EU adopts Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024

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FIDH welcomes the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024 adopted by the Council on 17 November 2020. Although it provides a broad roadmap with strong ambitions to address the increasing challenges on human rights and democracy, it is important to note that it will also require strong political determination and adequate resources to be implemented and yield effective results. Civil society organisations have systematically called upon the EU to make full use of its toolbox and takes note of the EU’s commitment to effectively use ’its leverage within the broad range of policies and tools at its disposal to promote and defend human rights, democracy and the rule of law’.

FIDH, with its members organisations and partners held a number of meetings with EU interlocutors and Member States, presenting a raft of recommendations and concrete objectives to ensure a result-oriented Action Plan. Beyond the overarching understanding that ‘an independent civil society, enabling civic space and the support and protection of human rights defenders are essential elements to achieve these priorities’, specific areas pinpointed by FIDH are highlighted below.

• "Develop tools to detect and respond to early signs of closing civic space and democratic backsliding, including the use of digital technologies and counter-terrorism measures as well as disproportionate measures imposed under state of emergency. [..] and develop tools to monitor and anticipate challenges or opportunities for civic and democratic space.;
• "Protect and promote freedom of expression, media freedom and pluralism, online and offline, and access to information. Take action to counter disinformation, including by raising public awareness, and stimulating public debate around actions to counter disinformation". Prevent and take action against violations of the freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Condemn intimidation, threats and violence against peaceful protesters.
• Support civil society organisations’ meaningful participation in multilateral and regional human rights fora and take actions, both public and bilateral, against any reprisals related to engagement with the UN, whether on the ground or in multilateral fora. Strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of the UN human rights treaty body system and the ILO standard supervisory mechanism.
Strengthen the implementation of human rights provisions in EU trade policy
Promote a zero-tolerance policy on child labour, and the eradication of forced labour.
Strengthen engagement in international fora and with partner countries to actively promote and support global efforts to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including through fostering the development and implementation of national action plans in Member States and partner countries, advancing relevant due diligence standards and working on a comprehensive EU framework for the implementation of the Guiding Principles in order to enhance coordination and coherence of actions at EU level.
Collaborate with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and other multilateral and regional development banks and institutions to promote good governance, accountability, and transparency, thus strengthening the framework for effectively promoting human rights and democracy.

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