- WHAT’S NEW
- a) For Roma by Roma: Local engagement in action
- b) Experts discuss support for civic space
- c) Exchange and networking between Latin America and Europe on the rule of law
- d) Building a people’s Europe – reflecting on state of the Union
- e) FRA seeks to strengthen relationships with academia
- f) FRA’s Scientific Committee meets
- FEEDBACK FROM RECENT ACTIVITIES
- a) Fundamental rights and the interoperability of EU information systems
- b) Enhancing rights awareness through the arts
- c) Experts on methodologies for recording and collecting hate crime data meet
- d) FRA trains Schengen evaluators on return issues
- e) Helping to define the UN OHCHR’s strategic direction
- f) Annual inclusive growth convention tackles investing in children
- g) Ensuring a rights perspective for migrant children
- h) Expert meeting focuses on cyberspace exploitation
- i) Workshop explores EU’s security policy
- j) Supporting civil society tackle hate speech online
Please find below the latest information.
- WHAT’S NEW
In the past many Roma inclusion efforts have failed to produce tangible results. To find out what works, what doesn’t and why, the Agency has been working with Roma communities and local authorities in 21 localities from 11 EU Member States. The case studies and supporting videos, which are now available, provide an insight into what can be done to promote Roma inclusion. (Contact: Sheena Keller)
- Experts discuss support for civic space
The Agency will host an expert meeting on supporting an enabling and protective space for civil society organisations in EU Member States in Vienna from 2 to 3 May. The meeting will bring together around 35 experts from NGOs, donors and funders, and international and EU institutions. The Agency will present preliminary findings from its recent data collection across the 28 EU Member States, and seek further information from participants about key issues. Existing responses in support of civil society space will be mapped. The Agency will use the meeting findings to plan its next steps. (Contact:Waltraud Heller)
- Exchange and networking between Latin America and Europe on the rule of law
Judges and academics from Latin America and Europe will meet at the European Inter-University Center for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) in Venice on 3 May for a conference on ensuring equal access to justice for all. The Agency’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty will speak at a panel with Roberto F. Caldas, President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; Paul Lemmens, Judge and official representative of the European Court of Human Rights and Hanna Suchocka, Honorary President of the Venice Commission – Council of Europe, and former Prime Minister of Poland. The FRA Director will also meet with the Secretary General of the EIUC to discuss the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding concluded between FRA and EIUC. (Contact: Andreas Accardo)
- Building a people’s Europe – reflecting on state of the Union
The Agency’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, will speak about rights and mass surveillance during the European University Institute’s State of the Union conference on 4 May in Florence. He will draw on findings from the Agency’s report on fundamental rights safeguards and remedies when it comes to the work of national intelligence authorities and surveillance in the EU. Now in its seventh year, this year’s event will revolve around the theme of European Citizenship. The conference is an annual event for high-level reflection on the European Union for policy makers, civil society representatives, business and opinion leaders, and academics. The Director will also meet the President of the European University Institute to discuss current and future avenues of cooperation. (Contact: Andreas Accardo).
- FRA seeks to strengthen relationships with academia
The Agency is hosting an Expert workshop on 4 May to discuss how to further extend the academic outreach of its work. Scientific Committee members, external experts and Agency staff will explore together the potential for strengthening the relationship between the Agency and the academic community. (Contact: Afsheen Siddiqi / Gabriel Toggenburg).
- FRA’s Scientific Committee meets
FRA’s Scientific Committee will hold its next meeting on 5 May at the Agency. The members will discuss the Agency’s reports and have an exchange on current FRA research activities as well as their research activities at national level. Furthermore, the members will have a discussion on the recent developments in asylum law. (Contact: Afsheen Siddiqi / Gabriel Toggenburg).
- FEEDBACK FROM RECENT ACTIVITIES
- Fundamental rights and the interoperability of EU information systems
The Agency’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, addressed the European Commission’s high-level expert group on information systems and interoperability in Brussels on 25 April. During his speech he underlined how interoperability is not intrinsically a fundamental rights violation. It requires adequate safeguards and mechanisms to ensure the rights set out in the EU’s Fundamental Rights Charter are upheld without exception for everyone entering and residing in the EU. In his speech he spoke of the potential advantages of interoperability such as helping to trace missing children or being able to draw on previous records for proof of identification. However, he also outlined the very real challenges it presents; these include guarding against access of personal data by criminals who find such data attractive or preventing the unlawful sharing of data with countries beyond the EU. He also made suggestions of how to avoid fundamental rights violations, outlined in a draft paper presented during the meeting. (Contact: Ann-Charlotte Nygård)
- Enhancing rights awareness through the arts
As part of the Agency’s efforts to explore how to raise awareness of human rights through the arts, the Director hosted a small gathering of experts from the worlds of arts and rights as well as Vienna-based diplomats at FRA on 28 April. It was an occasion to acknowledge how art can be a source of inspiration for the promotion and protection of human rights. It was also opportunity to thank the internationally-renowned Kerlin Gallery for its loan to FRA of important rights-related artwork. (Contact: Marialetizia Leonardo)
- Experts on methodologies for recording and collecting hate crime data meet
Experts gathered at the Agency on 26 April to discuss a draft paper on tackling hate crime. The draft paper is an overview of practices from across EU Member States and sets out core common elements for recording and collecting data on hate crime. The discussions will help the Agency finalise the paper before submitting it to the EU High Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance which next meets from 31 May to 1 June. The experts are part of Member State delegations of the High Level Group’s subgroup on methodologies for recording and collecting hate crime data that FRA coordinates. (Contact: Niraj Nathwani)
- FRA trains Schengen evaluators on return issues
The Agency contributed to a training session on return issues for Schengen evaluators on 25 April in Warsaw, Poland. The session was jointly organised by the European Commission and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex. The main issues covered were detention, non-refoulement, children in return procedures, procedural safeguards and entry bans. Representatives from EU Member States, Switzerland, Frontex and the European Commission took part in the session. (Contact: Michal Nespor).
- Helping to define the UN OHCHR’s strategic direction
The Agency presented methods to strengthen partnerships in order to achieve human rights change during the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ regional consultations for Europe and Central Asia in Brussels on 25 April. At these consultations, the Agency was asked to introduce discussions on the comparative and collaborative advantage of the UN OHCHR, together with the Head of the Council of Europe’s EU liaison office. Representatives from the European Commission, EU Agencies such as EASO and Frontex, the OSCE, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDP, Eurocities, the OSCE and the International Criminal Court also participated in the consultation. The regional consultations will lead to the adoption of an implementation programme up for the UN OHCHR up to the year 2021. (Contact: Maria Amor Martín Estébanez).
- Annual inclusive growth convention tackles investing in children
The Agency took part in the 2017 Convention for inclusive growth where the need for cooperation between policy areas to mainstream child rights was highlighted. The European Commission event took place in Brussels on 24 April. The event brought together EU institutions, social partners, civil society organisations and representatives of EU Member States. During the workshop on investing in children and breaking the cycle of disadvantage for a better future, an area the Agency is working on, the role of municipalities in tackling child poverty was highlighted and how fathers can help break the cycle of disadvantage. (Contact: Rosana Garciandia).
- Ensuring a rights perspective for migrant children
The Agency took part in a high-level meeting on Europe’s challenge to ensure a rights perspective for children in migration held at the Swedish Parliament on 24 April. Sweden has an inter-parliamentary group on children issues, and the Swedish Minister for Children, Elderly and Equality of Sweden participated in the event. The expert meeting was co-organised by the Swedish Ombusdperson for Children, the Parliament and the Children’s Welfare Foundation. The Agency contributed to a panel discussion on child rights challenges in the new Common European Asylum System (CEAS). During the meeting, the European Ombudspersons for Children Network (ENOC) adopted a statement urging the European institutions and EU Member States to ensure a child rights perspective in the development of the new CEAS. (Contact: Maria Amor Martín Estébanez)
- Expert meeting focuses on cyberspace exploitation
The Head of FRA’s Freedoms and Justice Department took part in an expert meeting in Lisbon from 20 to 21 April on the internet and the exploitation of cyberspace. The meeting was held under thre European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction’s chair of the network of EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Agencies. The Agency’s research on cyber-harassment, cyber-stalking and cyber-hatewas presented at the meeting, which served as a good platform to exchange information and knowledge about different Agencies’ work. The expert meeting was followed by a conference on the same theme, with external experts presenting their work and research in areas relating to criminal activity, as well as outlining possibilities for research to benefit from the exploitation of cyberspace. (Contact: Joanna Goodey)
- Workshop explores EU’s security policy
The European Commission has launched a series of activities aimed at assessing whether the existing and planned internal security EU measures are fit for purpose. As part of these, together with Europol, it held a workshop on 19 April in Brussels. The Agency joined representatives of EU Member States and other EU agencies to discuss issues related to organised crime, firearms, asset recovery and cybercrime. Overall there was clear support among Member States for ongoing work on encryption and data retention. The need for more specialised training of practitioners, proper implementation of existing legislation, and ensuring cooperation of key third countries and the public sector were also highlighted in discussions. (Contact: Michal Nespor)
- Supporting civil society tackle hate speech online
The Maltese Presidency of the EU Council held a conference in La Valletta on 7 April to discuss how to effectively deliver positive narratives to counter hate speech online. Organised in collaboration with the European Commission, it provided a platform for Member States, EU institution officials, national government experts, civil society activists, members of the media, IT companies and marketing experts to discuss and present projects and ideas. The Agency shared its data on hate crimes against migrants from its monthly migration overviews and discussed how to communicate fundamental rights in general effectively. This also covered who to involve and from what level of governance. (Contact: Vasco Malta).