1. WHAT’S NEW
2. FEEDBACK FROM RECENT ACTIVITIES
Please find below the latest information.
1. WHAT’S NEW
Children involved in court proceedings often feel scared, ignored, and ill-informed, as a new report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows. By asking children across different EU Member States about their experiences and views, this ground-breaking report shows how far we still have to go to make our justice systems child-friendly. (Contact: Astrid Podsiadlowski)
Many Member States fail the migrant victims of torture and trauma by not having systems in place to recognise the ordeals they have suffered and support them on arrival. Such trauma if left untreated can scar them and their families for life, and may lead to suicide. These are some of the findings from the latest summary report of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on migration-related fundamental rights concerns in selected EU Member States. It examines how victims are being handled by national authorities to highlight how to best offer them the protection they are entitled to.
Government officials, diplomats, civil society representatives and those charged with making human rights relevant for the general public will come together on 28 February in Vienna to mark the 10th anniversary of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights(event programme). The anniversary provides the framework for participants to discuss the situation of human rights in Europe today and look to the future on how to ensure that human rights remains central to tackling the various challenges that the EU currently faces. (Contact: John Kellock).
The FRA Executive Board will hold its 42nd meeting at FRA on 1 March. The Executive Board will discuss several issues concerning FRA’s ongoing work. (Contact: Barbara Jaeschke).
At the advocacy organisations Fair Trials annual conference on 3-4 March, in Athens, FRA will contribute with a presentation on pre-detention standards and recent jurisprudence on cross-border cooperation, drawing on its reports on criminal justice from November 2016. The conference brings together the Legal Experts Advisory Panel (LEAP), an EU-wide network of experts on criminal justice and human rights. The event is co-funded by the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Commission. (Contact: Jonas Grimheden).
Local and regional authorities which are members of the European Forum for Urban Security (EFUS) will meet in Vienna on 1 March to discuss an upcoming compendium of good practices to fight intolerance and hate crime. FRA will contribute to the discussion by building upon the expertise gathered from its project on joined-up governance which identified key tools for public authorities to support the implementation of fundamental rights. These tools are compiled into the online toolkit “Joining up fundamental rights” which FRA will present at the meeting. The toolkit provides practical ways for local, regional and national officials to better coordinate fundamental rights related policies, engage with the public and civil society or communicate on fundamental rights issues. This will be followed on 2-3 March by an EFUS Seminar on preventing and countering discriminatory violence at the local level, which will bring together representatives of local authorities, European institutions, civil society organisations and other experts to discuss local approaches and strategies to counter hate and intolerance and exchange examples of best practices. FRA will participate in a panel discussion on the challenges and priorities of countering discriminatory violence in Europe. (Contact: Geraldine Guille / Niraj Nathwani)
On 27 February the FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty will meet in Vienna with the Chair and Executive Director of the European Network of Equality Bodies (Equinet) and the Chair and Secretary General of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) for an exchange in regards to future institutional and thematic co-operation. FRA has established longstanding and regular collaboration with both, as well as with Equality Bodies and National Human Rights Institutions in all EU Member States. The main aim of this meeting will be to review these activities and to identify potential for increased cooperation, including measures enhancing capacity at national level. (Contact: Thomas Schwarz)
On 1 March, FRA will participate in a policy roundtable organised by the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU in the context of its asylum policy consultations in Brussels. The roundtable will focus on operationalising the best interests of the child principle in the Common European Asylum System reform. FRA will discuss the proposals for the revised Dublin and Eurodac Regulations in particular. (Contact: María Amor Martín Estébanez)
2. FEEDBACK FROM RECENT ACTIVITIES
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex (LGBTI) persons still face everyday discrimination, hatred and violence despite a number of positive developments in recent years, FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty told a conference on LGBTIQ equality in Malta on 23 February. The Director was speaking at the opening of the High Level Ministerial Conference on LGBTIQ Equality Mainstreaming in Malta, organised under the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU jointly with the Agency and Norway Grants/EEA. On the positive side, he recalled the drafting of the Yogyakarta Principles – an initially modest initiative which had become something remarkable in framing LGBTI equality issues as human rights issues. He also referred to developments on a global level, including the UN OHCHR report Living Free and Equal, which maps hundreds of good practices in tackling violence and discrimination against LGBTIQ persons and the recent appoint of an Independent Expert on LGBTI issues. However, he added, a sombre reminder on what remains to be done is clear when one looks at the large number of countries where being gay or lesbian carries the death penalty. In that context he announced that the issue of LGBTIQ asylum seekers will be the topic of a short report by the FRA in March. (Contact: Dennis van der Veur).
On 15-16 February, FRA participated as an observer in the joint meeting of the Council of Europe Drafting Group on Migration and Human Rights (CDDH-MIG) and the Committee of Experts on Administrative Detention of Migrants (CJ-DAM), organised by the CoE Chairmanship of Cyprus in Nicosia. The event also saw the 5th meeting of the CJ-DAM, which aims at codifying existing European rules and standards on administrative detention of migrants. The Agency has been taking part in the work of the CJ-DAM as an observer since autumn 2016. The 5th meeting of CJ-DAM examined two new parts of the draft codifying instrument (European Immigration Detention Rules), namely on vulnerable persons and other places of detention than closed centres. FRA actively and constructively participated in the discussions, providing EU fundamental rights input. The Agency’s oral contributions and suggestions were well received. A public consultation of the civil society and key stakeholders on the whole project will take place on 31 May – 1 June 2017 in Strasbourg, where FRA is invited to attend. (Contact: Tamas Molnar)
FRA met on 13-14 February with the representatives of the 28 agencies which will be responsible for implementing the Fundamental Rights Survey pilot in their respective countries in 2017. The meeting was organised in London by Ipsos MORI, which is FRA’s main contractor and coordinates the data collection activities across countries. The 28 national survey experts were briefed concerning the timeline of the pilot survey and their role in the implementation of the pilot data collection activities and documenting the outcomes. (Contact: Sami Nevala)
On 15-16 February, FRA contributed to the work of the newly-established Eurostat task force for developing a survey on gender-based violence, which met in Luxembourg. The members of the task force were interested in FRA’s work in this area, given that the Agency carried out the first EU-wide survey on gender-based violence and the survey’s relevance to political and legislative developments such as the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The task force will work in 2017-2019 to develop and pilot a survey questionnaire, which could be used by the national statistical institutes to collect comparable data on various forms of gender-based violence. (Contact: Sami Nevala).
FRA took part in a series of meetings on the phenomenon of shrinking civic space with a range of different organisations in Brussels on 16-17 February. Meetings took place with Norway Grants, the Human Rights and Democracy’s (HRDN) Working Group on Shrinking Civic Space, DG NEAR, and Equinet. FRA presented its ongoing and planned work on civic space, and sought input from the different stakeholders. The Agency is planning an expert meeting on civic space in early May. (Contact: Waltraud Heller)