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The coronavirus pandemic in Latin America

28-04-2021

Latin America is among the world's regions worst affected by Covid-19, and its economies, employment and even human rights are already suffering seriously, and are expected to continue to do so. Governments and international organisations, including the EU, are making efforts to mitigate the consequences, but the results remain uncertain. This is an update of an 'At a glance' note from October 2020.

Latin America is among the world's regions worst affected by Covid-19, and its economies, employment and even human rights are already suffering seriously, and are expected to continue to do so. Governments and international organisations, including the EU, are making efforts to mitigate the consequences, but the results remain uncertain. This is an update of an 'At a glance' note from October 2020.

Vulnerability of unaccompanied and separated child migrants

26-04-2021

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has estimated that the number of migrant children increased from 24 million during the 1990–2000 period to 33 million in 2019. In 2019 alone, some 33 200 children arrived in southern European countries, of which some 9 000 (27 %) were unaccompanied or separated from family member(s) on the journey. There are various reasons why a child may be unaccompanied or get separated, including persecution of the child or the parents; international conflict and civil ...

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has estimated that the number of migrant children increased from 24 million during the 1990–2000 period to 33 million in 2019. In 2019 alone, some 33 200 children arrived in southern European countries, of which some 9 000 (27 %) were unaccompanied or separated from family member(s) on the journey. There are various reasons why a child may be unaccompanied or get separated, including persecution of the child or the parents; international conflict and civil war; human trafficking and smuggling, including sale by parents; accidental separation from the parents over the course of their journey; and searching for better economic opportunities. Despite the existence of a comprehensive international legal framework on children's rights and their protection, irregular migrant children, especially those who are unaccompanied or who have been separated from their parents over their journey, face numerous obstacles and challenges during and after the migration process. Several international and European organisations have identified a number of protection gaps in the treatment of such children, including that they face greater risks of, inter alia, sexual exploitation and abuse, military recruitment, child labour (including for foster families) and detention. In many countries, they are routinely denied entry or detained by border or immigration officials. In other cases, they are admitted but are denied access to asylum procedures, or their asylum claims are not handled in an age and gender-sensitive manner. The vulnerable situation of unaccompanied and separated children worldwide, and the threats they face need to be addressed, particularly in view of the constant increase in their number. European Union asylum law offers special protection to such children, and the European Union has adopted numerous instruments and identified key actions for the protection of all children in migration, including those who are unaccompanied and separated. This briefing is an update of a 2016 briefing by Joanna Apap.

Justice programme 2021-2027

21-04-2021

In May 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a new Justice programme as part of the new 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). An early second-reading agreement was reached with the Council in trilogue negotiations, which is now expected to be voted by Parliament during the April 2021 session.

In May 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a new Justice programme as part of the new 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). An early second-reading agreement was reached with the Council in trilogue negotiations, which is now expected to be voted by Parliament during the April 2021 session.

Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme

21-04-2021

Given the extent of inequality and discrimination, challenges to fundamental rights and citizens' lack of awareness of the rights they enjoy, the EU institutions have recognised the importance of funding to protect core EU values and fundamental rights, support civil society organisations and sustain open, democratic and inclusive societies. In May 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a new Rights and Values programme as part of the new 2021-2027 Multiannual ...

Given the extent of inequality and discrimination, challenges to fundamental rights and citizens' lack of awareness of the rights they enjoy, the EU institutions have recognised the importance of funding to protect core EU values and fundamental rights, support civil society organisations and sustain open, democratic and inclusive societies. In May 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a new Rights and Values programme as part of the new 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). An early second-reading agreement was reached with the Council in trilogue negotiations, which is now expected to be voted by Parliament during the April 2021 session.

Recast Eurodac Regulation

26-03-2021

Eurodac is a biometric database in which Member States are required to enter the fingerprint data of asylum-seekers in order to identify where they entered the European Union (EU). Established in 2000 and reviewed in 2013, its main purpose is to facilitate the application of the Dublin Regulation. The 2013 revision broadened the scope to provide law enforcement authorities with access to the Eurodac database. As part of the reform of the common European asylum system in 2016, the European Commission ...

Eurodac is a biometric database in which Member States are required to enter the fingerprint data of asylum-seekers in order to identify where they entered the European Union (EU). Established in 2000 and reviewed in 2013, its main purpose is to facilitate the application of the Dublin Regulation. The 2013 revision broadened the scope to provide law enforcement authorities with access to the Eurodac database. As part of the reform of the common European asylum system in 2016, the European Commission proposed a recast Eurodac Regulation. The co-legislators reached a partial agreement on the proposal in 2018. As part of the broader migration and asylum pact, the new Commission presented an amended proposal on 23 September 2020. The Commission expects the co-legislators to promptly adopt the proposal on the basis of the agreement already reached. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Control of exports, transfer, brokering, technical assistance and transit of dual-use items

22-03-2021

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; known as 'dual-use' goods, they are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposal would place new limits on the export of cyber-surveillance items and strengthen human rights considerations ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; known as 'dual-use' goods, they are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposal would place new limits on the export of cyber-surveillance items and strengthen human rights considerations. The European Parliament is expected to vote on the agreed text resulting from interinstitutional negotiations during the March II plenary session.

Pushbacks at the EU's external borders

08-03-2021

In recent years, the migration policy of the European Union (EU) has focused on strict border controls and the externalisation of migration management through cooperation with third countries. Although states have the right to decide whether to grant non-EU nationals access to their territory, they must do this in accordance with the law and uphold individuals' fundamental rights. Not only do the practices and policies of stopping asylum-seekers and migrants in need of protection at or before they ...

In recent years, the migration policy of the European Union (EU) has focused on strict border controls and the externalisation of migration management through cooperation with third countries. Although states have the right to decide whether to grant non-EU nationals access to their territory, they must do this in accordance with the law and uphold individuals' fundamental rights. Not only do the practices and policies of stopping asylum-seekers and migrants in need of protection at or before they reach the European Union's external borders ('pushbacks') erode EU values as enshrined in the EU Treaties, they may also violate international and European humanitarian and human rights laws. National human rights institutions, international bodies and civil society organisations regularly report cases of pushbacks at the European Union's land and sea borders. According to those reports, pushbacks often involve excessive use of force by EU Member States' authorities and EU agencies operating at external borders, and degrading and inhuman treatment of migrants and their arbitrary detention. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for Member States and EU agencies to comply with fundamental rights in their activities to protect the EU's external borders. Several international organisations and other stakeholders have condemned or filed legal actions against the practice of pushbacks carried out at the EU's external borders. In September 2020, the European Commission presented a pact on migration and asylum, including a proposal on pre-entry screening of third-country nationals at EU external borders, in a bid to address these potential breaches of fundamental rights.

WTO rules: Compatibility with human and labour rights

04-03-2021

Supply chains are increasingly international, but many of EU's trade partners fail to meet both the labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and international human rights norms. EU trade policy is designed to ensure that economic development complies with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, while upholding human rights and high labour standards. WTO rules require members to comply with a set of basic free trading principles, in particular national treatment and most-favoured ...

Supply chains are increasingly international, but many of EU's trade partners fail to meet both the labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and international human rights norms. EU trade policy is designed to ensure that economic development complies with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, while upholding human rights and high labour standards. WTO rules require members to comply with a set of basic free trading principles, in particular national treatment and most-favoured nation status. When a member wishes to take a trade-affecting measure that departs from WTO rules, they can justify the action on the basis of general exceptions. Whereas there is no specific provision in the WTO rules on human rights, according to case law and precedents, the general exception can sometimes allow trade-restricting measures based on human rights concerns. Yet, the open nature of WTO-rules means that members must devise trade-restrictive measures carefully, and that the dispute settlement process can involve complex legal interpretation if litigation arises. The uncertainty surrounding the compatibility between WTO rules and human and labour rights is attracting growing attention, generating calls for WTO reform. Another WTO framework that has been the subject of a long-standing debate on whether its flexibility provisions are sufficient to protect human rights and in particular the right to health is the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the debate has refocused on the need to waive some TRIPS provisions. This briefing provides an overview of complex issues relating to human rights and WTO rules. It does not argue for a specific interpretation or position, and does not attempt to bring final clarification on aspects still disputed among legal experts.

CAN NATURE GET IT RIGHT? A Study on Rights of Nature in the European Context

01-03-2021

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee, explores the concept of “Rights of Nature” (RoN) and its different aspects in legal philosophy and international agreements, as well as in legislation and case-law on different levels. The study delves on the ideas of rights of nature in comparison with rights to nature, legal personhood and standing in court for natural entities, and analyses ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee, explores the concept of “Rights of Nature” (RoN) and its different aspects in legal philosophy and international agreements, as well as in legislation and case-law on different levels. The study delves on the ideas of rights of nature in comparison with rights to nature, legal personhood and standing in court for natural entities, and analyses ECtHR and CJEU case-law on access to justice in environmental decision-making. It emphasises, in particular, the need to strengthen the requirements for independent scientific evaluations in certain permit regimes under EU law. The study also highlights the crucial importance of promoting the role of civil society as watchdog over the implementation of EU environmental law by way of a wider access to justice via both the national courts and the CJEU, which is also in line with the political priorities for delivering the European Green Deal.

Support for democracy through EU external policy: New tools for growing challenges

26-02-2021

The crisis of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism across the globe, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, highlight the importance of taking a more strategic and autonomous approach to supporting democracy worldwide – an objective often balanced against other external policy aims until now. Since the start of the current parliamentary term, the EU has reviewed its political guidance on democracy and human rights. It has adopted or is about to adopt important measures to strengthen support ...

The crisis of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism across the globe, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, highlight the importance of taking a more strategic and autonomous approach to supporting democracy worldwide – an objective often balanced against other external policy aims until now. Since the start of the current parliamentary term, the EU has reviewed its political guidance on democracy and human rights. It has adopted or is about to adopt important measures to strengthen support for democracy (including better monitoring and enforcement of relevant provisions in trade arrangements). The adoption of the new multiannual financial framework (MFF) and of a new development aid instrument bringing together all former external aid instruments provides new opportunities for better implementing EU funding and better exploiting the EU's leverage as a major provider of development aid. Digital challenges and the narrowing space for civil societies are among the priorities to be addressed. The challenge of engaging more difficult partners, such as China and Russia, has inspired calls to broaden the scope of a values-based agenda to other economic relations, such as investments. These new measures complement an already broad and complex toolbox integrating various external policies. Using the enhanced powers in external affairs provided by the Treaty of Lisbon, the EU has set up extensive political and diplomatic dialogues to enhance partnerships beyond the more asymmetric, specific development assistance and trade leverage going back to the 1990s. While the EU has responded to violations of democratic norms by reducing aid and withdrawing trade preferences, it has consistently sought to build equal partnerships based on constructive and open dialogues, rather than use its economic and commercial traction in a coercive manner. This is an update of a Briefing from February 2018.

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