The Impact of the Resolutions and Other Activities of the European Parliament in the Field of Human Rights Outside the EU

05-12-2012

The European Parliament is seen as the most principled and outspoken EU institution within the field of human rights. However, empirical research focused on Belarus, China, Cuba, Egypt, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe suggests that translating this visibility into tangible results — protecting individuals and organisations and influencing third countries' policies violating human rights — remains an elusive goal. Many factors that determine the impact of the Parliament in the field of human rights are external to the Parliament and beyond its control. Others, however, stem from a lack of coordination between the Parliament and the European External Action Service. Within the Parliament, factors that can influence the organisation's impact include the level of coherence, consistency and coordination of activities. To strengthen its effectiveness, the European Parliament should make the following adaptations: strengthen contacts with civil society in third countries to reinforce the institution's position as a supporter of human rights; increase its internal coherence and coordination across different instruments; and exploit the powers granted by the Lisbon Treaty to promote an effective and common EU human rights strategy.

The European Parliament is seen as the most principled and outspoken EU institution within the field of human rights. However, empirical research focused on Belarus, China, Cuba, Egypt, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe suggests that translating this visibility into tangible results — protecting individuals and organisations and influencing third countries' policies violating human rights — remains an elusive goal. Many factors that determine the impact of the Parliament in the field of human rights are external to the Parliament and beyond its control. Others, however, stem from a lack of coordination between the Parliament and the European External Action Service. Within the Parliament, factors that can influence the organisation's impact include the level of coherence, consistency and coordination of activities. To strengthen its effectiveness, the European Parliament should make the following adaptations: strengthen contacts with civil society in third countries to reinforce the institution's position as a supporter of human rights; increase its internal coherence and coordination across different instruments; and exploit the powers granted by the Lisbon Treaty to promote an effective and common EU human rights strategy.