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2019 report on human rights and democracy

06-07-2020

Parliament's July plenary session is scheduled to feature a statement by Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union, and a debate on the recently published 'EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2019'. The report takes stock of all EU action in 2019 in support of democracy and human rights in the world. Parliament will subsequently respond with its own report issuing recommendations for the future.

Parliament's July plenary session is scheduled to feature a statement by Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union, and a debate on the recently published 'EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2019'. The report takes stock of all EU action in 2019 in support of democracy and human rights in the world. Parliament will subsequently respond with its own report issuing recommendations for the future.

Challenges for environmental and indigenous peoples’ rights in the Amazon region

30-06-2020

The present analysis examines the environmental and human rights challenges in the Amazon region. It finds that the Amazonian countries pursue development policies in the region based on the exploitation on an industrial scale of natural and non-renewable resources that have caused and continue to cause deforestation, loss of biodiversity and engender human rights violations in particular affecting indigenous peoples. The analysis acknowledges the measures taken by the Amazonian countries to establish ...

The present analysis examines the environmental and human rights challenges in the Amazon region. It finds that the Amazonian countries pursue development policies in the region based on the exploitation on an industrial scale of natural and non-renewable resources that have caused and continue to cause deforestation, loss of biodiversity and engender human rights violations in particular affecting indigenous peoples. The analysis acknowledges the measures taken by the Amazonian countries to establish protected areas and support indigenous territories and their rights but concludes that the laws need strengthening and effective enforcement. The analysis argues that the protection of the Amazon biome is an essential part of the global efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and concurs with the view of some scientists that there is an urgency to stop forest loss. The analysis further notes that the most effective guardians of the Amazonian forest and its biodiversity are its indigenous peoples. The analysis concludes by arguing that the European Union has an interest in contributing to the protection of the Amazon and its indigenous peoples. It recommends, among other things, that the EU strengthen its direct support to Amazonian indigenous peoples and environmental defenders and develop effective measures which target EU-based companies whose activities cause deforestation.

Ārējais autors

Dr. Julian BURGER

Artificial intelligence: How does it work, why does it matter, and what can we do about it?

28-06-2020

Artificial intelligence (AI) is probably the defining technology of the last decade, and perhaps also the next. The aim of this report is to support meaningful reflection and productive debate about AI by providing accessible information about the full range of current and speculative techniques and their associated impacts, and setting out a wide range of regulatory, technological and societal measures that could be mobilised in response.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is probably the defining technology of the last decade, and perhaps also the next. The aim of this report is to support meaningful reflection and productive debate about AI by providing accessible information about the full range of current and speculative techniques and their associated impacts, and setting out a wide range of regulatory, technological and societal measures that could be mobilised in response.

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa

25-06-2020

The new EU-Africa Strategy presented by the Commission on 9 March puts a reinforced emphasis on the creation of a real partnership with a continent whose relevance for Europe is growing by the day. The three briefings focus on different aspects of this new partnership, the first one dealing with the implications for the political dialogue with a focus on (good) governance and the even bigger challenge of security and migration. The second briefing has a look at more ‘traditional’ aspects of this ...

The new EU-Africa Strategy presented by the Commission on 9 March puts a reinforced emphasis on the creation of a real partnership with a continent whose relevance for Europe is growing by the day. The three briefings focus on different aspects of this new partnership, the first one dealing with the implications for the political dialogue with a focus on (good) governance and the even bigger challenge of security and migration. The second briefing has a look at more ‘traditional’ aspects of this relationship, development and humanitarian aid, complemented with the rising challenge of climate change. The new approach is also illustrated by the emphasis put on the promotion of bilateral trade and investment relations, the topic of the third briefing. All these briefings also try to incorporate first elements on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the bilateral relationship.

Ārējais autors

Morten BØÅS, Ondřej HORKÝ-HLUCHÁŇ,Ainhoa MARIN-EGOSCOZABAL

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa - Political Dialogue: Governance, Security and Migration

25-06-2020

Much has changed since the creation of the Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy in 2007. The developing world has been changing fast. Development policy and practices are also transforming, albeit at a slower pace. The divide between emerging economies and ‘fragile states’ is increasing. This is also the case in Africa. As not only Africa, but also the EU-Africa relationship is changing and evolving into new dimensions, there is clearly a need to develop a new European strategy, constructed ...

Much has changed since the creation of the Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy in 2007. The developing world has been changing fast. Development policy and practices are also transforming, albeit at a slower pace. The divide between emerging economies and ‘fragile states’ is increasing. This is also the case in Africa. As not only Africa, but also the EU-Africa relationship is changing and evolving into new dimensions, there is clearly a need to develop a new European strategy, constructed on the basis of an emerging continent. Africa is home to the youngest population in the world and some of the world’s most fragile states. However, it is also a continent with emerging markets and more effective governments. This brief aims to clarify how well the new Strategy must manage to mainstream a European approach to Africa that considers both the inter-continental dialogue and the diversity of development on this emerging continent within the fields of governance, security and migration. As the COVID-19 has turned into a pandemic, the brief also suggests that the new European strategy must reflect this development and the European Parliament should closely monitor the situation as it discusses the Strategy.

Ārējais autors

Morten BØÅS

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa - Development, Humanitarian Aid and Climate Change

25-06-2020

The new EU Strategy for Africa attempts to reflect the continent’s growing relevance within a partnership rather than through a donor-recipient framework. However, this leads to a prioritisation of the formal, productive and technology sectors as well as climate mitigation at the expense of agriculture, informal sector, human development and climate adaptation. With such skewed priorities, this Strategy is ill-adapted for the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Institutionally, political will is ...

The new EU Strategy for Africa attempts to reflect the continent’s growing relevance within a partnership rather than through a donor-recipient framework. However, this leads to a prioritisation of the formal, productive and technology sectors as well as climate mitigation at the expense of agriculture, informal sector, human development and climate adaptation. With such skewed priorities, this Strategy is ill-adapted for the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Institutionally, political will is needed to ensure that the continent-to-continent approach is not hampered by parallel, contradictory and fragmenting forces within the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) governance frameworks. Financially, mutual accountability must be strengthened by joint funding of joint actions. An inclusive institutional mechanism is also needed to promote political and civil society participation as well as policy coherence for sustainable development beyond migration and climate. More generally, the Strategy advances a government-to-government type of partnership at the expense of a more people-centred approach that is more in line with the ‘principled pragmatism’ of the EU.

Ārējais autors

Ondřej HORKÝ-HLUCHÁŇ

Sakharov Prize laureates in difficulty: Facing repression for defending human rights

05-06-2020

The Sakharov Prize is awarded by the European Parliament each year for outstanding achievements in the service of human rights. Defending human rights in countries where they are most under pressure does however come with significant risks for defenders, who are often harassed, persecuted, and deprived of personal freedom. Since its beginning, the Prize has been awarded to human rights defenders, some of whom were behind bars, serving long prison sentences because of their fight, such as Nelson Mandela ...

The Sakharov Prize is awarded by the European Parliament each year for outstanding achievements in the service of human rights. Defending human rights in countries where they are most under pressure does however come with significant risks for defenders, who are often harassed, persecuted, and deprived of personal freedom. Since its beginning, the Prize has been awarded to human rights defenders, some of whom were behind bars, serving long prison sentences because of their fight, such as Nelson Mandela. This has not changed much today. Several Sakharov laureates of recent years were in jail when they were awarded the Prize and are still not free today. Others suffered new or additional prison terms because of their activity. The Sakharov Prize brings the cause and the fight of its laureates to world attention. On the occasion of awarding the Prize, Parliament, through the voice of its President, usually calls for jailed laureates to be released from prison. Parliament also uses all the means in its parliamentary diplomacy toolbox to protect from state repression those that it honours through the Prize. The steady follow-up by Parliament of the situation of Sakharov laureates and the urgency resolutions which mention those in difficulty regularly help to keep their struggle in the spotlight. EU diplomacy complements Parliament's efforts through statements, dialogues, and démarches, in line with the general EU policy on protecting human rights defenders. While such actions add to international pressure to secure the release of human rights defenders, they do not always succeed in moving repressive regimes. 2019 saw the liberation of Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian film-maker who received the Prize in 2018, from a Russian jail, but other countries such as China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Venezuela have been relentless in their repression of Sakharov laureates, not giving in to EU calls for their liberation. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic puts jailed laureates at particular risk, but none of those in prison has benefited from the conditional release awarded on a large scale to common criminals, for example in Iran.

Discriminatory Laws Undermining Women’s Rights

20-05-2020

This paper provides insight into the current situation and recent trends in the abolition or reform of discriminatory laws undermining women's rights in countries outside the European Union (EU). The paper aims to provide a nuanced understanding of processes through which legal reforms take place. Among the factors that have proven to facilitate legal reform are the ratification of international human rights treaties, feminist activism, legal and public advocacy by women’s rights and other human ...

This paper provides insight into the current situation and recent trends in the abolition or reform of discriminatory laws undermining women's rights in countries outside the European Union (EU). The paper aims to provide a nuanced understanding of processes through which legal reforms take place. Among the factors that have proven to facilitate legal reform are the ratification of international human rights treaties, feminist activism, legal and public advocacy by women’s rights and other human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs), political dialogue, and increased women's representation in decision-making processes. Incremental steps supported by the EU towards the abolition of discriminatory laws across all legal categories, EU engagement with a broad range of stakeholders at both national and local levels, programmes supporting the gathering of gender-disaggregated data across all sectors and the publicising of data to draw attention to gender inequality in law and practice, among others, can all contribute towards successful reform of discriminatory laws. Striking the right balance between funding programmes that mainstream gender and funding dedicated to gender-targeted programmes, together with the increased use of country gender profiles, are essential in order to achieve quality legal reforms.

Ārējais autors

Mr. Paul DALTON, Ms. Deniz DEVRIM, Mr. Roland BLOMEYER, Ms. Senni MUT-TRACY

Václav Havel: Advocate of an undivided Europe

08-05-2020

Despite a 'bourgeois' family background, which was a disqualification in communist-led Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel rapidly became an internationally acclaimed playwright. However, his unequivocally proclaimed ethical principles soon put him at odds with the communist regime, resulting in several prison sentences. Havel nevertheless held fast to his belief that moral integrity was a question of necessity, not choice, and attempted to live up to this ideal. The 1989 collapse of the regime made Havel ...

Despite a 'bourgeois' family background, which was a disqualification in communist-led Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel rapidly became an internationally acclaimed playwright. However, his unequivocally proclaimed ethical principles soon put him at odds with the communist regime, resulting in several prison sentences. Havel nevertheless held fast to his belief that moral integrity was a question of necessity, not choice, and attempted to live up to this ideal. The 1989 collapse of the regime made Havel a hero and, shortly after, an unlikely President. During his years in office, he managed to drive his country through the challenges of moving to a free market democracy, while maintaining his personal moral convictions and tirelessly advocating for larger issues of human rights, peace and democracy, underpinned by an active civil society. While Havel and his collaborators recast the foundations of today's Czech and Slovak democracies, his achievements in foreign policy have perhaps been even more important. Reminding Western countries of the dangers of a Europe that continued to be divided even after the removal of the Iron Curtain, Havel was instrumental in anchoring the new Czech Republic in western Europe, through its membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). He both recognised and emphasised the importance of closer European cooperation based on shared values, which for Havel constituted the core of relations among European countries. A firm advocate of the Euro-Atlantic alliance, he supported the United States of America, even on occasions when some other western European countries were reluctant to do so. With his political writings reaching far beyond the circumstances in which they were written, Havel is considered one of the most important intellectuals of the 20th century. He has received numerous honours and awards. One of the European Parliament's buildings in Strasbourg has borne Václav Havel's name since 2017.

Recommendations for a transparent and detailed reporting system on arms exports within the EU and to third countries

08-05-2020

The EU’s annual report on arms export control presently lags behind the national reports of many countries. The introduction of a searchable online database will be a substantial step in increasing the user-friendliness of the report. This paper makes recommendations with regard to readability, comprehensiveness and comparability. Perhaps the principal recommendation is that steps be taken to harmonise the data provided under the categories ‘licensed value’ and ‘actual exports’, which are presently ...

The EU’s annual report on arms export control presently lags behind the national reports of many countries. The introduction of a searchable online database will be a substantial step in increasing the user-friendliness of the report. This paper makes recommendations with regard to readability, comprehensiveness and comparability. Perhaps the principal recommendation is that steps be taken to harmonise the data provided under the categories ‘licensed value’ and ‘actual exports’, which are presently not consistently interpreted across the EU. The main argument of this paper is that the EU should move towards using data visualisation to complement the lengthy statistical tables in the annual report and thus make it more readable. The EU and its Member States should also explore opportunities to enhance the data contained in the report to include additional identified data fields, narrative sections to complement the statistical data, and disaggregated data on licence denials. In identifying additional data fields that could be included, the paper also examines the challenges associated with the provision of the data in each case.

Ārējais autors

Dr Ian J. STEWART, Dr Benedict WILKINSON, Prof. Christoph O. MEYER, King's College, London, UK

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