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Study on the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders has been published

How well are the EU, its member states and partners protecting and supporting Human Rights Defenders worldwide? This is the subject of an implementation report on the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, for which I am rapporteur as the Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Committee. The report aims to identify concrete options for action and recommendations for improved implementation of the EU Guidelines.

To support the work of the Human Rights Committee, the European Parliamentary Research Service has now published a study on the topic. It contains many findings and recommendations that are important to us. The study underpins some of our demands in the EU's treatment of Human Rights Defenders, such as:

  • Human Rights Defenders need easier access to visa. They have a right to protection and security.
  • The definition of "Human Rights Defenders" in the EU Guidelines must be expanded. Several years have passed since the guidelines were drafted and Human Rights Defenders are now also active in areas such as climate protection. The Guidelines should take this into account.
  • The guidelines must take new threats into consideration – think of cybersecurity. Entirely new potential hazards have emerged in in this area.
  • In addition, the specific challenges faced by female Human Rights Defenders should be considered.
  • In addition, the EU, its member states and partners should provide more money and personnel for the protection of Human Rights Defenders, as they are increasingly exposed to threats – the amount of murders of activists has been on the rise for years. This includes money for security training for Human Rights Defenders and their families.
  • Finally, financial support should be paid for longer: This is the only way Human Rights Defenders* can continue their valuable work.

What happens next?

In the upcoming implementation report, we will of course include the findings and recommendations of the study. The draft report is expected to be presented to the Human Rights Committee in October. I will of course keep you informed!

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