European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders
Enlarge image Jestina Mukoko (© dpa // picture alliance) Germany and the European Union are actively engaged in the protection of human rights defenders. The EU has drawn up guidelines to ensure that this protection is guaranteed in the long term.
On 14 June 2004, the EU’s General Affairs and External Relations Council adopted European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders to enhance long-term EU action with respect to third countries with a view to supporting and protecting human rights defenders.
The guidelines, which Germany emphatically supports, provide, among other things, for efforts to establish and maintain systematic contacts to human rights defenders through EU member states’ foreign missions, for regular reports to be made by these missions on the situation of human rights defenders in the host countries, for such persons to be assisted on the ground by concrete action, for networking to be promoted and, in general, for the situation of human rights defenders to be taken into account in all areas of EU foreign policy (‘mainstreaming’). The guidelines were updated in 2008.
Enlarge image Aung San Suu Kyi (© dpa // picture alliance) To promote the implementation of the EU guidelines at local level, under the German EU Presidency the member states’ foreign missions in 124 host countries were instructed to report on the situation of human rights defenders and to develop local strategies for their protection in cooperation with EU partners on the ground. In addition, contact to human rights activists is to be maintained through annual meetings with interlocutors at the missions.