information from FRA.
- WHAT’S NEW
Interoperability between information systems for borders and security can help border and law enforcement officials thanks to fast and easy access to information about non-EU nationals entering the EU. However, as a new FRA paper shows in addition to benefits, there are also fundamental rights risks. These include using data for some purpose other than the one were designed for, unlawful access to personal data, replicating incorrect data about a given person, and children being linked to immigration offences their parents committed.
- Presenting FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2017 at EU Council
On 13 July the Agency’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, will present the key findings of the Fundamental Rights Report 2017 at the Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizens’ Rights and Free Movement of Persons (FREMP), in the Council of the European Union. The findings of the report and its opinions will feed into the upcoming conclusions of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in 2016. (Contact: Michail Beis)
- Diplomatic conference looks at business and human rights
On 14 and 15 July, the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation on Lido (Venice, Italy) will focus its annual diplomatic conference on the right to remedy in relation to business and human rights, the theme of FRA’s April 2017 Opinion. The event will have strong participation from the diplomatic community of the EU and its Member States, in particular representatives from the European External Action Service and members of the EU’s Council working party on human rights (COHOM). (Contact: Jonas Grimheden)
- Child-friendly justice summary language versions now available
The summary of the Agency’s report on child-friendly justice giving the perspectives and experiences of both children and professionals is now available in official EU languages. The report, published in February 2017, explored to what extent children’s rights to be heard, to be informed, to be protected, and to non-discrimination are fulfilled in practice. The summary also contains various opinions from the Agency on how to make justice proceedings more child-friendly. (Contact: Astrid Podsiadlowski).
- FEEDBACK FROM RECENT ACTIVITIES
- Seminar looks at safe legal entry channels for migrants
The Agency presented options for safe legal entry channels for people in need of protection at a European Migration Network seminar that took place from 3 to 5 July in Bratislava. The presentation built mainly on the FRA focus paper on the topic. The seminar looked at the needs of forced migrants in the 21st century. It was organised by the Slovakian branch of the International Organisation for Migration who functions as the network’s national contact point there. (Contact: Ann-Charlotte Nygård)
The Agency visited the migration hotspot in Lampedusa from 27 to 29 July to assess fundamental rights and protection risks/gaps. It was also an opportunity to define possible targeted FRA activities relating to fundamental rights challenges at hotspots such as a workshop on child protection and/or other vulnerable people. While there it observed a disembarkation, and visited a search and rescue boat of the Guardia Costiera. It also met with Italian national authorities (Guardia Costiera and Polizia-Ufficio Migrazione), the hotspot managing authority/Red Cross and Misericordia, medical services/ psychologists, other frontline EU Agencies such as Frontex and EASO, the UNHCR and Save the Children. (Contacts: Adriano Silvestri /Massimo Toschi)
- Council of Europe discusses report on the rights of intersex people
The Agency spoke about findings from its LGBTI legal update during a hearing on the rights of intersex people. The hearing took place on 29 June in Strasbourg. It was organised by Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination. The hearing is helping to prepare a report on promoting the human rights of and eliminating discrimination against intersex people. It focused on questions of civil status, legal gender recognition, combating discrimination and public awareness-raising. (Contact: Maria Amor Martín Estébanez)
- FRA joins UN’s Special Procedures annual meeting
The Agency shared details on its work during a panel discussion with human rights representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian States and the African Union. The discussion took place during the annual meeting of the UN’s Special Procedures in Geneva on 29 June. FRA covered its work on Special Procedures with collection of extracts of published FRA reports, but also for UN Treaty Bodies and the Universal Periodic Review. (Contact: Jonas Grimheden)
- Exploring the plight of LGBTI refugees
On 28 June, the Agency and the then Maltese Presidency of the EU held a breakfast meeting to discuss the situation of LGBTI refugees. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Vienna-based diplomatic community, researchers, NGOs, representatives of the Austrian government and Vienna city as well as LGBTI refugees. The meeting aimed to raise awareness with a variety of Vienna-based stakeholders of the problems LGBTI people face. The Maltese Ambassador, H.E. Mr Keith Azzopardi, in his welcoming statement, emphasised that Malta made the issues of equality including for LGBTI people, a priority for the presidency. FRA’s Director presented the work of the Agency, particularly the findings of the reportCurrent migration situation in the EU: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex asylum seekers. Two refugees, one from Chechnya and one from Tajikistan, gave testimonies on their situation and the needs of LGBTI refugees in Europe. The NGO Queerbase presented its work and called for more action to protect LGBTI refugees. (Contact: Dennis Van Der Veur)
- Looking to the future of citizenship and human rights education
The Agency spoke at the Council of Europe’s conference on the future of human rights and education for democratic citizenship in Strasbourg on 22 June. During the panel on the role of international institutions in supporting progress towards common objectives on citizenship and human rights education, the discussions highlighted the strategic importance of human rights and citizenship education for advancing implementation of human rights. While in Strasbourg, FRA, the Council of Europe and ENNHRI met with NHRIs active in this area to identify concrete activities which could strengthen NHRIs at the national level in their role as fundamental and human rights promoters and as human rights educators. FRA also took part in the annual meeting of the International Contact Group on Citizenship and Human Rights Education, which brings together European Commission, the Council of Europe, OSCE/ ODIHR, UNESCO, UN OHCHR, Organisation of American States and newly UNODC and the OECD, to exchange information on each other’s activities and consider joint projects and cooperation. The next ICG meeting will take place in 2018, in Vienna, in the frame of the Fundamental Rights Forum 2018. (Contact: Eva Sobotka / Thomas Schwarz).
- Strengthening ties with Portugal
The Agency held a series of meetings in Lisbon from 20 to 23 June where it met with various national stakeholders to discuss future joint initiatives in raising awareness about fundamental rights and use of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Charter at the national level. Discussions were held with the Portuguese Ombudsman, the State Secretary for Equality and Citizenship & the High Commissioner for Migration. While in Lisbon, FRA also launched Portuguese versions of FRA’s legal handbooks on access to justice and on asylum, borders and immigration to 150 lawyers and legal practitioners. FRA presented both Handbooks and possibilities for application to the legal practitioners, including the FRA’s Charterpedia app. FRA also ran a workshop on the EU human rights infrastructure, European non-discrimination law and access to justice. The Portuguese branch of the European Anti-Poverty Network took part in the workshop. There was particular emphasis given to possible future cooperation in promoting awareness of the application of the Charter on Fundamental Rights by civil society at a national level. (Contact: Vasco Malta)