FRAME Fostering Human Rights Among European Policies


Fostering Human Rights in EU Policies

The third cluster hones the fostering of human rights in EU policies. Cluster 3 focuses on four EU policies with particular relevance for the respect, protection and promotion of human rights: (1) development and trade; (2) violations of human rights in conflicts; (3) freedom, security and justice (e.g., cross-border mobility and counterterrorism); and (4) external human rights and democratization policy. These policies cover a good part of the spectrum of questions where the effectiveness, coherence and consistency of EU policy-making vis-à-vis its own human rights standards are called into question. They also encompass those realms where recent events have found the EU unprepared and divided without a common, well-founded human rights-based position to defend. Bearing in mind the Lisbon Treaty’s overarching aims of enhancing coherence and consistency in the EU’s external and internal policies, the critical assessment of the instruments available to the EU to integrate human rights concerns in these policies is therefore of utmost importance. First, there will be study of how human rights are integrated in EU policies on development and trade and to what extent this is translated into concrete policy instruments and tools, with an emphasis on the effects of such policies on vulnerable groups (e.g. ethnic and religious minorities, people with mental disabilities, women, children, internally displaced persons, irregular migrants and refugees) in third states and the EU’s contribution to counter the erosion of basic rights in lower income countries, especially through EU initiatives to improve the international regulatory frameworks on the enforcement of intellectual property rights and trade negotiations and agreements [WP 9]. Second, contemporary human rights violations in armed conflicts, especially against vulnerable groups, will be analysed, with particular regard to the relationship between the protection of human rights, international humanitarian law and the law of humanitarian assistance, as well as the relationship between the protection of human rights, the promotion of democracy and international criminal law. In view of the EU’s involvement in all phases of the conflict cycle (from preventative policies to crisis management and post-crisis reconstruction), this includes the examination of the integration of human rights, international humanitarian law and democracy/rule of law principles and tools in EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) policy and missions [WP 10]. Third, attention centres on the institutional framework and instruments available to integrate the external and internal dimensions of EU policies on freedom, security and justice, with emphasis on the fight against serious criminality (terrorism, international crimes and organised crime) and cross-border mobility in the context of policies on border checks, asylum and immigration [WP 11]. Finally, research will be devoted to the implementation and impact of EU instruments used for the promotion of human rights and democracy, with particular regard to the protection of vulnerable groups in order to explore the extent to which EU external human rights and democratisation action responds to today’s challenges for human rights protection and to elaborate ways in which this policy can be more effective [WP 12].

Key Deliverables

    • Analysis of human rights integration in development and trade
    • Case study on reform of GSP+ and ‘Everything but Arms’ initiative
    • Assessment of human rights violations in conflicts
    • Case study on CSDP
    • Critical evaluation of AFSJ
    • Case study on vulnerable groups and border checks, asylum and immigration
    • Evaluation of external human rights and democratisation
    • Impact assessments of EU democracy support in pilot countries
    • Case study on ‘deep democracy’ and Egypt