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Human rights in Belarus: The EU’s role since 2016

05-06-2018

This study provides an overview of the European Union’s contribution to promoting and protecting human rights in Belarus since 2016. This analysis presents the main human rights trends in Belarus, examining legislation, policy commitments and violations of human rights. While the Belarusian government has made nominal concessions towards the EU, no systemic progress in terms of human rights has been made in the post-2016 period. The study also describes and assesses the EU’s human rights promotion ...

This study provides an overview of the European Union’s contribution to promoting and protecting human rights in Belarus since 2016. This analysis presents the main human rights trends in Belarus, examining legislation, policy commitments and violations of human rights. While the Belarusian government has made nominal concessions towards the EU, no systemic progress in terms of human rights has been made in the post-2016 period. The study also describes and assesses the EU’s human rights promotion activities in bilateral EU-Belarus relations, within the context of the Eastern Partnership multilateral dimension and in regard to financial assistance. Although the EU has expanded the range of its political dialogue with Belarus since 2016, it has had very little influence over the human rights situation in the country. The EU’s impact has been limited not just because of the very nature of the Belarusian regime. EU institutions and member states have increasingly prioritised geopolitical interests as well as the stability and resilience of Belarus over human rights concerns. The EU should increase efforts to mainstream human rights in all aspects of its relations with Belarus and find a better balance between ‘normalisation’ and ‘conditionality’ based policy approaches vis-à-vis the country.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Gisele BOSSE, Alena VIEIRA

Political and Electoral Rights of Non-citizen Residents in Latvia and Estonia: Current Situation and Perspectives

16-05-2018

Persons with undetermined citizenship of Estonia and non-citizens of Latvia (‘respective non-citizen populations’) do not have the right to take part in the elections to the European Parliament. The position of Estonia and Latvia is that their respective non-citizen populations have certain legal links with respective States but that these populations are not their nationals. There are certain differences between persons with undetermined citizenship of Estonia and non-citizens of Latvia, both regarding ...

Persons with undetermined citizenship of Estonia and non-citizens of Latvia (‘respective non-citizen populations’) do not have the right to take part in the elections to the European Parliament. The position of Estonia and Latvia is that their respective non-citizen populations have certain legal links with respective States but that these populations are not their nationals. There are certain differences between persons with undetermined citizenship of Estonia and non-citizens of Latvia, both regarding the formal title of the status and the content of the rights (for example, Estonian non-citizen population can vote in municipal elections). The background to the status of respective non-citizen populations is set by public international law rules on the statehood of Baltic States. The mainstream position is that Baltic States were unlawfully controlled by the Soviet Union until the early 1990s, therefore Soviet-era settlers and their descendants did not have an automatic right to their nationality. There are three ways of conceptualising the legal status of the respective non-citizen populations. The Estonian and Latvian position that they have a special status has been accepted by some States and, by necessary implication, by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. Some UN human rights institutions characterise these peoples as stateless. The third reading, suggested by certain legal writers, is that respective non-citizen populations are nationals with limited political rights.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Martins Paparinskis

Expansion of the concept of human rights: Impact on rights promotion and protection

20-03-2018

This report summarises the proceedings of a workshop organised by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI). Academics, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) discussed the potential positive and negative impacts of the expansion of the human rights concept on the lives of individuals. Some of the invited experts underlined that human rights have always evolved in response to changing historical contexts and that ...

This report summarises the proceedings of a workshop organised by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI). Academics, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) discussed the potential positive and negative impacts of the expansion of the human rights concept on the lives of individuals. Some of the invited experts underlined that human rights have always evolved in response to changing historical contexts and that, despite some potential negative effects, empirical evidence suggests that the benefits of their expansion largely outweigh the costs. Others argued that certain expansions can have the effect of diluting the human rights system altogether and can be instrumental for states willing to undermine core civil and political rights and to avoid scrutiny of their own violations. Finally, the EEAS outlined the EU’s action on human rights protection and promotion around the globe and highlighted that the EU’s priority is to continue to exercise leadership and unity on human rights matters in multilateral fora.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Giulia BONACQUISTI, Rosa FREEDMAN, Malcolm LANGFORD

A stable Egypt for a stable region: Socio-economic challenges and prospects

19-01-2018

Seven years after the 2011 uprising in Egypt, a combination of domestic challenges, together with instability in the Middle East and North Africa region has stalled the country’s ongoing transition. Stability in Egypt is key for the region, and the country’s international partners such as the EU have a clear interest in helping move the country towards stability and prosperity. To that end, this study investigates the main challenges facing Egypt, focusing on social, economic, political and environmental ...

Seven years after the 2011 uprising in Egypt, a combination of domestic challenges, together with instability in the Middle East and North Africa region has stalled the country’s ongoing transition. Stability in Egypt is key for the region, and the country’s international partners such as the EU have a clear interest in helping move the country towards stability and prosperity. To that end, this study investigates the main challenges facing Egypt, focusing on social, economic, political and environmental challenges. The study analyses the implications of these challenges for Egypt’s stability in the coming decades. The study then examines the key drivers of EU-Egypt relations and provides a number of policy recommendations on how the EU can support Egypt’s longer-term stability. The study argues that the EU’s economic and security engagement with Egypt should not come at the expense of supporting democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The study also argues that EU programmatic assistance to Egypt should focus on youth, women, education, and entrepreneurship. Finally, the study also argues that the EU’s engagement is likely to be more successful if EU member states are more unified in their approach towards Egypt.

Sakharov Prize Finalists 2017

04-12-2017

Short presentation of two Sakharov Prize Finalists 2017.

Short presentation of two Sakharov Prize Finalists 2017.

EU-Cuba relations: a new chapter begins

18-07-2017

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence ...

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence can already be applied provisionally, but the agreement will only enter into force in full after it has been ratified in all the EU Member States. Since negotiations on the PDCA began in 2014, Cuba’s relations with the EU and individual Member States have intensified considerably. For the EU, the PDCA is a tool for supporting a process of change and modernisation in Cuba, while for Cuba it represents the ‘normalisation’ of the relationship with an important economic and trade partner and helps it to diversify its external relations. Parliament will focus, in monitoring the implementation of the PDCA, on two areas of particular concern to the EP: human rights and civil liberties on Cuba, and the role of Cuban civil society.

Shrinking space for civil society: the EU response

12-04-2017

The EU has developed an impressive range of policy tools for pushing back against restrictions on civil society across the world. It has gradually improved the way it deploys these instruments and has helped protect many activists at risk. Notwithstanding this, the EU needs to sharpen its ‘shrinking space’ strategy. This study suggests a range of precise policy changes it should contemplate to this end. It advocates a number of strategic guidelines that could help make the EU’s responses more proactive ...

The EU has developed an impressive range of policy tools for pushing back against restrictions on civil society across the world. It has gradually improved the way it deploys these instruments and has helped protect many activists at risk. Notwithstanding this, the EU needs to sharpen its ‘shrinking space’ strategy. This study suggests a range of precise policy changes it should contemplate to this end. It advocates a number of strategic guidelines that could help make the EU’s responses more proactive; better able to tackle the broad structural elements of the shrinking space; fully balanced between political and development approaches; and geared towards building more inclusive alliances against new restrictions on civil society.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Richard YOUNGS (Senior Fellow at Carnegie Europe, Belgium and Professor at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom) and Ana ECHAGÜE (independent consultant)

Workshop on EU-Turkmenistan Relations

27-03-2017

EU-Turkmenistan relations are in a position to be redefined by the proposed EU-Turkmenistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which will require the consent of the European Parliament (and of the national parliaments of the EU member states). This workshop served as a debate platform with the intention of clarifying the understanding of the current political and societal dynamics in Turkmenistan. Such an agreement should represent a basis to enforce better standards of human rights, rule of ...

EU-Turkmenistan relations are in a position to be redefined by the proposed EU-Turkmenistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which will require the consent of the European Parliament (and of the national parliaments of the EU member states). This workshop served as a debate platform with the intention of clarifying the understanding of the current political and societal dynamics in Turkmenistan. Such an agreement should represent a basis to enforce better standards of human rights, rule of law, and democracy in Turkmenistan, as well as for more intensive economic cooperation between the EU and Turkmenistan, which currently faces an economic crisis. The two concepts are apparently complementary but deciding which one constituted the more useful approach for engagement was the central point that structured the discussion. Regardless of the angle from which they approached the issue, however, a majority of participants in the workshop debate expressed support for adoption of the treaty, while some NGO representatives took a more cautious view.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Sébastien Peyrouse and Luca Ancheschi

Human Rights in Iran after the Nuclear Deal Business as Usual or Time for Change?

13-03-2017

This report summarises the proceedings of a workshop organised jointly by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Delegation for relations with Iran (D-IR). The purpose of the workshop was to analyse the most recent developments regarding human rights in Iran since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed in July 2015 and to explore the options available to the EU in seeking to help improve the situation. Experts and human rights defenders pointed to ...

This report summarises the proceedings of a workshop organised jointly by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Delegation for relations with Iran (D-IR). The purpose of the workshop was to analyse the most recent developments regarding human rights in Iran since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed in July 2015 and to explore the options available to the EU in seeking to help improve the situation. Experts and human rights defenders pointed to the gaps between law and practice in Iran and raised continuing concerns about the death penalty, political prisoners, prison conditions, arrests of dual nationals, minority rights and restrictions to internet access. They identified Iran’s dual power structure of elected and non-elected institutions and corruption as some of the chief constraints to any reform efforts. They said the EU should keep human rights — including support for the relevant UN mechanisms and efforts — high on its agenda. They said the key factors for engaging successfully with Iran on human rights in future were clear criteria and benchmarks, detailed knowledge of the human rights issues at stake and interaction with Iranian civil society both inside and outside Iran.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Firouzeh NAHAVANDI (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium - chapter 2.1) ; Nazila GHANEA (University of Oxford, the UK - chapter 2.2) and Giulia BONACQUISTI (Trans European Policy Studies Association - TEPSA, Belgium - workshop report)

Legal aid in criminal proceedings

27-09-2016

The EU is close to taking the final step on the long road to improving citizens’ legal defence rights. The October plenary is due to vote on the compromise agreement reached by co-legislators on the proposed legal aid directive.

The EU is close to taking the final step on the long road to improving citizens’ legal defence rights. The October plenary is due to vote on the compromise agreement reached by co-legislators on the proposed legal aid directive.

Tulevat tapahtumat

20-11-2019
Europe's Future: Where next for EU institutional Reform?
Muu tapahtuma -
EPRS

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