FRA weekly 8-15 February

  1. WHAT’S NEW
    1. Towards an even stronger Europe of values
    2. Dutch Presidency event promotes decent work
    3. FRA-ENNHRI workshop on national implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
    4. Zero project 2016 presents innovative practices on inclusive education and ICT
    5. EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies meet in Vienna
    6. FRA hosts awareness-raising session on UN disability convention for Justice and Home Affairs Agencies
    7. European actors discuss monitoring mechanisms for children deprived of liberty
    8. European Parliament intergroups discuss how to end violence against children with disabilities
    9. Enhancing return monitoring capacities in EU Member States

Please find below the latest information.

1.      WHAT’S NEW

a. Towards an even stronger Europe of values

The FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty engaged in a series of productive high-level meetings in Strasbourg from 2 to 3 February where he reaffirmed FRA’s continued commitment to protecting and promoting human rights: “We must never forget that whatever action we take on migration or any other issue, human rights must be at the forefront. Our commitment to human rights is sacred, and it is non-negotiable.

b. Dutch Presidency event promotes decent work

FRA will present the findings from its severe labour exploitation report at a two-day conference which focuses on ‘Decent Work’ and labour mobility in Amsterdam from 8 to 9 February. This thematic Dutch Presidency event is being organised by the Social Affairs and Employment Ministry of The Netherlands. The central themes of the conference are promoting decent work on the European labour market by better compliance with and enforcement of existing regulations, with a focus on the situation of posted workers. The objective is to bring together labour inspectorates, policy makers and other authorities who are responsible for the supervision of and compliance with decent work regulations. FRA will present its research findings as well as some of the best practices and experiences that emerged during its work in this area. (Contact: Alice Hamilton).

c. FRA-ENNHRI workshop on national implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

On 9 February, FRA and the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) are hosting a workshop to facilitate and strengthen NHRIs’ contribution to the implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The workshop will bring together experts from FRA and ENNHRI. The aims are: to build NHRIs’ capacity in understanding when the EU Charter applies nationally; to clarify how the Charter relates to other human rights instruments, and how it can reinforce NHRIs’ work; and to consider the opportunities and challenges when using the Charter in NHRI work. (Contact: Jonas Grimheden/ Gabriel Toggenburg).

d. Zero project 2016 presents innovative practices on inclusive education and ICT

This year’s Zero Project Conference 2016 focuses on innovative policies and practices on inclusive education and Information & Communication Technologies, and will bring together 300 participants from over 70 countries in Vienna on 10-12 February. FRA will chair a workshop on anti-bullying strategies, drawing on findings on violence and bullying in schools from FRA’s report on violence against children with disabilities(Contact: Martha Stickings/ Nevena Peneva).

e. EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies meet in Vienna

FRA will host the first meeting this year of the network of EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Agencies in Vienna from 11-12 February. Network representatives from nine JHA agencies and the Commission will come together to discuss this year’s priorities for joint action in the areas of freedom, security and justice, with the aim of delivering cross-agency advice and support to EU institutions and Member States. FRA currently chairs the network, which has been supporting the EU institutions and its Member States with coherent and effective practical advice and guidance for 10 years now (Contact: Alice Hamilton).

f. FRA hosts awareness-raising session on UN disability convention for Justice and Home Affairs Agencies

FRA will host a session on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies Network in Vienna on 11-12 February. The session will highlight what the EU’s accession to the CRPD means for EU Agencies and discuss practical tools Agencies can use to implement the convention in their daily activities. Increasing awareness of staff of the EU public administration about the CRPD is one of the tasks set out in the 2015-2016 work programme of the EU Framework to promote, protect and monitor the implementation of the CRPD (Contact:Nevena Peneva/ Martha Stickings).

g. European actors discuss monitoring mechanisms for children deprived of liberty

FRA will attend the closing conference of the EU-Council of Europe funded project ‘Children’s rights behind bars’ that looked at monitoring mechanisms. The conference will take place in Brussels on the 15 February. It will also be an opportunity to discuss with stakeholders the upcoming approval of the Directive on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings (Contact: Monica Gutiérrez).

h. European Parliament intergroups discuss how to end violence against children with disabilities

FRA will present its report on Violence against children with disabilities at the first ever event co-hosted by both the Disability and the Child Rights Intergroups of the European Parliament. The event will take place in Brussels on 17 February. Representatives of the European Commission, UNICEF and civil society will also participate (Contact: Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos/ Monica Gutiérrez).

i. Enhancing return monitoring capacities in EU Member States

FRA is stepping up its efforts to assist Member States in monitoring forced returns by air by hosting a 1-week training course from 22-26 February. The course will guide monitors step-by-step through the phases of forced returns by air. Case studies, role plays and simulation exercises will aid monitors in analysing and reflecting about the fundamental rights dimension of their work. The course covers: principles such as proportionality and necessity; coercive measures; early warning indicators for monitors; access to information of returnees; treatment of and communication with returnees; vulnerable people; monitoring and reporting. The aim of this course is to equip monitors with fundamental rights knowledge in the context of forced return and to build their skills to translate this knowledge into actions. It also aims to guide return monitors on how to report observations in relation to potential fundamental rights violations. At the end of the training, attendees are expected to have learnt about fundamental rights and be able to apply them in the context of forced return monitoring. FRA will carry out this training course in cooperation with the EU Borders Agency (Frontex), the International Centre for Migration Policy Development and the Counter-terrorism unit (COBRA) of the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior. The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment will also talk about its country monitoring and reporting activities (Contact: Aydan Iyigüngör).

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