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The death penalty and the EU's fight against it

12-02-2019

The European Union is strongly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, and fighting it is a foremost priority of its external human rights policy. While most countries in the world have abolished capital punishment, death sentences continue to be handed down and carried out in a number of countries. The Union uses its diplomatic and political weight to encourage these countries to join the abolitionist ranks, or at the very least to respect international minimum standards. It funds campaigns ...

The European Union is strongly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, and fighting it is a foremost priority of its external human rights policy. While most countries in the world have abolished capital punishment, death sentences continue to be handed down and carried out in a number of countries. The Union uses its diplomatic and political weight to encourage these countries to join the abolitionist ranks, or at the very least to respect international minimum standards. It funds campaigns to increase awareness of the need to end capital punishment, and restricts trade in substances that could be used for executions.

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

05-06-2018

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

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

Externí autor

Gisele BOSSE, Alena VIEIRA

2016 report on Turkey

27-06-2017

During its July plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to vote on a resolution on the Commission's 2016 report on Turkey. Long-standing EU-Turkey relations, despite being a priority for both sides, have recently reached a low point, and accession talks risk being brought to a halt.

During its July plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to vote on a resolution on the Commission's 2016 report on Turkey. Long-standing EU-Turkey relations, despite being a priority for both sides, have recently reached a low point, and accession talks risk being brought to a halt.

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

13-03-2017

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

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

Externí autor

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

Fighting trade in tools for torture and executions

13-02-2017

The EU is committed to fighting torture and use of the death penalty throughout the world. Both phenomena continue to afflict a significant number of countries, and trade in torture tools is booming. One of the most important measures taken by the EU has been its 2005 Regulation imposing restrictions in trade in torture tools. Despite some visible effects, it has been repeatedly criticised for loopholes which allow trade in goods that could be used for torture, executions and other ill-treatment, ...

The EU is committed to fighting torture and use of the death penalty throughout the world. Both phenomena continue to afflict a significant number of countries, and trade in torture tools is booming. One of the most important measures taken by the EU has been its 2005 Regulation imposing restrictions in trade in torture tools. Despite some visible effects, it has been repeatedly criticised for loopholes which allow trade in goods that could be used for torture, executions and other ill-treatment, as well as related activities like brokering or advertising such goods to continue. Responding to a 2010 European Parliament resolution, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal to amend the Regulation in 2014. The proposal was criticised by civil society organisations fighting torture since it did not address all potential loopholes. The EP's International Trade Committee proposed several amendments aiming to further restrict the trade in torture tools and the provision of related services. The final compromise text, agreed after three trilogue meetings, reflected most of INTA’s proposals, albeit with certain modifications. It was adopted by the EP and the Council as such, entering into force in December 2016. This updates a previous edition, of September 2016: PE 586.659.

Human rights in the Philippines

17-01-2017

Since mid-2016, President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial war on drugs has triggered a wave of extrajudicial killings. The current violence reflects longer-term problems, such as high crime rates and a dysfunctional justice system. However, there are still many areas, such as freedom of expression and gender equality, where the Philippines does better than most other Asian countries.

Since mid-2016, President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial war on drugs has triggered a wave of extrajudicial killings. The current violence reflects longer-term problems, such as high crime rates and a dysfunctional justice system. However, there are still many areas, such as freedom of expression and gender equality, where the Philippines does better than most other Asian countries.

Human rights in Vietnam

13-10-2016

Despite constitutional guarantees, Vietnam has one of the worst human rights records in south-east Asia, with severely restricted freedom of expression, as well as a ban on opposition parties and in general on independent organisations. Recent improvements to LGBTI rights and the criminal justice system are among the few bright spots. EU support for Vietnamese human rights includes funding and a human rights dialogue.

Despite constitutional guarantees, Vietnam has one of the worst human rights records in south-east Asia, with severely restricted freedom of expression, as well as a ban on opposition parties and in general on independent organisations. Recent improvements to LGBTI rights and the criminal justice system are among the few bright spots. EU support for Vietnamese human rights includes funding and a human rights dialogue.

Fighting trade in tools for torture and executions

04-04-2016

The EU is committed to fighting torture and use of the death penalty throughout the world. Both phenomena continue to afflict a significant number of countries, and trade in torture tools is booming in the world. One of the most important measures taken by the EU has been its 2005 Regulation imposing restrictions in trade in torture tools. Despite some visible effects, it has been repeatedly criticised for loopholes which allow trade in goods that could be used for torture, executions and other ill-treatment ...

The EU is committed to fighting torture and use of the death penalty throughout the world. Both phenomena continue to afflict a significant number of countries, and trade in torture tools is booming in the world. One of the most important measures taken by the EU has been its 2005 Regulation imposing restrictions in trade in torture tools. Despite some visible effects, it has been repeatedly criticised for loopholes which allow trade in goods that could be used for torture, executions and other ill-treatment, as well as related activities like brokering or advertising such goods to continue. Responding to a 2010 European Parliament resolution, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal to amend the Regulation in 2014. The proposal, which is based on the approach that only proportionate and necessary trade restrictions should be imposed – to avoid cumbersome administrative procedures to exporters – addresses only in part the EP’s recommendations and the concerns of civil society organisations fighting torture. The EP's International Trade Committee adopted several amendments that effectively address concerns raised by these organisations. A more recent edition of this document is available. Find it by searching by the document title at this address: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/home.html

Belarus: Human rights situation remains bleak

23-02-2016

Belarus is the only European country where the death penalty is still applied. Opposition politicians have disappeared, the President has stifled all forms of budding protests with violence; and authorities continue to harass human rights activists and independent journalists. Despite the softening in EU-Belarus ties and the newly lifted sanctions, the overall human rights situation under President Lukashenko's autocratic rule has yet to improve.

Belarus is the only European country where the death penalty is still applied. Opposition politicians have disappeared, the President has stifled all forms of budding protests with violence; and authorities continue to harass human rights activists and independent journalists. Despite the softening in EU-Belarus ties and the newly lifted sanctions, the overall human rights situation under President Lukashenko's autocratic rule has yet to improve.

Morocco: Human rights situation

12-01-2016

Morocco enjoys advanced status under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The new constitution, adopted during the reign of Mohamed VI, covers almost all human rights set out in the Universal Human Rights Declaration. Public space for debate over human rights issues has opened up significantly in recent years. A number of concerns, however, prevail, as implementation and enforcement of the new constitutional provisions remain incomplete.

Morocco enjoys advanced status under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The new constitution, adopted during the reign of Mohamed VI, covers almost all human rights set out in the Universal Human Rights Declaration. Public space for debate over human rights issues has opened up significantly in recent years. A number of concerns, however, prevail, as implementation and enforcement of the new constitutional provisions remain incomplete.

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