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Procedure : 2023/2118(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A9-0424/2023

Texts tabled :

A9-0424/2023

Debates :

PV 27/02/2024 - 14
CRE 27/02/2024 - 14

Votes :

PV 28/02/2024 - 17.3

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2024)0106

Texts adopted
PDF 231kWORD 85k
Wednesday, 28 February 2024 - Strasbourg
Human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter – annual report 2023
P9_TA(2024)0106A9-0424/2023

European Parliament resolution of 28 February 2024 on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter – annual report 2023 (2023/2118(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to Articles 2, 3, 8, 21 and 23 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Articles 17 and 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other United Nations human rights treaties and instruments,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

–  having regard to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention and to its 1967 Protocol,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 and United Nations Human Rights Council resolution 43/29 of 22 June 2020 on the prevention of genocide,

–  having regard to the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid of 1976,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) of 10 December 1984,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of 18 December 1979,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),

–  having regard to the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly resolution 36/55 of 25 November 1981,

–  having regard to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities of 18 December 1992,

–  having regard to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 53/144 on 9 December 1998,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989 and the two Optional Protocols thereto, adopted on 25 May 2000,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Protocol) Resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000 and to its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, which entered into force on 25 December 2003,

–  having regard to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, which entered into force on 24 December 2014, and the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports of 5 June 1998,

–  having regard to the United Nations Beijing Declaration of September 1995,

–  having regard to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted on 25 September 2015, in particular goals 1, 4, 5, 8, 10 and 16 thereof,

–  having regard to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration adopted on 19 December 2018 and the Global Compact on Refugees of 17 December 2018,

–  having regard to the eighth review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, adopted on 22 June 2023,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Conventions of 4 April 1997 for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine, and the Additional Protocols thereto, of 16 May 2005 on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and of 25 October 2007 on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention of 11 May 2011 on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention), which not all Member States have ratified,

–  having regard to Protocols No. 6 and No. 13 to the Council of Europe Convention of 28 April 1983 for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms concerning the Abolition of the Death Penalty,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) 2020/1998 of 7 December 2020 concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/947 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 June 2021 establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe, amending and repealing Decision No 466/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EU) 2017/1601 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 480/2009(2),

–  having regard to the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024, adopted by the Council on 17 November 2020 and its Mid-term Review adopted on 9 June 2023,

–  having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 25 November 2020 entitled ‘EU Gender Action Plan (GAP) III – An Ambitious Agenda for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in External Action’ (JOIN(2020)0017),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 18 September 2020 entitled ‘A Union of Equality: EU anti-racism action plan 2020-2025’ (COM(2020)0565),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 24 March 2021 on the EU strategy on the rights of the child (COM(2021)0142),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 3 March 2021 entitled ‘Union of Equality: Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030’ (COM(2021)0101),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 12 November 2020 entitled ‘Union of Equality: LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025’ (COM(2020)0698),

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on human rights defenders, adopted by the Council on 14 June 2004 and revised in 2008, and having regard to the second guidance note on the Guidelines’ implementation, endorsed in 2020,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law of 2005, as updated in 2009(3),

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on the death penalty, as updated by the Council on 12 April 2013,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief, adopted by the Council on 24 June 2013,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons, adopted by the Council on 24 June 2013,

–  having regard to the EU Human Rights Guidelines on freedom of expression online and offline, adopted by the Council on 12 May 2014,

–  having regard to the EU Human Rights Guidelines on non-discrimination in external action, adopted by the Council on 18 March 2019,

–  having regard to the EU Human Rights Guidelines on safe drinking water and sanitation, adopted by the Council on 17 June 2019,

–  having regard to the revised Guidelines on the EU’s policy towards third countries on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, adopted by the Council on 16 September 2019,

–  having regard to the revised EU Guidelines on human rights dialogues with partner/third countries, approved by the Council on 22 February 2021,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 12 September 2012 entitled ‘The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with Civil Society in external relations’ (COM(2012)0492),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 10 March 2023 on the role of the civic space in protecting and promoting fundamental rights in the EU,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 20 February 2023 on EU priorities in UN human rights forums 2023,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 23 February 2022 for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence and amending Directive (EU) 2019/1937 (COM(2022)0071),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 14 September 2022 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on prohibiting products made with forced labour on the Union market (COM(2022)0453),

–  having regard to the joint proposal by the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 3 May 2023 for a Council regulation on restrictive measures against serious acts of corruption (JOIN(2023)0013),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Reykjavik Declaration ‘United around our values’ of 16-17 May 2023,

–  having regard to the report of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights entitled ‘Protecting human rights defenders at risk: EU entry, stay and support’ of 11 July 2023,

–  having regard to the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2022,

–  having regard to the Joint Roadmap of 7 September 2022 of the European Parliament and Rotating Presidencies of the Council on the organisation, coordination, and implementation of the timeline for the negotiations between the co-legislators on the CEAS and the New European Pact on migration and asylum,

–  having regard to its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and its laureates, awarded in 2023 to Jina Mahsa Amini and the Woman, Life and Freedom Movement of Iran,

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2019 on EU Guidelines and the mandate of the EU Special Envoy on the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2020 on Gender Equality in EU’s foreign and security policy(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2021 on human rights protection and the EU external migration policy(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2021 on the effects of climate change on human rights and the role of environmental defenders on this matter(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 July 2021 on the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime (EU Magnitsky Act)(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 September 2021 with recommendations to the Commission on identifying gender-based violence as a new area of crime listed in Article 83(1) TFEU(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 March 2023 on the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders(10),

–  having regard to its recommendation of 17 February 2022 to the Council and the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy concerning corruption and human rights(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 January 2023 on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter – annual report 2022(12), and to its previous resolutions on earlier annual reports,

–  having regard to its resolutions on breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (known as urgency resolutions), adopted in accordance with Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure since 2019, in particular those adopted in 2022 and 2023,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 May 2022 on the persecution of minorities on the grounds of belief or religion(13),

–  having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A9-0424/2023),

A.  whereas 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC);

B.  whereas the European Union is guided in its external action by the values and principles enshrined in Article 2, Article 3(5) and Article 21(2) TEU and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which have inspired the EU’s own creation, development and enlargement; whereas these values include, first and foremost, respect for human dignity, fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and the universality and indivisibility of human rights, the principles of equality, solidarity and non-discrimination and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law;

C.  whereas the Union, within its external action, must define and pursue common policies and actions to consolidate and support democracy and human rights, according to Article 21(2) TEU; whereas this can be only achieved by successfully placing democracy and human rights at the core of all of the EU’s policies and tools, including trade, development, security and defence, and enlargement, among others;

D.  whereas consistency and coherence between the EU’s internal and external policies based on the Union’s founding principles and values are key for achieving effective and credible EU human rights and democracy support policies;

E.  whereas democratic countries must guarantee every person’s ability to enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms; whereas the EU remains fully committed to the defence of multilateralism and universal values, principles and norms that guide UN member states; whereas the EU and partners should uphold the defence of the universality of human rights as a priority;

F.  whereas the rules-based international order is being increasingly challenged by different actors who, working alone or through concerted action, are attempting to undermine multilateral organisations and subvert, circumvent or thwart the implementation of international humanitarian law and human rights law; whereas information manipulation and interference have become part of the arsenal that autocratic actors use to exert pressure on democratic values and norms, eroding checks on the abuse of power, increasing the incidence and severity of human rights violations and constricting spaces for civil society, independent media and democratic opposition movements;

G.  whereas the number of autocracies has increased, with 70 % of the world’s population now living under authoritarian rule according to the University of Gothenburg(14); whereas democratic backsliding has become a defining global trend in politics and includes established democracies, which still face problems of political polarisation, institutional dysfunction and threats to civil liberties; whereas this rise in authoritarianism, illiberalism and reactionary trends worldwide, including in the European Union, threatens the global rules-based order, the protection and promotion of human rights and democracy in the world, as well as the values and principles on which the European Union is founded;

H.  whereas this year’s mid-term review of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024 has shown that, despite the progress achieved so far, the EU, together with like-minded partners, cannot remain complacent, especially in the context of the unprecedented challenges to human rights, freedom and democracy around the world;

I.  whereas violations of the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion continue around the world and are giving rise to oppression, conflict and war, and breaches of international law;

J.  whereas in the 2010 report to the Human Rights Council, the independent expert in the field of cultural rights identified cultural rights as rights relating to a broad range of human rights-related issues and values, such as the right to participate in cultural life and education, among others, as well as the presence of cultural rights in different international human rights instruments;

K.  whereas gender equality is a core value of the EU; whereas the human rights of women and girls, including their sexual and reproductive rights, continue to be violated across the world; whereas women human rights defenders and civil society organisations working on gender equality, women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights continue to experience shrinking space for their critical work, as well as threats of violence, harassment and intimidation; whereas gender mainstreaming and an intersectional approach should therefore be implemented and integrated as a horizontal principle in all EU activities and policies;

L.  whereas the energy crisis, coupled with the food production crisis, increases poverty and vulnerability in the world, with a detrimental impact on human rights;

M.  whereas responsible business conduct by EU-based companies plays a crucial role in ensuring that EU policies on human rights are effectively implemented both within and outside of the EU, including with regard to labour; whereas the EU is committed to promoting the implementation of responsible business conduct across all sectors of production and on all levels of the value chain, and to the protection of victims of business-related human rights violations and abuses;

N.  whereas environmental emergencies, including those resulting from climate change, deforestation and extractive business operations, can lead to human rights violations and affect not only individuals and communities in their immediate vicinity, but also humanity as a whole; whereas in recent years there has been an increase in the number of murders, assaults and in other forms of violence against people who defend environmental rights, including among indigenous populations; whereas climate change and environmental degradation are two urgent and interlinked challenges undermining both sustainable development and the enjoyment of human rights globally; whereas harm against the environment and the effects of climate change are exacerbating precariousness, marginalisation and inequality, increasingly forcing people to leave their homes or trapping them in unsafe settings, where their vulnerability is increased;

O.  whereas human rights defenders (HRDs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) are essential allies in the EU’s efforts to protect and promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law and prevent conflicts worldwide; whereas it is therefore in the core interests of the EU and its Member States to support their work and protect them as well as the space in which they operate; whereas governments across the world are increasingly adopting new kinds of tactics and restrictive measures against HRDs in order to censor their work and silence and harass them; whereas such measures include strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs), restrictive government policies, defamation campaigns, discrimination and intimidation or violence, including extrajudicial killings, abductions and arbitrary arrest and detention; whereas attacks against HRDs are increasingly also targeting their families and communities; whereas the space for civil society is shrinking, including as a result of the adoption by states around the world of increasingly strict licensing procedures for CSOs, bans or caps on the financing that CSOs can receive from donors, and through attaching a ‘foreign agent’ stigma to CSOs; whereas a climate of impunity for violations committed against HRDs prevails in numerous countries around the world;

P.  whereas terrorism continues to be one of the biggest threats to international peace and security, and is a clear breach of human rights and fundamental freedoms;

Q.  whereas the 2021 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought was awarded to Alexei Navalny; whereas Navalny had been imprisoned since February 2021 in inhumane conditions; whereas his last place of detention was in Yamalo-Nenets in Western Siberia, where he was murdered on 16 February 2024;

Addressing global trends and major challenges

1.  Reasserts the universality, interdependence, interrelatedness and indivisibility of human rights and the inherent dignity of every human being; reaffirms the duty of the EU and its Member States to promote and protect democracy, the rule of law and the universality and inalienability of human rights around the world in a resolute, coherent and consistent manner; calls for the EU and its Member States to promote the joining of forces between democracies and the relevant international and regional organisations in order to address threats and promote human rights worldwide, including through robust and public stance reaffirming our commitment to defend the universality of human rights and the rule of law;

2.  Deplores totalitarian and authoritarian regimes for their abuse of multilateral institutions, in particular of the United Nations Human Rights Council, seeking to neutralise human rights mechanisms, their ability to hold states accountable for human rights violations, as well as to undermine and/or rewrite international norms to suit their authoritarian agenda; calls on the Council and the Member States to work with like-minded democratic allies to support a reform of the multilateral institutions so that they become more resilient in the face of the malign influence of authoritarian regimes;

3.  Stresses that the EU must be fully prepared to counter the rise and malign influence of authoritarianism, illiberalism and extremism, as well as the threats to human rights protection and the increasing attacks on the universality of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and international humanitarian law;

4.  Underscores that the ambitious commitment and rhetoric of the EU’s external human rights policy requires it to be consistent and exemplary on the commitment to universal human rights and democracy; deplores the deterioration of the human rights and rule of law situation worldwide, including in the EU, which undermines its credibility when opposing the global democratic decline and human rights regression; calls for the EU and its Member States to lead by example and strictly uphold human rights, ensure an enabling environment for their civil society and to address any negative trends in this field;

5.  Condemns the increasing trend of violations of human rights and democratic principles and values across the world, such as deepening levels of social, economic and political inequality, the reversal of rights, notably for women, the persistent and systematic exclusion of and discrimination against entire social groups, executions, extrajudicial killings, torture, gender-based violence, discrimination and gender apartheid, arbitrary arrests and detentions, systematic and structural discrimination and inequality, clampdowns on marginalised and vulnerable individual and groups, civil society, political opponents and ethnic and religious minorities, slavery and forced labour, forced deportations, excessive use of violence by public authorities, censorship and threats to independent media and journalists, as well as threats in the digital sphere such as online surveillance and internet shutdowns, among others; condemns practices of transnational repression by autocratic regimes; deplores the weakening of the protection of democratic institutions and the shrinking space for civil societies around the world, which creates impunity for human rights violations; notes that the number of democracies has continued to decline, while the number of authoritarian regimes has grown;

6.  Denounces the tailor-made narratives that authoritarian and illiberal regimes are developing to attack the universality of human rights and the rule of law; warns that the above-mentioned narratives are being spread by these regimes in international forums such as the United Nations Human Rights Council; calls for the EU and its Member States to counter these hostile narratives, often based on claims of cultural relativism to hide abuses of power, among others, as well as disinformation and foreign interference towards the EU; calls for the EU and the Member States to use all tools at their disposal, including through fully exploiting the potential of EU international cultural relations;

7.  Is concerned about the fact that international conferences and highly mediatised events are organised in authoritarian and illiberal countries where HRDs are persecuted or harassed, and that these countries use such events as windows of publicity and to distort their image on the global scene concerning their human rights records;

8.  Points to the increased toolkit used by authoritarian, totalitarian and illiberal regimes that builds a framework to erode human rights via legislative and non-legislative provisions which are used to rig elections, silence and threaten civil society, marginalised and vulnerable individuals and groups, minorities, political opponents, independent media and critical voices, control the judiciary and persecute HRDs, journalists, lawyers, artists and activists among others, who are critical of the practices of these regimes;

9.  Condemns the increasing disregard for international human rights law by authoritarian and illiberal regimes, particularly those which create and expand existing internal and international conflicts, and cause new ones, with devastating consequences for human rights; notes that these regimes try to undermine the legitimacy of international human rights law in order to avoid its application, to which they are bound;

10.  Calls for an assessment of the effectiveness of the ‘quiet’ or ‘silent diplomacy’ strategy and calls for the EU to be more vocal when defending human rights;

11.  Strongly condemns and is deeply concerned by the atrocities, war crimes and serious violations of international humanitarian law, including sexual violence, gender-based violence, the deportation of children and the torture and killing of civilians and prisoners of war, committed by the Russian armed forces and their proxies in Russia’s illegal, unjustified and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine; recalls that supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia is of key importance to safeguard a rules-based international order; urges that all necessary measures be taken to make sure that those who have committed war crimes and human rights violations in Ukraine are identified and held accountable; calls for the EU and its Member States to continue to offer their full support to the relevant stakeholders, measures and mechanisms in this field, including Ukrainian prosecutors, investigators and the judiciary, the ICC, the Commission of Inquiry of the UN Human Rights Council and national investigations under the principle of universal jurisdiction; stresses the importance of swiftly gathering and preserving evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and welcomes the efforts of civil society to this end;

12.  Is shocked and appalled by the murder of 2021 Sakharov Prize laureate Alexei Navalny, who sacrificed his life to defend democracy and oppose oppression and corruption in Russia;

13.  Calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza;

14.  Notes with satisfaction that there are also ‘human rights bright spots’, reflecting some progress within this context of major challenges to human rights worldwide; strongly supports the work of the UN, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Council of Europe (CoE), as well as HRDs and CSOs, among others, in translating international commitments into concrete actions for the realisation of human rights; underlines the need for a more strategic communication on human rights and democracy that demonstrates the EU’s commitment by sharing positive developments, policies and best practices, and calls on the EU Delegations and EU Member States’ diplomatic missions also to act in this line in third countries; supports the European External Action Service (EEAS) campaign to mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2023 in support of the United Nation’s Human Rights 75 Initiative and the Good Human Rights Stories initiative(15) as a way of promoting positive stories about human rights;

15.  Highlights the fact that UNRWA plays an irreplaceable role in providing critical aid to ensure the day to day survival of 2,2 million civilians in Gaza, who are facing an unspeakable threat to their lives and most basic rights; rejects the suspension of funding to UNRWA by 18 States, and recalls that if this decision is not reversed, UNRWA will run out of funds in the coming months; calls, therefore, for the EU and its Member States to grant UNRWA support with the proper funding to continue and to improve its life-saving humanitarian work;

Responding to universal human rights and democracy challenges

Upholding international human rights and humanitarian law

16.  Stresses the link between human rights violations and widespread impunity and the lack of accountability in regions and countries affected by conflicts; underlines the need to uphold international human rights and humanitarian law with particular regard to the Geneva Conventions; strongly condemns the violations of international humanitarian law and the human rights abuses by government forces and armed groups around the world, which in some cases amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity; calls to effectively guarantee the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian aid during armed conflicts and natural disasters, and for the systematic creation of humanitarian corridors when and where needed in situations of armed conflicts and war; condemns attempts by authoritarian governments to interfere with and restrict the activities of humanitarian aid organisations; recalls, in this context, the importance of coordination between civilian and military actors; condemns the disastrous humanitarian consequences and human rights violations caused by modern warfare and conflicts worldwide, including the bombing of civilian targets, rape and torture, forced displacements and unlawful deportations among others; points to the gendered impacts of armed conflict, including the use of sexual violence against women and girls as a war tactic, the impact on children and minorities as well as its environmental consequences;

17.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to step up their efforts to promote respect for international humanitarian law and provide assistance to the victims to access international justice and obtain remedy and reparation; highlights that attacks targeting civilians and objects indispensable to the survival of civilians are prohibited under international humanitarian law; calls for the EU and its international partners to make full use of all relevant instruments to fight against international crimes, including the application of the principle of universal jurisdiction, special tribunals at national and international level, including for the crime of aggression, as well as for the establishment of flexible cooperation and funding mechanisms to swiftly collect and analyse evidence of crimes; calls on the Commission to ensure that these instruments are applied in a coordinated and complementary manner with other relevant EU and Member State instruments;

18.  Is seriously concerned about the persistence of protracted occupations and annexations of territories; calls for special attention to be paid to the human rights situation in illegally occupied territories, including in cases of protracted occupation and in the multiple frozen conflicts, and for effective measures to be taken with the aim of preventing grave human rights abuses, including the violation of the right to life, the restriction of freedom of movement, and discrimination;

19.  Reiterates its call on the Member States to help contain armed conflicts and serious violations of human rights or international humanitarian law by strictly abiding by the provisions of Article 7 of the UN Arms Trade Treaty on Export and Export Assessment and Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on Arms Exports(16) and the EU Dual Use Regulation(17); urges the EU to assess the malicious use of spyware until robust regulations are implemented to guarantee its use in line with international human rights standards; expresses its continued concern over the use of armed drones outside the international legal framework, and calls for human rights impact assessments concerning armed drones development projects; calls for the EU to take an initiative towards creating a legally binding instrument that would prohibit lethal autonomous weapons without meaningful human control;

20.  Insists on the importance of ensuring the coherence of EU policy in relation to situations of occupation or annexation of territory, which should be guided by international humanitarian law to prevent grave human rights abuses on the ground; highlights the responsibility of EU-based corporations to apply the most stringent due diligence policy towards any economic or financial activity in or with these territories, and to ensure strict compliance with international law as well as with EU sanctions policy where applicable to these situations; in this context, calls on the Commission to clarify the applicable rules in relation to EU trade with such territories;

Right to life: progress towards the universal abolition of the death penalty

21.  Reiterates its principled opposition to the death penalty, which is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and is irreversible; regrets the fact that despite the trend in some non-EU countries to take steps towards abolishing the death penalty, significant challenges in this regard still exist; deplores the fact that in other non-EU countries its use is increasing and the number of death sentences that have been carried out has reached its highest level in the last five years; reiterates its call for all countries to completely abolish the death penalty or establish an immediate moratorium as a first step towards its abolition; encourages the EU and the Member States to use all tools at their disposal, including trade and association agreements with non-EU countries, to work towards a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to its abolition;

22.  Stresses that the EU must be relentless in its pursuit of the universal abolition of the death penalty as a major objective of its human rights foreign policy; calls for the EU and its Member States to defend abolition in the relevant international forums and advocate for the widest possible support for this position; encourages the continuing efforts of the UN bodies on the universal abolition of the death penalty, in line with the resolutions of the UN General Assembly; calls, additionally, on the countries concerned to reduce the list of crimes or offences punishable by death as a first step; calls for transparency around death sentences and executions in countries that do not disclose these statistics; supports the process of adoption by the African Union of the draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the abolition of the death penalty in Africa; encourages other third countries and regional organisations to begin similar processes, including through the meaningful inclusion of CSOs; stresses the importance of supporting local and regional abolitionist efforts;

Right to freedom of expression, media freedom, academic freedom and the right to information

23.  Is deeply concerned by the increasing setbacks to freedom of expression, including artistic expression, and media freedom around the world, particularly for journalists; condemns the censorship of journalists, HRDs, CSOs, public watchdogs, whistle-blowers and artists, through the application of so-called ‘foreign agents’ laws, as well as other legislative and non-legislative measures adopted by authoritarian, totalitarian and illiberal regimes, such as increasing administrative burdens, fines, threats, defamatory and demonising language; recalls its deep concern over the use of SLAPPs to silence them and urges both Member States and non-EU countries to halt such practices; notes that some of these practices can also take place in a number of long-established democratic countries across the world; welcomes, in this context, efforts to reinforce the protection of journalists and activists, also in the EU, against unfounded and abusive lawsuits aimed at silencing them;

24.  Recognises the critical importance of supporting journalists who face persecution and threats to their safety, and calls for the establishment of journalist protection programmes that facilitate relocation and resettlement for those in immediate danger; regrets the practice of targeted surveillance and the use of spyware, as well as other digital threats, against journalists and condemns the violations of their rights to privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of thought, freedom of information and freedom of association imposed by state and non-state actors; reaffirms that access to credible and reliable information, both online and offline, is an essential right in a democratic society;

25.  Calls on non-EU countries to adopt urgent measures to prevent any unnecessary or excessive use of force, harassment or arbitrary detention during protests, as well as to repeal or amend any legislation and administrative acts that violate the right to freedom of expression and of assembly;

26.  Urges the EU and its Member States to step up their diplomatic efforts through bilateral and multilateral engagement in relation to censorship, threats or attacks on academic freedom, particularly the imprisonment of scholars worldwide, by state and non-state actors, which have important consequences for the right to education, the enjoyment of the benefits of scientific progress and the freedom of opinion and expression; calls on the EEAS and the Commission to revisit existing support and protection mechanisms in order to develop the capacity to identify and provide assistance, including emergency protection and support, in such cases; welcomes the inclusion of academics at risk in the EU Human Rights Defenders Mechanism;

27.  Calls on the Commission to ensure continued high-level support to the Global Campus of Human Rights and Democracy which has provided a safe space for students and scholars who had to flee their countries for defending democracy and human rights, and is a flagship of the EU’s support to human rights education worldwide; supports the Joint Statement on Academic Freedom delivered at the 52nd Session of the Human Rights Council and supported by all Member States; calls on Member State and EU Delegations to play a key role in monitoring and reporting on violations of academic freedom in non-EU countries; supports the development of the draft Principles for Implementing the Right of Academic Freedom and calls for the EU to promote the adoption of guidelines on academic freedom within the UN system;

Right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief

28.  Reiterates its concern regarding violations of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief. and related hate crimes; stresses that such violations occur across geographical and cultural boundaries; deplores the instrumentalisation of religion or belief identities for political purposes, including the exclusion of religious and belief minorities and religious communities in certain countries; condemns escalations of coercion, discrimination, harassment and violence perpetuated against members of thought, conscience, religious or belief minorities, their properties and places of worship; denounces the recourse to blasphemy, apostasy or other accusations based on religious grounds, including the possibility of the death penalty against the convicted, in relation to religious minorities and legitimate human rights activities, including on the internet and social media, and, more broadly, to restrict civil society space; condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the persecution of Christians all around the world;

29.  Fully supports the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, to hold a belief, or not to believe, and the right to manifest and to change or leave one’s religion or belief without fear of violence and discrimination; denounces the attacks against individuals and CSOs for peacefully questioning, criticising or satirising religious beliefs; calls for the EU and its Member States to increase their efforts to protect these rights, to raise these issues at UN human rights forums and to work with the relevant UN mechanisms and committees, including working with non-EU countries to defend them and prevent any violations; calls also for more efforts and collaboration at multilateral level and with the support of the ICC to collect evidence of hate crimes, bringing the perpetrators to justice and compensating the victims;

30.  Recognises the value of interfaith and inter-religious dialogue that leads to peaceful co-existence and mutual understanding between various religious, belief and ethnic groups, and encourages the EU and Member States to promote them; observes that atheism and the non-religious population are growing rapidly worldwide and should not be neglected in the EU policy framework on freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief;

31.  Recommends that the EU Special Envoy for the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU work closely and in a complementary manner with the EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Human Rights, the EU Representatives for specific regions and the Council Working Party on Human Rights and, to this end, considers that the position of the Special Envoy should be integrated into the EEAS in a similar way to the other special envoys and EU special representatives; regrets the fact that the Special Envoy’s mandate was renewed by the Commission without a prior assessment of the effectiveness and added value of the position, as had been repeatedly requested by Parliament; calls for this assessment to be carried out and, on that basis, for adequate financial and human resources to be allocated in order to allow them to effectively execute their mandate; recalls that this year marked the 10th anniversary of the EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of religion or belief; regrets the fact that although the Guidelines provide for their own three-year evaluation by the Council, no evaluation has been made public so far; calls on the Council to conduct this evaluation and to share the results with Parliament; fully supports the EU’s practice of leading related thematic resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly; calls on the EEAS and EU Delegations, where appropriate, to raise general issues and specific cases relating to the persecution of or discrimination against belief or religious minorities during human rights dialogues with partner countries and at UN human rights forums, while following a result-oriented approach and including a gender perspective;

Right to equality and non-discrimination

32.  Reiterates its condemnation of all forms of racism, intolerance, xenophobia and discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, social class, disability, caste, religion, belief, age, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity; underlines the importance of taking an intersectional approach when considering discrimination issues; stresses that racism, discrimination, xenophobia, antisemitism and islamophobia, among others, as well as religious persecution and related intolerance, continue to be a major problem worldwide, and that these issues have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic;

33.  Condemns the growing international threat of hate speech, including online; notes that women are more likely to be targeted online, which has a negative impact on women’s political participation and gender equality in decision-making; calls for the adoption of effective measures to respond to discriminatory behaviours and end impunity, and to develop, in collaboration with the Member States and with input from Parliament, specific local strategies to help fight discrimination in non-EU countries, in consultation with local representatives and CSOs; reiterates the crucial role of education and dialogue in promoting tolerance, understanding and diversity;

34.  Notes with great concern the scale and consequences of caste-based hierarchies, discrimination and human rights violations, including the denial of access to the legal system or employment, continued segregation, poverty and stigmatisation, and caste-related barriers to the exercise of basic human rights and human development; reiterates its call for the development of an EU policy on caste-based discrimination and specific local strategies to help fight caste-based discrimination in the countries most affected by it; recommends that the European Parliament address caste-based discrimination in all its relevant committees and delegations, appoints a focal point on caste-based discrimination, and when visiting non-EU countries concerned by the issue, consult with relevant organisations and raise caste-based discrimination with local authorities and other counterparts, as well as hold an annual hearing to review EU actions and progress on the occasion of the International Day on Racial Discrimination;

Right to freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment

35.  Condemns any action or attempt to instigate, authorise, systematise or consent or acquiesce to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial killings under any circumstances, including law enforcement; calls on all countries to adopt and implement effective measures with a victim-oriented approach, to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, while ensuring accountability for perpetrators; and deplores the fact that their use continues to be widespread in many countries; notes with great concern the trend of increasing instances of torture worldwide and widespread impunity for its perpetrators; calls on all countries to systematically review their respective interrogation rules and protocols of conduct for law enforcement in line with international human rights standards;

36.  Deplores the existence of prisoners of conscience worldwide, and calls on the EEAS and the Member States to step up their efforts to secure their unconditional release; calls on the EEAS and Commission to support the establishment and functioning of National Preventive Mechanisms in non-EU countries, as well as CSOs active in this area; calls for the EU to engage in dialogue with third countries to make the improvement of prison conditions a major public policy issue, in particular by tackling the problem of prison overcrowding through the use of alternatives to detention; recognises the important role of CSOs and HRDs in the fight against torture and other forms of ill treatment and urges the EU to support them in monitoring places of deprivation of liberty in accordance with the revised EU guidelines on torture;

37.  Recalls that between 500 and 700 Palestinian children as young as 12 years old are being detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system; notes that some are being held without charge, while others face charges such as stone throwing; strongly condemns this illegal and immoral incarceration by the Israeli State and calls for the release of all Palestinian children from Israeli prisons;

38.  Calls for the EU to encourage third countries to bring their national provisions on judicial guarantees into line with their international commitments (e.g. criminalisation of torture in accordance with the UNCAT); condemns all forms of human trafficking and forced labour, including those sponsored by states, and all forms of modern slavery; calls for the EU and its Member States to take the lead in their eradication and to include, where relevant, a specific reference in this regard in EU agreements with third countries;

Right to public participation

39.  Notes that the right to actively and passively participate in free, transparent and fair elections is not respected in authoritarian, totalitarian and illiberal regimes but also more and more obstacles to the full enjoyment of such rights are present in a number of democratic countries; highlights that these regimes conduct fake elections with the aim of entrenching their power, as they lack real political contestation, legitimacy and pluralism; calls for the efforts to guarantee the public participation of minorities, as well as to increase representation of women and young people in electoral processes, to be strengthened; highlights the role of the European Union Election Observation Missions in the independent and impartial evaluation of the electoral processes they monitor; calls for follow-up to the adoption and implementation of the recommendations of these electoral observation missions in third countries, and for them to be included as a key element in the framework of relations between the EU and the third country in question; notes that there is an increasingly frequent scenario of countries refusing to invite the EU to observe their elections and calls on the EEAS to address the situation;

Cultural rights

40.  Affirms the universality of cultural rights as a form of human rights that allows individuals as well as groups of people to develop and express their humanity and their identity; supports the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights to give greater visibility to cultural rights in the human rights system and to foster a better understanding of the severity of their violation, and of the opportunity of their realisation for all, and calls for the renewal of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate after 2024; strongly condemns the destruction of historical, artistic and cultural heritage in conflicts, as well as the systematic and politically or ideologically targeted destruction of historical, artistic and cultural heritage and the eradication of the identities and cultures of sovereign states, peoples or minorities; condemns the unlawful removal of, and trafficking in, cultural objects; urges the return of cultural works and artefacts to their places of origin; recalls that the destruction of cultural heritage may constitute a war crime and a violation of human rights, and, in this context, recalls the Responsibility to Protect commitments undertaken by the international community, including with regard to the protection of cultural heritage during and in the aftermath of armed conflicts;

Rights of women, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender equality

41.  Stresses that women’s rights and gender equality are indispensable and indivisible human rights, as well as a basis for the rule of law and resilient democracies; deplores the fact that millions of women and girls continue to experience discrimination and violence, especially the most vulnerable ones in the context of conflicts, post-conflict and displacement, in particular women and girls with disabilities, who suffer double discrimination and that women and girls are denied their dignity, autonomy, including bodily autonomy, and even life; condemns the ongoing and increasing backlash against gender equality and women’s rights, including all attempts to roll back, notably in relation to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), existing entitlements and protections, as well as legislation, policies and practices that continue to deny or restrict these rights in many countries, which can amount to gender apartheid; condemns all forms of gender-based violence, as well as exploitation, and expresses concern over forced marriages and honour-based abuse, violence and killings perpetrated against women and girls; calls for the EU, its Member States and like-minded partners to step up their efforts to ensure the full enjoyment and protection of their human rights; welcomes the accession of the EU to the Istanbul Convention and calls on the EU Member States which have not yet done so to ratify and implement it as soon as possible; supports the role of the EU Ambassador on Gender and Diversity and the EUSR for Human Rights engagement on these fields; calls for an EU charter of women’s rights;

42.  Recognises that the promotion and protection of SRHR is essential to achieving gender equality and affirms the right to access comprehensive SRHR services, including modern contraception, safe and legal abortion, maternal, prenatal and postnatal healthcare, assisted reproduction and access to education and information on SRHR, including comprehensive sexuality education, without any form of discrimination, coercion or violence; calls for the EU, the EEAS and the Member States to take robust action to prioritise and promote SRHR, including access to safe and legal abortion, in multilateral and bilateral relations in accordance with international human rights law and standards and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines;

43.  Recognises the compound vulnerability of women belonging to minorities such as ethnic, religious or belief communities, especially in places with the presence of radicalised groups and violent militias; condemns in strong terms all acts of violence in all forms, including sexual violence, abduction, forced displacement, trafficking or killings of women perpetrated on the grounds of ethnicity, religion or belief, or those driven by radical and extremist agendas; strongly condemns the discrimination and human rights violations against women with intersectional identities, including those belonging to ethnic minorities; reiterates its calls on the Member States to adopt and implement strategies, policies and programmes to advance the SRHR of marginalised groups of women and to eradicate the systemic, financial, legal, practical and social barriers they face, and to ensure that SRHR are protected and respected everywhere;

44.  Reiterates its condemnation of the commercial practice of surrogacy, a global phenomenon that exposes women worldwide to exploitation and human trafficking, while targeting financially and socially vulnerable women in particular; highlights its severe impact on women, women’s rights, and women’s health, and underlines its cross-border implications;

45.  Calls for the EU, in implementing the Gender Action Plan III, in elaborating the local EU strategy against gender-based discrimination and in relevant sectoral work, to address intersectionality by developing a policy to fight the multiple forms of discrimination faced by the millions of women and girls who are victims of human rights violations, including sexual abuse and violence, displacement, forced and/or bonded labour, prostitution and trafficking, and including gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls within all aspects of external relations and development cooperation, namely adopting an EU feminist foreign, development and defence policy, in accord with its global commitments;

46.  Calls for more concerted efforts to eliminate the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and to fight impunity for the perpetrators of such violence; calls on the Commission to pursue efforts to fully eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation, mass sterilisation and forced abortion worldwide;

Rights of minorities

47.  Recalls that most of the drivers of violent conflicts worldwide involve minorities’ grievances of exclusion, discrimination and inequalities linked to violations of the human rights of minorities, as observed by the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues; stresses the need to mainstream the protection of the rights of minorities and the development of protection mechanisms at United Nations level; recalls the obligations of states to protect the rights of their national, ethnic, cultural, religious or linguistic minorities within their respective territories; deplores the cases worldwide, despite international obligations and commitments to protect minorities, of policies of forced assimilation of national, ethnic and linguistic minorities by disregarding their fundamental and human rights; calls for the EU and its Member States to provide active support for third countries to respect the fundamental human rights of national, ethnic and linguistic minorities in all areas; calls on the Commission to support the protection of the rights of minorities, including as a priority under the human rights and democracy thematic programme of the EU’s Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation – Instrument (NDICI) – Global Europe;

48.  Highlights the external dimension of the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan, and calls on the Commission, the EEAS and the EU Delegations to engage with partners in non-EU countries to support the development of similar strategies and policies, in dialogue with representative of CSOs and members of marginalised and vulnerable communities, based on the approach outlined in UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Guidance Tool on Descent-based Discrimination, and which should cover the range of possible EU actions such as the promotion of legislative changes and implementation, visibility plans and support programmes;

Rights of migrants and refugees

49.  Denounces the erosion of the human rights and the safety of migrants, refugees and forcibly displaced persons; reaffirms their inalienable human rights and recalls the obligation of states to protect them in accordance with pertinent international law; calls for the EU and its Member States to effectively uphold these rights in the EU’s migration and asylum policies and their cooperation with partner countries in this regard; deplores the increasing trend of xenophobia, racism and discrimination towards migrants; stresses that refugees and migrants, especially those who are undocumented, face different forms of violence, including during displacements, such as sexual and gender-based violence, as well as many barriers, such as in access to education, healthcare, decent housing and other basic services; is extremely concerned by the unprecedented number of forcibly displaced people as a result of human rights violations, which has doubled in the past 10 years; welcomes the activation of the Temporary Protection Directive(18) and calls for its use when necessary; calls for the strengthening of efforts in the protection of the right of migrants and to guarantee their access to all basic services, including while in transit, and to respect the principle of non-refoulement; calls for an immediate end to the illegal practice of pushbacks; calls for the root causes of migration and forced displacement to be addressed;

50.  Stresses the importance of the principles of solidarity and shared responsibility among Member States when addressing migration flows, including in order to alleviate the challenges faced by Member States of first arrival; reaffirms its support for the Roadmap on the Migration and Asylum Pact; urges the co-legislators to redouble their efforts to complete the reform of the legislative framework on asylum and migration before the end of the current parliamentary term;

51.  Insists that all EU and Member States’ migration cooperation and readmission agreements with non-EU states strictly comply with international human rights, refugee and maritime law, particularly with the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees; calls on the Commission and the Member States to integrate pre-assessment as well as monitoring mechanisms to evaluate the human rights impact of cooperation on migration with third countries, and to share the results with Parliament; is deeply concerned about the practice of concluding informal arrangements with third countries in relation to migration cooperation, over which Parliament has no oversight; calls on the Member States to ensure transparency and allow for parliamentary scrutiny and democratic oversight, notably regarding cooperation with parties known to have committed violations of human rights; insists that human rights need to be mainstreamed and monitored in all the activities carried out by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and the European Union Agency for Asylum (EASO);

52.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to ensure full transparency on EU migration-related funding to third countries and to guarantee that it does not directly or indirectly facilitate the perpetration of human rights violations or impunity for such violations; calls for EU-funded humanitarian operations to take into account the specific needs of children and other vulnerable groups, and to ensure their protection while they are displaced; condemns, in this context, the placement of migrant children in detention centres, especially when they are separated from their parents or legal guardians;

53.  Strongly condemns the smuggling networks engaged in migrant smuggling and human trafficking and calls for the EU and its Member States to strengthen their efforts to fight against these networks and prevent smuggling, including by engaging with third countries, in compliance with European and international human rights standards; stresses that owing to the lack of safe and legal migratory routes, smuggling networks profit and are responsible for tragic losses of human lives along migratory routes; stresses that the dissemination of information and awareness-raising campaigns on the risks of smuggling is crucial;

Rights of indigenous peoples

54.  Notes with regret that indigenous peoples continue to face widespread and systematic discrimination and persecution worldwide, including forced displacements; condemns arbitrary arrests and the killing of human rights and land defenders who stand up for the rights of indigenous peoples; stresses that the promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples and their traditional practices are key to achieving sustainable development, combating climate change and conserving biodiversity; urges governments to pursue development and environmental policies that respect economic, social and cultural rights, and that are inclusive of indigenous peoples and local populations, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals; reiterates its call for the EU, its Member States and their partners in the international community to adopt all necessary measures for the recognition, protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples, including as regards their languages, lands, territories and resources, as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, notably in relation to free, prior and informed consent; calls for the EU and its Member States to ensure engagement in good faith and respect for the above-mentioned rights through EU trade instruments and the relevant EU legislation applying to EU-based companies; encourages the ratification of International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples;

55.  Calls on all states, including EU Member States, to ensure that indigenous peoples and local communities are included in the deliberations and decision-making processes of international climate diplomacy; encourages the Commission to continue to promote dialogue and collaboration between indigenous peoples and the EU;

Human rights, business and trade

56.  Stresses the role of trade as a major instrument to promote and improve the human rights situation in the EU’s partner countries, including through the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+); notes, however, that there has been little to no improvement in some of the countries concerned; deplores the detrimental effects of excessive and exploitative business activities on human rights and democracy, and condemns those corporations that unlawfully exploit natural resources, adversely impacting on the enjoyment of human rights in local communities;

57.  Calls for the EU to ensure complementary and ambitious European and international instruments laying out robust and substantive provisions, including on access to justice and effective remedy for affected people; in this regard, calls for a swift and ambitious final agreement on the directive on corporate sustainability due diligence with binding EU rules on responsible corporate behaviour with regard to human, labour and environmental rights, and a timely finalisation of the forced labour product ban to ensure that products made with forced labour are prohibited on the Union market; underlines that meaningful stakeholder engagement which includes victims, representatives of victims, workers’ unions and other concerned stakeholders is an overarching and ongoing component of the due diligence process and also a fundamental step to identify, address and remedy forced labour; stresses the importance of remediation and access to justice measures that are in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including financial and non-financial measures in consultation with the victims; urges the Commission to submit a recommendation to the Council to obtain an ambitious mandate for the EU to engage in the ongoing negotiations on the UN legally binding instrument on business and human rights as soon as possible; calls on the Commission, the EEAS and the EU Delegations to champion corporate social responsibility and corporate accountability and the principles in their dialogue with third countries, and in supporting them to develop their own national action plans;

58.  Recalls the responsibility of businesses in ensuring that their operations and supply chains are not implicated in human rights abuses, including against environmental, indigenous and labour rights defenders; stresses the essential obligations and responsibilities of states and other actors such as corporations and enterprises, to mitigate the effects of climate change, prevent their negative impact on human rights and promote appropriate policies in compliance with human rights obligations;

59.  Recalls that the right to work is enshrined in Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, highlights, in this regard, that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) provide more than two thirds of jobs worldwide and can support the advancement of social and economic rights; reiterates, in this context, the importance of ensuring an adequate level playing field for SMEs;

60.  Underlines that the freedom to conduct a business is a right enshrined in Article 16 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights; encourages the EU and the Member States to lead the discussion at UN level and other multilateral forums for the establishment of the recognition of the human right to conduct a business at global level;

Rights of LGBTIQ+ persons

61.  Deplores the human rights violations, including discrimination, stigmatisation, segregation, persecution, violence and killings against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) persons around the world, as well as to the defenders of their rights; recognises the importance of an inclusive education to combat discrimination from its early stages; is extremely concerned by the spreading of hatred and anti-LGBTIQ+ narratives and legislation, targeting LGBTIQ+ persons and human rights defenders; calls on non-EU countries to adopt specific policies protecting LGBTIQ+ persons and giving them the tools to safely report a violation of their rights; calls on non-EU countries to remove law provisions that directly or indirectly translate into discrimination, harassment and persecution of LGTBIQ+ persons; reiterates its calls for the full implementation of the LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025 as the EU’s tool for improving the situation of LGBTIQ+ persons around the world; expresses particular concern over LGBTIQ+ persons living under non-democratic regimes, and calls for flexible mechanisms to protect them as well as the defenders of their rights; calls for the EU and the Member States to thoroughly and consistently apply the EU guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by LGBTIQ persons across its external policy;

Rights of the child

62.  Strongly condemns the decline in the respect for the rights of the child and the increasing violations of these rights, including through violence, early and forced marriage, sexual abuse and exploitation, genital mutilation, trafficking, child labour, including forced child labour, recruitment of child soldiers, including by criminal gangs, the lack of access to education including the right to learn about their own culture, traditions and languages and healthcare, malnutrition, segregation and extreme poverty; condemns the kidnapping, forced separation or deportation, adoption and forced assimilation of children, including of ethnic minorities, especially in cases of war and conflict; highlights the still large number of children around the world forced to work, usually under hazardous conditions; reiterates its call for a systematic and consistent approach to promoting and defending children’s rights through all EU policies; calls for the inclusion of a specific child rights approach in justice processes improving children’s access to justice and effective remedies, and ensuring accountability of the perpetrators; stresses the need to create sustainable ways for reintegration and reparations for children who have had their rights violated in conflicts around the world; urges the full and universal ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a matter of urgency;

63.  Highlights the role of education in the development of children and young people around the world; stresses that access to universal, inclusive and quality education is a human right which should include raising awareness on their human rights, as well as what constitutes a violation of their rights and how to report it; notes that according to Article 26 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that must be given to their children; calls for the EU and its Member States to do their utmost to ensure that the right to education is respected all around the world, including in refugee camps and centres; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to maintain strong funding for education through the Union’s external funding instruments and to support non-EU countries in the creation and development of quality education systems; stresses that all education and school material must adhere to UNESCO standards on education;

Rights of persons with disabilities

64.  Is concerned by the challenges to the full enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities, such as access to inclusive and quality education, healthcare and employment, and participation in political life; reiterates is calls for the EU to assist worldwide in the development of policies in support of carers for persons with disabilities; calls on all stakeholders to raise social awareness and combat discriminatory behaviours against persons with disabilities; reiterates its calls for the Commission and the Member States to increase their efforts to promote equal rights for persons with disabilities through EU external action, including in relation to candidate countries, in line with existing obligations as State Parties to the UN CRPD; underlines the need to ensure a systematic and structured dialogue with organisations representing persons with disabilities in partner countries and to implement policies that guarantee the full enjoyment of their human right to equally participate in society, including in exercising their right to vote, taking into account their specific needs and perspectives; reiterates its calls for the EU to assist partner countries in the development of policies in support of high-quality, accessible and affordable carers for persons with disabilities; calls for a swift adoption of the proposal for a Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation;

Rights of elderly people

65.  Reiterates its call for the EU and its Member States to develop new avenues to strengthen the rights of elderly people taking into account the multiple challenges they face, such as age-based discrimination, poverty, violence, lack of social protection, solitude and digital exclusion, among others; calls on non-EU countries to adopt policies facilitating access to quality, accessible and affordable healthcare, social and legal services to elderly people, with special attention to combating the risk of poverty for older women in particular, owing to the gender pay gap in the course of their working lives; stresses that their participation in public affairs in an autonomous way should be guaranteed and that they should be able to fully enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms with dignity;

Right to food, water and sanitation

66.  Recalls that the right to food, to safe drinking water and to sanitation, including having physical and economic access to safe and adequate food, water and hygienic systems, is an internationally recognised human right; is extremely concerned about the challenges to the right to food worldwide, especially in situations of war and conflicts, as well as natural disasters and extreme weather conditions owing to climate change; calls for the EU and its Member States to promote mandatory guidelines on the right to food within the UN system; calls for the adoption of public policies to fight hunger, especially among children, including by enhancing international cooperation to respond to global food insecurity and providing urgent aid to populations at risk of famine and malnutrition;

67.  Calls for the EU, its Member States and the international community to immediately step up their efforts to halt the trend of emerging serious food shortages; underlines that food security has been aggravated by many conflicts occurring around the globe, including the current conflicts in countries that are large global exporters of primary food products, in particular, grain, with tremendous consequences in several areas of the world; strongly condemns the use or the threat of food insecurity as a political instrument of war, as well as the adverse effects of speculation with the price of food; calls in particular for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in order to allow uninterrupted access to food and water for all its inhabitants;

Right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

68.  Highlights that the climate crisis and its impact on the environment and biodiversity has direct effects on the effective enjoyment of all human rights and that these issues are interlinked and interdependent; calls for the swift adoption of policies to enhance international cooperation and strengthen capacity-building in this regard, as laid out in Resolution 76/300 of the UN General Assembly; recognises the critically important work of CSOs, environmental human rights defenders and indigenous activists for the preservation and protection of the environment and biodiversity; deplores the risk and condemns all forms of violence that environmental human rights defenders face and calls for their effective protection to be guaranteed; stresses the need to effectively address the displacement of people caused by environmental destruction and climate change, which increases the risk of human rights violations and vulnerabilities to different forms of exploitation; calls for the EU and the Member States to step up their efforts to support regional mechanisms such as the UN Special Rapporteur on environmental defenders and the Escazú Agreement(19);

69.  Urges the EU, the UN and regional human rights mechanisms to assume a larger role in protecting global ecosystems and environmental defenders, in particular where climate change has a severe impact on indigenous and local communities; calls for the EU to promote a UN-level initiative for international observers to monitor serious environmental damage or crises, or situations where environmental rights defenders are most at risk, and to engage with and assist the authorities in establishing protective conditions for these defenders;

70.  Encourages the EU and the Member States to promote the recognition of ecocide as an international crime under the Rome Statute of the ICC;

71.  Recalls that the transition to clean energy must be just and respect everyone’s fundamental rights; highlights that the design and implementation of energy transition policies and projects should be conducted in a way that does not exacerbate human rights violations and damage the environment;

Human rights and digital technologies

72.  Is concerned by the threat that artificial intelligence (AI) can pose to democracies and human rights, especially if it is not duly regulated; welcomes the Council conclusions of 26 June 2023 to strengthen the EU’s role and leadership in global digital governance, in particular its position as a shaper of the global digital rulebook, and in this sense welcomes the proposal for a regulation to harmonise the rules on AI which need to protect human rights, particularly the right to private life and to non-discrimination, and the advantages that AI can offer for human well-being; highlights that new and emergent technologies such as spyware need urgent oversight, robust transparency and appropriate safeguards; stresses the importance of a human rights-based approach towards these technologies; condemns the use of new and emerging technologies as coercive instruments in order to increase the harassment, intimidation and persecution of HRDs, activists, journalists, lawyers and minorities; takes the firm position that the export of spyware from the Union to third countries where such tools are used against human rights activists, journalists and government critics, is a severe violation of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Charter and a gross violation of Union export rules;

73.  Deplores practices by authoritarian and totalitarian regimes that limit citizens’ access to the internet, including internet blackouts during public assemblies and protests, among others; insists on the importance of an open, free, stable and secure cyberspace that upholds the core values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; stresses the importance for the EU’s Digital Diplomacy to advance a human rights-based approach to digital technologies;

74.  Is worried about the use of cyberattacks, considered to be hybrid threats, often used against services and infrastructure critical to the civilian population; expresses concern at the rise of this phenomenon, as it can also lead to violations of people’s digital rights and aggravate offline violence;

75.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to promote the adoption of disinformation and hate speech legislation in non-EU countries, to explicitly prohibit and punish speech inciting discrimination, hatred or violence on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, social class, disability, caste, religion, belief, age, sexual orientation and sex or gender identity, and to press tech corporations and social media platforms to foster a human rights-sensitive online environment;

Strengthening the EU’s toolbox for the promotion and protection of human rights and democracy around the world

EU action plan on human rights and democracy

76.  Observes that the implementation so far of the EU action plan on human rights and democracy by the EU and its Member States, although substantial, is still lagging and remains difficult to assess in the absence of time-bound and tangible objectives; notes the observation in the mid-term review of the action plan about the unprecedented challenges the world has experienced since its adoption, and the general setback in human rights protection in recent years, yet underscores that this should lead to the enhancement of the implementation of the action plan for its remaining period, with a view to maximising the synergies and complementarity between human rights and democracy at local, national and global levels; welcomes the assessment of the EU’s action on HRDs within the framework of the revision; calls for the next EU action plan to integrate the defence and promotion of the universality of human rights within its pillars, paying special attention to the narratives and tools employed by authoritarian and illiberal regimes in their attacks in this regard; highlights the need to bridge the gap between the strategic vision and objectives of the action plan and its operational dimension; stresses the importance of Member States taking ownership of the EU action plan on human rights and democracy and publicly reporting on their action under this strategic document; encourages national and regional parliaments, national human rights institutions and local CSOs to engage with their authorities at Member State level on their contribution to the conduct of the EU’s external human rights policy;

EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Human Rights

77.  Fully supports the work of the EUSR for Human Rights in contributing to the visibility and coherence of the EU’s human rights actions in the EU’s external relations; calls on the EEAS to strengthen their role and increase their visibility in the promotion and protection of human rights when engaging with third countries and like-minded partners and in guiding the implementation of the action plan on human rights and democracy; calls for greater accountability, transparency and visibility of the work of the mandate, including by public reporting on country visits, the work programme and priorities; considers that the scope of the mandate warrants the appointment of a full-time mandate-holder; insists that the appointment of the next EUSR only be confirmed after a positive evaluation by Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and its Subcommittee on Human Rights and that the EUSR report back to Parliament regularly;

Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe and the human rights and democracy thematic programme

78.  Recalls the fundamental role the NDICI – Global Europe, including its thematic programme on human rights and democracy, plays as an EU flagship instrument in promoting and protecting human rights and democracy around the world; reiterates its calls for support to CSOs, pro-democracy activists and media organisations, including via the European Endowment for Democracy, to be stepped up in the light of the current regressive global trends; highlights the need to engage with civil society and other local partners in all the EU’s relevant external activities; reiterates the importance of streamlining a human rights-based approach in the EU’s external action instruments;

79.  Reiterates its call for greater transparency regarding human rights-related provisions in financing agreements under the NDICI and a clarification of the mechanism and criteria for the suspension of such agreements in the event of a breach of human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law; highlights that the EU should strictly refrain from budget support as a means of providing assistance to regimes that grossly fail to meet international standards in the field of human rights, democracy and the fight against corruption; stresses that the support should in such cases be channelled through civil society instead; calls for the EU to take particular care to assess and prevent any violation linked to the Union’s own policies, projects and funding in third countries, including by creating a complaints mechanism for individuals or groups whose rights may have been violated by EU activities in these countries;

80.  Recalls that the EU has declared its commitment to supporting the transition from institutional to family and community-based care in its external action in the NDICI; urges, therefore, the EU institutions to exclude funding to institutions, including for refurbishing, building or renovating, if it is not part of a deinstitutionalisation process;

EU international agreements

81.  Stresses that human rights clauses should apply in a coherent manner to all EU international agreements with third countries, including sectoral and investment agreements, and that these should be monitored closely and backed by a clear set of benchmarks and procedures to be followed in the event of human rights violations, and provide a basis for engaging with a third country on human rights in a practical and flexible manner; notes that until 2014 the EU formally activated the human rights clauses on two dozen occasions and since then it has only adopted ‘appropriate measures’ under these clauses on one occasion; reiterates that in the face of serious and persistent breaches of human rights clauses by its partner countries the EU should react swiftly and decisively, and as an ultimate course of action, by suspending the relevant agreements if other options prove ineffective;

82.  Calls for the implementation of the EU Ombudsman’s recommendation concerning the creation of a complaint-handling portal, within the framework of EU trade and financial instruments, and for the adaptation of the Commission’s Single Entry Point to allow for the submission of complaints regarding the failure to comply with human rights clauses, which should be accessible, citizen-friendly and transparent; encourages the EU institutions and the Member States to further engage with the Ombudsman in developing new strategies and tools for protecting and promoting human rights through trade; calls on the Commission to improve its communication towards Parliament on its considerations and decisions regarding the enforcement of human rights clauses in international agreements;

EU human rights dialogues

83.  Stresses the important role of human rights dialogues within the EU’s human rights toolbox and as a key vehicle for the implementation of the EU action plan on human rights and democracy; highlights that these dialogues should address the situation of all human rights and democracy with the relevant countries; stresses the role of independent CSOs and the need to ensure their legitimate participation through the preparation and follow-up to these dialogues; stresses that there can be no discrimination in respect of the participation of civil society in this regard; notes that human rights dialogues should be seen as a key element of sustained EU engagement and not as a box-ticking exercise or a free-standing instrument; recalls that these dialogues need to be used in conjunction and synergy with other instruments, and should be carried out in a result-oriented manner and be regularly reviewed; stresses that failure to achieve concrete results should have consequences for the wider conduct of bilateral relations; reiterates the need to raise individual cases, including those highlighted by Parliament in its resolutions and the Sakharov Prize winners – and finalists – and ensure adequate follow-up; calls on the EEAS and EU Delegations to increase the visibility of these dialogues and their outcomes, including through the publication of a joint press statement and to conduct suitable follow-up action to them;

EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime (GHRSR – The EU Magnitsky Act)

84.  Notes the limited use so far of the EU GHRSR (the EU Magnitsky Act) as a key political tool in the EU’s defence of human rights and democracy across the world; notes, however, the challenges that the requirement of unanimity poses in their adoption and reiterates its call for the introduction of qualified majority voting for decisions on the GHRSR; calls for a more dynamic and consistent use of this tool, including in cooperation with like-minded partners; calls on the Council to act on the requests for sanctions made by Parliament via its resolutions; fully supports the possibility of imposing targeted anti-corruption sanctions in relation to severe human rights violations, which has been a long-standing priority of Parliament, and welcomes the Commission proposal in this regard and calls for its swift adoption by the Council, whether through its inclusion in the GHRSR or with a different regime;

85.  Highlights that the consistent and uniform application of sanctions by all Member States has consequences for the credibility and effectiveness of the EU’s external action; stresses the need for the complete enforcement of sanctions and calls for breaches and circumventions to be tackled in an effective manner;

Democracy support activities

86.  Reiterates its concern regarding the increasing attacks by authoritarian, totalitarian and illiberal regimes on democratic institutions and standards and civil society, and attempts to rewrite international norms; stresses that the defence and support of democracy around the world is increasingly becoming of geopolitical and strategic interest; considers the need to increase efforts in raising awareness of the undermining of democratic culture in third countries and reiterates the necessity to strengthen it; reiterates the importance of EU election observation missions and Parliament’s contribution to developing and enhancing their methodology; calls for third countries to implement the recommendations made by the EU’s election observation missions – and other recognised international bodies – to improve their future electoral processes and thus help increase their transparency and legality with a view to strengthening the democratic standards of the states concerned; welcomes the work of the European Endowment for Democracy and reiterates the need to keep strengthening its activities and resources;

EU support to human rights defenders and civil society organisations

87.  Is extremely concerned by the attacks on and harassment of HRDs, as well as their families, communities and lawyers, and finds the increasingly sophisticated means used to persecute them particularly concerning; strongly condemns laws, including counter-terrorism laws, national security laws and anti-defamation laws, used to target HRDs and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), criminalise their work, and stigmatise them; deplores the harassment of NGOs through legislative provisions in third countries, such as foreign agents laws and similar, and other restrictions they face in their legitimate work; supports, praises and thanks wholeheartedly HRDs for the courageous and crucial work they perform and the EU action to ensure their protection worldwide; calls for the complete and consistent application of the EU Guidelines on human rights defenders by the EU and its Member States, thereby fostering a proactive, holistic and long-term approach towards the protection of HRDs that anticipates and mitigates serious problems, such as assaults and threats, targeting HRDs with often a heavy personal cost for them, their families and communities; underscores the pressing need for a comprehensive and timely revision of the Guidelines on human rights defenders, with a view to addressing the emerging challenges and threats, and to ensuring their applicability and effectiveness in the protection of HRDs globally, while integrating gender-sensitive and intersectional approaches in the updated Guidelines, reflecting the diverse backgrounds and experiences of HRDs, and taking into account the specific vulnerabilities they may face;

88.  Highlights the increasing phenomenon worldwide of transnational threats against HRDs by their national authorities or proxies; calls on the Commission and the Member States to identify and tackle these threats within the EU as a priority and as an integral aspect of the EU Guidelines on human rights defenders; encourages the Commission and the Member States to provide foreign HRDs residing in the EU with appropriate financial and other means in order to enable them to continue their human rights work remotely and without fear of retaliation; underlines that officials and agents of third countries harassing HRDs in the EU, as well as local enablers, either individuals or entities, should be held accountable; highlights the importance of training and resources to be provided to law enforcement authorities to tackle these transnational attacks;

89.  Insists that the EEAS, the Commission and the EU Delegations pay particular attention to the situation of the Sakharov Prize laureates and finalists at risk and take resolute action, in coordination with the Member States and Parliament, to ensure their well-being, safety or liberation;

90.  Calls for efforts to strengthen the visibility of EU actions and channels for the protection and support of HRDs; urges the Member States to lead by example and develop robust and effective national HRD guidelines and laws, serving as a model for other nations to follow; recognises the collective responsibility of the EEAS, the Commission, and the Member States in ensuring the effective implementation of the EU Guidelines on human rights defenders and calls for the EU to implement a genuine Team Europe approach to HRDs; fully supports the ProtectDefenders.eu mechanisms and calls for the EU and its Member States to foster the creation of similar mechanisms in like-minded countries, as well as joint activities between the EU, its Member States and third countries addressed to the protection of HRDs; underlines the importance of EU Special Representatives engaging with national authorities on the protection of human rights and individual cases; reiterates its call for the Commission to take a proactive role in the establishment of an EU-wide multi-entry visa scheme for HRDs at risk; hereby urges the Member States to undertake procedural enhancements within their diplomatic missions, ensuring expeditious, comprehensible, accessible and attainable visa application processes; further calls on the Member States to collaboratively establish and integrate a dedicated category within the EU Visa Code, thereby streamlining visa procedures and promoting uniformity in the EU’s visa application process; calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in collaboration with the Member States and Parliament, to establish an annual list of countries of serious HRD concern, allowing for a coordinated Team Europe response, access to resources, enhanced monitoring, dedicated strategies and increased support at all levels; encourages the transparent presentation and review of this list in Parliament to uphold accountability;

91.  Deplores that women human rights defenders face gender-based violence and suffer from a lack of access to adequate resources and protection mechanisms; condemns the continuing attacks against women human rights defenders, including sexual assault, threats, intimidation, criminalisation and killings; affirms that the rise in misogynistic, sexist and homophobic speech by political leaders in recent years has normalised violence against women human rights defenders in particular against defenders working on SRHR; stresses the need for the EU to continue supporting CSOs that promote the rights of women and girls politically and financially;

Combating impunity and corruption

92.  Stresses that corruption facilitates, perpetuates and institutionalises violations of human rights, undermines democratic institutions and disproportionately affects the most vulnerable and marginalised individuals and groups in society; calls for the fight against corruption to be a part of all of the EU’s efforts and policies to promote human rights and democracy; welcomes the anti-corruption actions in EU external policies, including the possibility of imposing targeted anti-corruption sanctions in the joint communication of the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 3 May 2023 on the fight against corruption (JOIN(2023)0012); calls for the EU and its Member States to increase their efforts in justice reforms, fighting impunity, the improvement of transparency and anti-corruption institutions in third countries and addressing the role of certain EU-based actors in this regard; supports the anti-corruption provisions included in the EU trade agreements with non-EU countries; underlines the utmost importance for the EU and its Member States to lead by example by applying the highest transparency standards to their external funding and by stepping up their support for CSOs, activists and investigative journalists engaged in the fight against corruption and impunity, as well as by promoting the establishment of effective global anti-corruption measures and robust regulatory frameworks, as well as addressing secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens; calls for cooperation to be strengthened with key international actors in this regard, such as the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in order to improve synergies and the exchange of best practices concerning anti-corruption measures;

EU actions at multilateral forums

93.  Reiterates the need for the EU and its Member States to speak with one voice at the UN and in other multilateral forums; is extremely concerned by the increasing attacks on multilateral institutions, such as UN Bodies and in particular the UN Human Rights Council, by authoritarian and illiberal regimes in an attempt to undermine their work and legitimacy; welcomes the continued support of the EU and its Member States to the UN and other multilateral institutions, as well as the continued and growing strategic dialogue and cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; strongly supports the sponsoring of UN resolutions by the EU on human rights and democracy; calls for the EU and its Member States to take concrete steps to enhance the strength and resilience of the international human rights architecture and the consistent implementation of international human rights obligations and instruments; calls for the EU and its Member States to advocate for an own and permanent seat for the Union in multilateral forums and to ensure greater coordination, including the UN Security Council, in addition to the existing one allocated to EU Member States; calls for EU delegations to play a stronger role in multilateral forums, for which they should have appropriate resources available;

94.  Stresses that the effective protection of human rights worldwide requires international collaboration at multilateral level; underlines the particularly important role of the UN and its bodies as the main forum which must be able to effectively advance the efforts for peace, security, sustainable development and respect for human rights and international law; recalls the obligations of all UN member states to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, as enshrined in the Founding Charter of the United Nations and UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251; stresses the responsibility of the UN Human Rights Council to address all grave violations of human rights around the world; regrets the fact that several members of the UN Human Rights Council have records of serious human rights violations and disregard for their human rights obligations; calls for a better application of the criteria for membership of the UN Human Rights Council; calls on the EEAS to initiate and spearhead an effort towards a coordinated EU and Member State position on UN Human Rights Council membership, which would promote greater transparency and merit-based competition in the election process; calls for the EU institutions, including itself, to further strengthen relations and close cooperation with these UN bodies;

95.  Highlights the work of UN commissions of inquiry and fact-finding missions, which are increasingly used to respond to situations involving serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and to combat impunity; calls for the EU and its Member States to continue supporting the work of the UN, both politically and financially, including Special Procedures and treaty bodies; strongly condemns all attacks against UN Special Procedure mandate holders and against the independence of their mandates; calls on the EU Member States and the EU’s democratic partners to decisively counter these attempts and to take all possible measures to help provide safe and open spaces for interaction by individuals and CSOs with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms;

96.  Calls for the EU and the Member States to support the strengthening of regional human rights systems, including through financial assistance and cross-regional experience sharing; highlights in particular the critical role of the monitoring bodies and judicial mechanisms established under these regional systems and their complementarity with the UN human rights system;

97.  Welcomes the political and financial support the EU has given to the ICC, including the office of the Prosecutor of the ICC; asks the EU and its Member States to keep supporting the ICC with the necessary means and resources, both human and financial, and to use all instruments at its disposal to strengthen the fight against impunity worldwide; welcomes the contributions of the ICC to fight impunity around the world; supports the EU’s contributions in the investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity within the framework of the ICC; condemns the attempts to undermine the work of the ICC and its legitimacy; calls for the EU and its Member States to encourage their partners to ratify the Rome Statute and its amendments and thus expand the Court’s jurisdiction;

Team Europe approach

98.  Regrets the cases of different approaches to human rights protection and promotion in non-EU countries seen in Member States’ embassies and EU Delegations; underlines that Member States’ embassies should make promoting and protecting human rights a priority, while also supporting civil society in non-EU countries: notes that this responsibility should not fall entirely on the EU Delegations; call for the EU and the Member States to effectively place human rights as a central part of all EU policies and tools; urges the EU and its Member States to intensify their efforts to promote and protect human rights and democracy worldwide; underlines the need for the EU and its Member States to act in a united manner with a single voice and effectively in tackling global human rights and democracy challenges in multilateral forums; calls for full coordination in third countries between all Member States Delegations and the EU Delegations on human rights issues; calls on the EU Delegations and EU Member States’ diplomatic missions to adopt a more proactive approach in human rights promotion and defence;

99.  Highlights the importance of addressing the continued segmentation in the conduct of EU external relations in relation to human rights; calls for improved coordination on human rights matters between the Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships and the EEAS with other relevant Directorates-General, including the Directorate-General for Trade and the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, as well as with the relevant EU agencies, such as Frontex and EASO; welcomes the increased coordination between the EU Delegations and the EEAS headquarters and the Directorate-General for International Partnerships in relation to urgent HRD cases;

100.  Calls on all EU Delegations in third countries to increase their support to HRDs, in line with the EU guidelines in this area, as well as to visit members of the democratic opposition, activists and members of civil society imprisoned in those countries, to monitor their situation, to attend trials and to raise their cases in EU human rights dialogues with the countries in question;

101.  Highlights the important role of the EU’s public and cultural diplomacy, as well as international cultural relations, in the promotion of human rights and calls for the Strategic Communication and Foresight division of the EEAS to increase its efforts in this regard, for which it should count on the appropriate resources; stresses the need to fully communicate in third countries on EU-funded or supported human rights programmes; considers it to be of the utmost importance to fully implement the EU Human Rights Guidelines in EU Delegations and Member States’ diplomatic missions;

102.  Calls on the Commission, the EEAS and the Member States to adopt a true ‘Team Europe’ approach, which consists in regularly engaging with and involving Parliament in a meaningful way, whenever meetings, visits or other official and unofficial events take place, in line with the role of the European Parliament as the only directly elected body of the EU, representing EU citizens;

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103.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations Secretary-General, the President of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Union Heads of Delegation.

(1) OJ L 410 I, 7.12.2020, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 209, 14.6.2021, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 303, 15.12.2009, p. 12.
(4) OJ C 411, 27.11.2020, p. 30.
(5) OJ C 404, 6.10.2021, p. 202.
(6) OJ C 15, 12.1.2022, p. 70.
(7) OJ C 15, 12.1.2022, p. 111.
(8) OJ C 99, 1.3.2022, p. 152.
(9) OJ C 117, 11.3.2022, p. 88.
(10) OJ C, C/2023/409, 23.11.2023, ELI: http://data.europa.eu/eli/C/2023/409/oj.
(11) OJ C 342, 6.9.2022, p. 295.
(12) OJ C 214, 16.6.2023, p. 77.
(13) OJ C 465, 6.12.2022, p. 33.
(14) University of Gothenburg, ‘The world is becoming increasingly authoritarian – but there is hope’, 2 March 2023 https://www.gu.se/en/news/the-world-is-becoming-increasingly-authoritarian-but-there-is-hope.
(15) https://goodhumanrightsstories.net/.
(16) Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment (OJ L 335, 13.12.2008, p. 99).
(17) Regulation (EU) 2021/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2021 setting up a Union regime for the control of exports, brokering, technical assistance, transit and transfer of dual-use items (OJ L 206, 11.6.2021, p. 1).
(18) Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof (OJ L 212, 7.8.2001, p. 12).
(19) The Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Latin America and the Caribbean of 4 March 2018.

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