HRDs being interviewed by journalists


Joint Statement on the Eu Conclusions on the 10th Anniversary of the

4 July 2012

The undersigned organisations working with and for human rights defenders (HRDs) welcome the

adoption by the Council of the European Union (EU) of the 23 June 2014 Conclusions on the 10th

Anniversary of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders. We express satisfaction with the

renewed commitment of the EU and its Member States to the implementation of the Guidelines. In

particular, we welcome the call for improved support to vulnerable and marginalized human rights

defenders, women HRDs and those operating in remote regions. We also greet commitments to the

creation of a safe and enabling environment, the continued effort to implement an effective and

coherent policy on HRDs and the need to raise awareness and train Member States and EU staff on

the HRD Guidelines in cooperation with civil society. We wholly support the importance given to

interacting with and assisting different international and regional mechanisms for the protection of

HRDs while giving increased attention to the phenomenon of reprisals.

The  undersigned  organisations  stress  the  importance  of  reinforced  efforts  towards  the  full

implementation  of  the  Guidelines.  In  order  to  facilitate  the  fulfilment  of  the  EU  renewed

commitment, we make the following recommendations for concrete actions to be taken by the EU

and its Member States at field and capital levels, and we encourage the Council of the EU to include

these recommendations in the soon-to-be revised EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy :
Coherent EU policy on HRDs:

− Implement  the  EU  Guidelines on HRDs  fully  and  genuinely  in  all  third  countries,  regardless  of

political, economic or other considerations;

− Actively  support  HRDs  through  a  flexible  combination  of  concrete  actions  and  public

diplomacy, on the basis of effective consultation with concerned HRDs;

− Clearly  communicate  human  rights  priorities  of  EU  country  strategies  to  local  HRDs  to

facilitate their action;

− Provide systematic feedback to HRDs, civil society and the public on EU and Member States’

actions  on  HRDs,  encouraging  meaningful  public  debate  on  how  to  reinforce  their  vital


− Improve inter-institutional cooperation on HRDs by setting up a ‘filter group’ made of focal

points,  from  the  European  Parliament,  the  European  External  Action  Service  and  the

European Commission, to meet regularly , review and follow-up individual cases, and prepare

future actions in close cooperation with HRDs liaison officers in the field.


Support to all HRDs, including vulnerable and marginalized HRDs, women HRDs and those operating in remote areas:

− Use all means available to the EU and its Member States, including both diplomacy and

concrete actions such as trial observation, as well as funding, visibility and political backing,

to give meaningful support to HRDs.

− Regularly and consistently use political and human rights dialogues as well as other channels

of  communication  to  remind  third  countries  of  their  duty  to  protect  HRDs,  and  ensure

involvement of HRDs in these processes.

− Adopt a proactive approach towards vulnerable groups of HRDs, women HRDs and defenders

operating  in  remote  areas,  by  coordinating  among  EU  missions  the  joint  and  individual

responsibility to cover different geographical areas in the third country and to engage with

diverse HRDs working not only on civil, political, but also on economic, social and cultural

rights. EU Delegations and Member State missions must carry out regular visits outside large

urban centres and strive to meet with grass-roots and community-based HRDs, exchange

information on the human rights situation, meet the protection needs of HRDs and provide

visibility for their essential work to promote and protect human rights.
Safe and enabling environment:

− Promote  and  implement  EU  and  Member  State  public  information  campaigns  in  third

countries to increase the visibility and legitimacy of the work of HRDs, focusing in particular

on the most vulnerable groups;

− Accompany  and  support  efforts  of  civil  society  organisations  in  their  demands  towards

government authorities to abrogate restrictive laws and norms, to adopt and/or strengthen

national public policies and mechanisms for the protection of HRDs, and to fight against



Raising awareness about the Guidelines:

− Set up indicators and benchmarks to encourage concrete action on the Guidelines by all

Member State diplomatic missions and EU Delegations;

− Translate the Guidelines on HRDs into local languages and disseminate them among civil

society, including different ethnic minority groups and indigenous communities;

− Organise  yearly  regional  workshops  with  the  participation  of  civil  society  to  exchange

experiences and lessons learned, and build the capacity of HRDs, EU and Member States

diplomatic staff, in particular the human rights focal points and liaison officers for HRDs.


We look forward to continuing our exchange with the EU and its Member States and remain engaged

to  support  the  work  of  HRDs  in  their  crucial  role  of  promoting  and  protecting  human rights worldwide.
Brussels, 30 June 2014

Amnesty International  Protection International

Frontline Defenders Peace Brigades International

The Observatory for the Protection of

Human Rights Defenders