Human rights and democracy - the EU's new action plan

Today’s conflicts and widespread attempts to flout human rights require a strong and determined response from the European Union (EU).

ACT

Joint communication to the European Parliament and the Council - Action plan on human rights and democracy (2015-2019) ‘Keeping human rights at the heart of the EU agenda’ (JOIN(2015) 16 final of 28 April 2015).

SUMMARY

Today’s conflicts and widespread attempts to flout human rights require a strong and determined response from the European Union (EU).

The new EU action plan on human rights and democracy aims to strengthen the implementation of the EU’s human rights policy all over the world. It focuses on the role of civil society actors in defending human rights and providing support for human rights defenders.

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THIS JOINT COMMUNICATION?

The purpose of the European Commission and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy joint communication (JC) is to propose an action plan on human rights and democracy for the period 2015-2019.

The Council of the EU adopted the action plan on 20 July 2015 with its conclusions on the action plan on human rights and democracy 2015-2019. It will be implemented by the EU institutions, together with the EU countries and the strong involvement of civil society organisations.

KEY POINTS

The 2015-2019 action plan places special emphasis on ownership by, and cooperation with, local institutions and mechanisms, including national human rights institutions, as well as civil society.

Principles

The action plan is intended to:

Strategic areas

The action plan has 5 main strategic areas of action:

A worldwide plan

The actions implemented under the EU action plan will apply to all regions of the world, taking into consideration local needs.

The plan will be subject to a mid-term review in 2017 to assess the main results made and take into account new challenges.

BACKGROUND

In 2012, the EU adopted its strategic framework on human rights and democracy which included a 2012-2014 action plan. This sought to promote the mainstreaming of human rights considerations in a wide range of EU policies.

After this 3-year strategic plan, which contained 97 actions, some areas were seen to require additional efforts. These are to be addressed in the 2015-2019 action plan.

For further information, see:

KEY WORDS

RELATED ACTS

Council conclusions on human rights and democracy, the EU strategic framework on human rights and democracy and an EU action plan on human rights and democracy of 25 June 2012.

Council conclusions on the action plan on human rights and democracy 2015-2019 of 20 July 2015.

last update 16.08.2015