Human rights in the world: continued violations of democratic principles 

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Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs express their deep concern over the unremitting attacks on democracy and shrinking space for civil society worldwide, in a resolution adopted on Wednesday.

In their annual resolution assessing the situation for human rights in the world, Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs denounce the ongoing pushback against multilateralism and the rule-based international order that continues to pose a serious challenge to human rights.

With a particular focus on developments last year, they also express their deep concern about the reoccurring attacks on democracy and the rule of law, as well as the shrinking space for civil society.

The text was adopted on Wednesday by 48 votes in favour, 6 against with 8 abstentions.

Violence against human rights defenders

MEPs highlight the increase in murders, attacks, use of the death penalty, persecution and imprisonment of people standing up for human rights, including scholars, journalists and politicians. They stress that human rights defenders, in particular women, play an invaluable and essential role, whilst risking their own lives. They call on the EU and its member states to step up their work to help ensure these people are better protected.

The resolution also underlines that media pluralism and freedom of speech must be at the heart of resilient democracies, and condemns the misuse of legitimate aims, such as counter-terrorism, state security and law enforcement, to limit freedom of expression both online and offline.

Business and human rights

In the comprehensive resolution, MEPs further reaffirm that the activities of all companies, whether operating domestically or across borders, must be fully compliant with international human rights standards, and call on European enterprises to play a leading role in promoting such standards on business and human rights. For all the details, the text will be available in full here in due time.

Background

This resolution will be put to a vote by the European Parliament as a whole during the plenary session in Strasbourg in January. Once adopted in the hemicycle, the text will represent the official position of the full House. Before the plenary vote, the draft resolution will be debated by MEPs and the EU’s new Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell. It was originally prepared by rapporteur Isabel Wiseler-Lima (EPP, LU) and MEPs in the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI).