial prejudice in each of the 46 member states of the Council of Europe and puts proposals to governments for addressing the problems it identifi es.
In June 2005 the European Commission published a proposal for the establishment of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, expanding the EUMC's mandate. The proposed start date of the agency is 1 January 2007.
The EUMC participated in May 2006 in the organization of the Euro-Mediterranean Seminar entitled “Racism, Xenophobia and the Media: Towards Respect and Understanding of all Religions and Cultures”. The event offered policy-makers and media practitioners an opportunity to widen and deepen the debate on the issues of xenophobia and racism in the media, and to explore ways of contributing towards respect and understanding of all religions and cultures.
In the external relations context, the EU is actively engaged in efforts within the United Nations to tackle racism and discrimination. During the UNGA 60, the EU supported the follow-up to the Durban resolution45, which in general was passed rather smoothly compared to previous years, with considerable help from Costa Rica in its chairing of negotiations and moderate positions on behalf of South Africa. In its explanation of vote, the EU stressed the importance of the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination and urged all states to ratify it and implement its provisions as a matter of priority, and to adopt eff ective measures at a national level to combat the symptoms and causes of racism and discrimination.
The EU has incorporated racism and xenophobia issues in its political dialogues with third countries, for example Russia and China. These issues have also been mainstreamed in cooperation strategies; for example under the European Neighborhood Policy Action Plans, the partner countries commit themselves to cooperate to combat all forms of discrimination, religious intolerance, racism and xenophobia.
The fight against racism, xenophobia, and discrimination against minorities and indigenous people is a priority for funding under the EIDHR. The theme has been included in general and specific calls for proposals to select projects for funding. A call for proposals covering this theme for EUR 5 million was launched in January 2005. A total of 13 projects were selected for funding for an overall amount of EUR 4,55 millions, providing concrete follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action of 2001 (see chapter 3.7).
An independent external evaluation was on the EIDHR program on racism, xenophobia and discrimination was fi nalized in October 2005. The evaluation comprised a desk study and field visits to 17 projects funded by the EIDHR. The results of this evaluation are positive. The consultants observe, for example, that many of the projects could show substantial results, undoubtedly improving the lives of those who are victims of racism and discrimination. The projects are reaching some of the most vulnerable members of discriminated communities in some of the most challenging environments in the world. The evaluators considered that this work could be undertaken best by NGOs that can win the trust of those minorities. The projects that appeared to have the most impact and the best prospects of sustainability were those with consciously used human rights standards and adopted a rights based approach, a coherent design, based on a sound in-depth analysis of the country situation and that were able to respond to changing circumstances. The weaknesses observed were mostly linked to some of the procedures, delays and lack of fl exibility which limit the effectiveness of the projects.
To improve coordination, the Commission set up early 2006 an Inter-Service Group for Racism and Xenophobia. The group meets four times a year and serves as platform for exchange of information within the Commission services and when deemed necessary, with other institutions.
The EU's commitment to persons with disabilities is expressed in Article 26 of the EU Charter on Fundamental rights:
“The Union recognises and respects the right of persons with disabilities to benefi t from measures designed to ensure their independence, social and occupation integration and participation in the life of the community.”
The EU continued to demonstrate its commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of disabled people in Europe in line with the European Union Disability Strategy. This strategy places emphasis on dignity, fundamental rights, protection against discrimination, fairness and social cohesion. The implementation tool for this strategy is the European Disability
Action Plan46 which has three main focuses: access to individual rights; elimination of barriers which prevent people with disabilities from exercising their abilities; and mainstreaming of disability issues in the broad range of Community policies which impact, directly or indirectly, the situation of people with disabilities.
Cooperation between the Commission and Member States is facilitated by the EU Disability High Level Group which gathers member states and Commission representatives, representatives of people with disabilities and stakeholders on a regular basis to continue the development of synergies in disability policies at EU level. This forum for exchange pools information, experience and advice and contributes to better reporting by the European Commission on the EU-wide situation of people with disabilities. This in turn allows progress to continue in establishing an environment capable of supporting the active inclusion of people with disabilities into society and the economy. Cooperation is further facilitated by awareness-raising initiatives such as the European Commission cycle of policy conferences which take place every year on the European Day of Disabled People in December, and Presidency conferences which are held on a regular basis.
The EU believes that people with disabilities should be involved in the planning, monitoring and evaluation of policy and practice concerning disability. As such, it continues its dialogue with the European Disability Forum (an umbrella organisation representing European Disability NGOs and National Disability Councils) and Social Partners (employers associations, trades unions and workers associations, plus associated civil society organisations relating to the world of work) in eff orts towards active inclusion of people with disabilities.
As part of the Communication on the follow-up to the European Year of people with disabilities in 200347, the Commission presents a Disability Report every two years to consider progress in the implementation of the European Disability Strategy and address the subsequent phase of the Action Plan (2006-7). The first report was published in November 2005 in the framework of a further Communication “Situation of disabled people in the enlarged European Union: the European Action Plan”48. The report presents the overall situation of people with disabilities within the enlarged EU. It takes into account new developments in Member States and highlights the positive results brought about by European Council Directive 2000/78/EC, which established the general legal framework for the equal treatment of, inter alia, people with disabilities in employment and occupation in all European Member States.
The European Commission initiative to designate 2007 as the European Year of Equal Opportunities is the centrepiece of a framework strategy designed to ensure that discrimination is effectively tackled, diversity is celebrated and equal opportunities are promoted. The strategy is set out in a Communication adopted by the European Commission in June 2005 and aims to ensure that anti-discrimination legislation, including Directive 2000/78/EC, is fully implemented and enforced.
The United Nations estimates that more than half a billion people in the world are disabled and that their lives are often limited by physical, technical and social barriers, which both contribute to and derive from discrimination against them. The EU is fully engaged in the negotiations in the General Assembly on the draft United Nations International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In 2001 the General Assembly established an Ad Hoc Committee to consider proposals to draft an international convention to address these issues; the EU fully contributes to the initiative. The sixth and seventh sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee took place in New York in August 2005 and in January 2006.49
In sum, the aim of the EU is to agree a convention that ensures the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities. In pursuing
European Initiative from Democracy and Human Rights – Combating Racism and Conflict Transformation in Israel
The project, implemented by Mossawa Center, aims to combat racism and transform inter-communal relations between target groups who include the Jewish majority, Arab minority and ethnic groups including the Russian, Ethiopian, Mizrahi. It also aims to reform Jewish communities in Israel, by cultivating inter-communal understanding, respect for the rights of all minorities, and the eventual prevention of inter-group confl ict and violence. The project's activities are based on a three-pronged approach 1) combating racism, 2) educating to prevent discrimination and conflict and 3) fostering new values in support of a democratic, multi-cultural and intercultural society with full rights accorded to all minority groups. Key activities include monitoring hate crimes, legal advocacy, governmental advocacy, media campaigns, community outreach, training and monitoring of the implementation of international agreements, including with the EU. The Commission funding to the project through EIDHR amounts to EUR 298.660. The project started in December 2005.
This, the EU has also underlined that existing human rights instruments apply in their entirety to persons with disabilities. This convention should therefore serve to complement existing human rights laws by providing a tailored basis to address the situations faced by persons with disabilities and enabling them full enjoyment of all their rights. It should contain concrete commitments and attract the greatest possible number of ratifications. Negotiations on the convention are due to enter the final phases in August 2006.
Active participation in efforts at the international level to develop effective mechanisms to combat discrimination against persons with disabilities demonstrates the importance the EU attaches to promoting and protecting the rights of disabled people. Successful ratifi cation and entry into force of the international convention will further enable the EU to turn its attention outward in promoting and protecting of the rights of disabled people in the broader global context to complement its work within the Union.
The EU is committed to respecting fully the human rights of all persons, including those belonging to minorities. The EU Charter on Fundamental Rights calls for the protection of cultural, religious and linguistic diversity while the Treaty on the European Union upholds the principle of full enjoyment of rights and freedoms without discrimination, including association with a national minority, as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 14). Furthermore, article 13 of the Treaty establishing the European Community allows the Community to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based, among other things, on ethnic origin.
Minority groups in the EU include Roma,50 who are considered to be one of the largest minority communities. Numerous assessments of their situation in member states show that the Roma community continues to suff er marked discrimination and social exclusion, encountering diffculties in gaining equal access to education, employment, social security, healthcare, housing, public services and justice. Roma women are often subject to multiple discrimination, a fact which was recognised by the European Parliament with a resolution on the situation of Roma women in the European Union adopted on 1st June 2006. The resolution called upon public authorities to carry out an enquiry as soon as possible on the allegations of severe human rights violations against Roma women and to rapidly bring penalties against those responsible with adequate compensation for the victims.
The Committee of the Regions' opinion (May 2006) on the European Parliament's resolution on the protection of minorities and anti-discrimination policies in an enlarged Europe
In its 2005 report52 on the progress made in preventing violations of fundamental rights within the EU, the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights53 raised particular concerns about the integration of minority children in education, and in particular the pervasive segregation of Roma children in schools. The report's findings are confi rmed by those of the EUMC 54 and the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe55. Overall, the network's report found that whilst important eff orts are being made in the Union (e.g. in Austria eff ective implementation of relevant national laws means that minority language education structures in Burgenland are open to monolingual German speakers), provisions in some member states are in need of considerable development.
“e United Nations Population Information Network estimates that there are almost 50 million disabled people in Africa. […] Only 2% has access to any form of rehabilitation; 90% of children with mental disability die before age 5; and 70% of disabled adults are unemployed and live in poverty. […] ough there is little information about the prevalence and incidence of disabling diseases in Africa, it is [believed] that much of the disability stems from poor nutritional status, communicable diseases and low inoculation and immunization rates” 1 . People with mental disabilities often remain voiceless and are therefore even more vulnerable to the numerous, wide-reaching and interwoven consequences of discrimination, stigmatisation and poverty encountered by disabled people all over the world.
In Africa disability carries a certain stigma and often means that “when a person becomes disabled or a disabled child is born, the individual and family often enter into a new world about which they know next to nothing and where stereotyped notions abound. ey are often infl uenced by cultural or religious traditions which see disability as a curse or the manifestation of sin and disgrace in the family. […] Media portrayals of persons with disabilities have also helped to enforce these stereotypes […] projecting images of dependency, unfitness [and] incapacity. A direct correlation exists between disability and poverty; […] disability adds to the risk of poverty, and conditions of poverty increase the risk of disability”
1 From disability NGO Pearls of Africa “Disabilities in Africa” information sheet http://www.pearlsofafrica.org/htmlDIA.html
Eidhr and Disability Right in Uganda
Disabled people in Uganda, like in most developing countries in the world, face extreme conditions of poverty; they have limited opportunities for accessing education, health, suitable housing and employment opportunities, and are often immobilized by inadequate transportation systems and architectural barriers. In most cases persons with disabilities are not aware of their rights and potentials.
Action on Disability and Development (ADD), an international disability NGO funded by the EIDHR, has been working with Disabled People's Organisations (DPOs) to enable them to become eff ective, self-suffcient, democratic and representative organizations, and to ensure that Government and donor programmes are adopting disability inclusive policies and are responsive to the demands of disabled people and Disability Rights Movement in Uganda.
It aims to do this by:
• Building strong associations of disabled people
• Raising awareness of disability issues in the country amongst government and NGOs
• Supporting organizations involved in making mobility appliances
• Providing skills and training for disabled people
• Providing information and education in health, mobility, state services
There were two notable developments at the European level during the reporting period. Firstly, the establishment of an expert group to promote social integration of ethnic minorities in the EU,56 which had its first meeting in February 2006. The group is due to report back before the end of 2007 withpolicy recommendations on how the EU can approach the problems of social and labour market exclusion for disadvantaged minorities57. Secondly, the afore mentioned designation of 2007 by the European Commission as the European Year of Equal Opportunities58. The framework strategy which accompanies the European Year also looks at what more the EU can do to tackle discrimination and promote equality beyond the legal protection of the right to equal treatment. Both of these developments introduce greater scope for the EU to further develop its understanding of minority issues and to ensure they are addressed in its policies.
The EU's aim of expanding a zone of prosperity, stability and security is manifested in its process of enlargement. The membership criteria for countries wishing to join, laid down at the Copenhagen European Council in 1993, state:
“[M]embership requires that the candidate country has achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the respect for and protection of minorities'.
In 2005 and the first half of 2006, particular attention continued to be paid to persons belonging to minorities within the context of the EU enlargement process, as well as in relation to the Stabilisation and Association process with Western Balkans countries59. Key progress to be noted was the accession of Montenegro to the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities60.
“Entrenched discrimination against ethnic, cultural and linguistic minorities means that, in many parts of the world, they remain the poorest of the poor and yet are denied access to justice or to development opportunities to enable them to challenge their discrimination and break out of long-term cycles of poverty.[…] Education is […] central to the life chances of minority communities [and] it is almost impossible to determine whether it is poverty that leads to lack of education or lack of education that leads to poverty. In practice, minority communities are often caught in a vicious circle where they are denied access to the skills they need to pull themselves out of poverty. Conversely, the benefits of quality education are revealed not just in improved literacy rates, they also have the eff ect of improving opportunities and increasing access to economic and social justice” 1 . Segregated schooling of Roma can be seen as the result of the interplay of a number of factors including deep-seated anti-Roma racism, indifference of educational systems to cultural diversity and a lack of effective equal opportunity policy or protection against discrimination as well as pressure for segregation from non-Roma.
1 NGO Minority Rights Group International (MRG) annual review: http://www.minorityrights.org/admin/Download/pdf/AnnualReport.pdf
In this context the record of acceding and candidate countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Croatia, fYRoM) continued to be assessed in reports presented by the European Commission to the EP and to the Council, with Roma communities identifi ed as some of the most vulnerable. Aimed at measuring progress made by candidates towards accession, these reports also contain precise recommendations to the candidate countries with a view to improving their practices. The current and future pre-accession fi nancial instruments provide EU funding to promote non-discrimination and equal opportunities in countries that are preparing for membership of the EU.
Looking outward to the EU's role in third countries, the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities continued to be a key feature of external relations. Rights of persons belonging to minorities continued to be raised with several third countries within the framework of the human rights dialogues that the EU conducts with them. A number of projects tailored to the promotion of rights of persons belonging to minorities were funded by the EIDHR in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, as well as Turkey.
At the UN level, the independent expert on minority issues61, in line with her mandate, issued her first annual report on 6 January 200662 detailing her activities, methods of work and areas of concern and priorities for her two year tenure. In the report she highlights the eff ects that rights of persons belonging to minorities have in the context of poverty reduction and the promotion of political and social stability, and the need for greater understanding and acknowledgement of them in that context.
In her conclusion she reiterated the principle provided in the commentary to the Declaration on the Rights of Minorities
“but a positive attitude toward cultural pluralism on the part of the State and the larger society. Not only acceptance but also respect for the distinctive characteristics and contribution of minorities to the life of a national society as a whole are required.”
The independent expert is the only UN special procedure providing a holistic overview of the positive value of minority inclusion. In this regard, her work is a valuable source in informing the EU's approach to minority issues in relations with third countries. The EU also continues to follow with interest and supports the UN Working Group on Minorities and is actively involved in the work of international organisations dealing with minorities issues, such as the OSCE and its Offce of the High Commissioner for National Minorities.
Overall, protecting the rights of persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic minorities both within the EU and outside continues to pose a real challenge. The EU is aware, not least due to experience in its member states, that there may be no easy answers or simple solutions. Core concerns of national minorities can be identifi ed as participation, language and education. It is necessary to strive for the effective equalisation of opportunities for persons belonging to minorities – through positive actions – to enjoy their rights and to participate fully in all aspects of life.
The guiding principles for EU engagement towards indigenous peoples are contained in the Council resolution of 30 November 199864 which sets the issue in the framework of development cooperation.
EIDHR: Protection of rights of persons belonging to minorities and prohibition of discrimination in Turkey
Minority Rights Groups International (MRG)1 is currently implementing a 3 year project aimed at the protection of all religious, ethnic and linguistic minorities in Turkey. Working with three local partners the project comprises 4 main components:
• an overall country report due for publication in Spring 2007 in Turkish, English and minority languages as a basis for future advocacy work;
• research on discrimination against minorities in education and preparation of guidelines for protection of their rights in this regard;
• research on discrimination issues and looking at domestic remedies including drafting an anti-discrimination law, as well as taking 5 strategic litigation cases to the domestic courts;
• research into the issues surrounding the right to return and property of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
The project organised a roundtable meeting in June 2006 in Sarajevo to examine the displaced persons experience in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The objective was to draw lessons learnt and identify good and bad practice. As a follow up to this, the project is in the process of preparing an action plan including information about the IDP problem in Turkey, relevant international standards, and concluding with specific recommendations to the government of Turkey and other decision makers.
The EU bases its own action on participation and consultation while acknowledging the importance that indigenous peoples attach to their self-development and their own social, economic and cultural identity. The Council Conclusions of 18 November 200265 suggested a number of measures to speed up the implementation of the 1998 principles66. Such measures included mainstreaming of indigenous peoples' issues into EU policy, practices and working methods, identifi cation of focal points in the Commission and in Member States, training of Commission offcials at headquarters and in delegations, and the development of a long-term dialogue with indigenous peoples.
The EIDHR funds programmes to promote the rights of indigenous peoples. In 2005, the fi rst global call for proposals was launched to select projects to support indigenous peoples' engagement with mechanisms of the UN and other international bodies. Total of 14 projects were selected as part of this global call and other smaller projects received funding in the framework of local calls for proposals, launched by EC delegations. For 2006 the selection of projects for funding under the EIDHR is ongoing (see chapter 3.7.).
In the context of preparatory work on Country and Regional Strategy Papers for 2007-2013, particular attention has been paid to the mainstreaming of indigenous peoples' concerns, including through the elaboration of simple guidelines for country offcers and delegations. The Commission continued specifi c training for offcials and pursued close cooperation with international organisations, notably the OHCHR, ILO and UNICEF. Commission actions in this field are coordinated by an inter-service group, consisting of colleagues dealing with the issue in different services. The group serves increasingly as a forum for indigenous peoples' representatives and NGOs to present their concerns and exchange ideas when visiting Brussels.
In addition to the contribution of EU member states to UN indigenous peoples' programmes, the EIDHR has been actively supporting activities related to international and regional processes relevant to indigenous peoples:
• a project with the OHCHR to support the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the world's indigenous peoples in Mexico and Guatemala;
• a project with the ILO for i) documenting and exchanging best practices for implementing indigenous rights, ii) support to the eff orts of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights in documenting existing legal provisions on indigenous issues and iii) support to dialogue and confl ict resolution in Nepal (see box); India and Bangladesh;
• a project with the NGO DOCIP to support the participation of indigenous representatives in relevant UN fora.
The EU continued its involvement in international fora dealing with indigenous issues. The EU supported the adoption by the Human Rights Council in its fi rst session of the “Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples” and is committed to its fi nal adoption by the General Assembly before the end of 2006.
EU action is particularly eff ective on thematic issues on which the EU is perceived as having a strong record of promoting and protecting particular human rights. A good example is the fact that all EU member states have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, which permits the EU to speak from a position of authority. Where the EU is tackling human rights with in its own borders – for example racism and other forms of intolerance – it can both raise the issues effectively internationally and share ideas on best practices. Conversely, where EU's own record has been subject to international criticism, which may make it harder for the EU to get the message across to third countries.
There is thus a clear link between the EU's actions at internal and external level. During the year, for instance issues related to combating terrorism have been raised, and for instance the issue of CIA fl ights in Europe has been debated. The need for intercultural dialogue, based on universal standards and involving the civil society, was underlined by the events sparked by the cartoons published in a Danish newspaper.
Human rights challenges in the EU have increasingly been taken up by third countries in dialogue meetings and other contacts. The EU must of course be prepared to discuss human rights issues in its own area as well, along with raising human rights issues in other countries. The existing linkage between internal and external human rights actions has underlined the need to continue to discuss how the EU is ensuring implementation of these core values in its own area, and thus ensuring coherence of its human rights policies also in this sense.
During the year covered by the Report, the EU undertook evaluations on its policies for instance with regard to human rights defenders. In this context it was welcomed that the HRD Guidelines have assisted in coordinating a common and more joined-up EU approach in many countries. Awareness-raising on the Guidelines is still needed. Such proactive steps as the freedom of expression campaigns from July to December 2005, the EU NGO Forum focusing on freedom of expression and Human rights defenders in December 2005 as well as the ongoing campaign dedicated to women human rights defenders have no doubt advanced the implementation and raised awareness amongst EU missions, policy makers in capitals and Brussels, and human rights defenders themselves on the HRD guidelines.
As another example, the Council in its conclusion of 12 December 2005 welcomed progress made towards the implementation of the CAAC Guidelines. At the same time, it noted that further mainstreaming of this aspect throughout the EU system, including crisis management was necessary, as was the strengthening of the cooperation with UN bodies concerning the implementation of UNSCR 1612. The implementation of the guidelines further requires thorough reporting on action taken on the ground, all actors concerned should devote a special attention to this issue.
EIDHR Supporting the peace process in Nepal
Through a targeted project grant to the ILO, the EIDHR is contributing to the Peace Process in Nepal by building capacity for dialogue.
The serious and sustained armed confl ict in Nepal has been caused in part by the marginalized position of large sections of the population, including approximately 38 % of the population that belong to indigenous groups. This project will build on the existing consensus among all stakeholders on the need to address issues of social exclusion, including that suff ered by indigenous nationalities, to ensure sustainable and lasting peace. In this regard, the provisions of ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples provide a comprehensive development framework for addressing the needs of these peoples. Furthermore, any peace agreement should also include separate negotiations on identity and rights issues raised by indigenous peoples, including education, language, gender, culture, traditional knowledge and land rights, all of which are covered by the Convention 169.
The EIDHR support will allow the ILO to play a key role in Nepal. The project focuses on enhancing the capacity for dialogue and promotion of ratification and implementation of Convention 169 and other relevant ILO conventions. It will also promote the main elements of the “Decent Work Agenda” for indigenous and tribal peoples in Nepal. The development of
Decent Work Agenda also offers an opportunity for civil society, in particular the ILO constituents (workers and employers organisations) to work in partnership with indigenous peoples. This will help to raise awareness of indigenous issues among those who are crafting the peace process, as well as the wider population, and draw attention to the problems faced by indigenous peoples in the world of work, which include discrimination, resulting in unemployment, underemployment, child and bonded labour as well as fuelling discontent and conflict.
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