Brussels, 17 June 2014 – Today, at a seminar held at the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union in Brussels, Front Line Defenders, Peace Brigades International, Protection International, the International Federation for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International celebrate the 10th anniversary of the European Union (EU) Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders .
The purpose of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders is to provide practical suggestions for enhancing EU human rights external relations policy in relation to this issue, e.g. providing visible recognition, observing trials, visiting human rights defenders in custody or under house arrest, involving them in human rights dialogues, organizing meetings gathering local human rights defenders and EU diplomats, systematically informing them about EU actions taken on their behalf.
Participants in the seminar will take stock of the past 10 years since the Guidelines were adopted by the Council of the EU on 14 June 2004. They will assess their implementation so far and discuss challenges, gaps and possible ways to address them in the years to come.
After welcoming words by H.E. Joe Hackett, Ambassador of Ireland to the EU’s Political and Security Committee, addresses will be delivered by Mr Joe Costello, Irish Minister of State for Trade and Development, and Mr Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Special Representative for Human Rights and Democracy.
Human rights defenders from Mexico and Nepal, as well as representatives from Non-Governmental Organisations, EU Member States, EU institutions and the United Nations will then discuss which concrete actions can be undertaken to improve the implementation of the Guidelines.
The participating organisations hope that the event will create momentum for a much-needed boost to the high-level commitment made in 2004, and contribute to increasing, coherent EU action in support of human rights defenders worldwide.