FRA 25.06 – 3.07

  1. HIGHLIGHTS
  2. a)Better records to help support hate crime victims
  3. b)Let’s help ensure everyone enjoys their human rights
  4. WHAT’S COMING UP
  5. a)Countering racial and religious discrimination
  6. b)FRA joins high-level artificial intelligence expert group
  7. c)Expert meeting discusses monitoring and combatting antisemitism
  8. d)FRA facilitates second meeting of equality data subgroup
  9. e)International cooperation on tackling gender violence
  10. f)FRA takes part in Council Internal Security meeting
  11. g)National workshop on surveying hard-to-reach populations
  12. h)Lunch debate on the Sustainable Development Goals
  13. i)Civil society challenges examined at UN Human Rights Council
  14. j)Applying human rights indicators to Malta
  15. k)New language versions of FRA publications
  16. PAST ACTIVITIES
  17. a)Post-Brexit police and judicial cooperation under the spotlight
  18. b)Successes and challenges in protecting human rights as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70
  19. c)Introducing FRA’s big data research to legal and IT experts
  20. d)Eurodac and SIS II coordination groups meet
  21. e)Overview of effective return monitoring in Member States updated
  22. f)EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies meet in Vilnius
  23. g)FRA discusses Sustainable Development Goals with EU Council
  24. h)FRA offers strategic support to Greece on good governance
  25. i)German parliamentary committee visits FRA
  26. j)Developing population censuses post-2021
  27. HIGHLIGHTS

a.    Better records to help support hate crime victims

Better recording of hate crime across the EU will help Member States continue to fight this persistent problem. The Agency’s latest report provides compelling evidence of what Member States are already doing with tips on how they can improve. (Contact: Katerina Vyzvaldova)

b.    Let’s help ensure everyone enjoys their human rights

This year marks the 25 anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action for Human Rights. This landmark text paved the way for significant human rights advances. It helped spearhead the creation of new laws and human rights institutions offering stronger protection worldwide. On this anniversary, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the UN’s Human Rights Office calls on EU Member States to continue to stand up for the rights of everyone across Europe.

  1. WHAT’S COMING UP

a.    Countering racial and religious discrimination

As a result of the Agency’s outreach to funders and foundations, the Ariadne network invited the Agency to participate in a workshop on countering racial and religious discrimination. Ariadne is a European peer-to-peer network of almost 600 funders and philanthropists who support social change and human rights, linking those who use private funds for public good to funders and providing practical tools of support. FRA will present the results of its minorities and discrimination surveys and its antisemitism reports during a session entitled ‘An open and inclusive Europe? Evidence based insights on a multidimensional problem and what foundations can do about it?’. The workshop takes place in Brussels from 25 to 26 June. (Contact: Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos)

b.    FRA joins high-level artificial intelligence expert group

The Agency will join the European Commission’s high-level expert group on artificial intelligence. It comprises of 52 experts representing academia, civil society and industry. The group will interact with the European Alliance on Artificial Intelligence, which launched on 11 June. The first meeting will take place on 27 June in Brussels. (Contact: Joanna Goodey)

c.    Expert meeting discusses monitoring and combatting antisemitism

The AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights together with Dr Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, have convened an expert consultation on monitoring and combatting antisemitism. FRA will also take part in the event which takes place in Geneva on 28 June. It will bring together leaders on combatting antisemitism with key UN human rights experts including, the EU’s Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Rabbi Andrew Baker, the OSCE’s representative of the Chairperson-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism. The goal of this consultation it to encourage UN human rights mandate holders to devote appropriate attention to the issue of antisemitism in the future. (Contact: Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos)

d.   FRA facilitates second meeting of equality data subgroup

The Agency will facilitate the second meeting of the Subgroup on Equality Data set up by the High Level Group on Non-Discrimination, Equality and Diversity. The meeting takes place from 27 to 28 June in Brussels. The subgroup will discuss draft non-binding Guidelines on improving the collection and use of equality data. There will also be a specific session on challenges and ways forward regarding the collection of data related to LGBTI people. (Contact: Pablo López Pietsch)

e.    International cooperation on tackling gender violence

The Agency will present its violence against women survey model on 26 June in Paris at the event ‘Exchange on Euro-Latin American challenges to tackle gender violence’. The event is organised by Expertise France – a public agency for international cooperation – and is supported by the EU programme for social cohesion in Latin America (EUROsociAL+). The meeting will bring together governmental representatives from ministries promoting gender equality in the EU and in Latin American countries. FRA’s contribution will inform the discussions on the topic ‘data, surveys and indicators’. (Contact: Sami Nevala)

f.     FRA takes part in Council Internal Security meeting

Representatives of the Agency have been invited by the Austrian Presidency of the Council to attend the informal meeting of the EU Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI). The meeting will take place from 2 to 3 July in Vienna. The meeting will discuss enhanced cooperation on internal security, including strengthening police cooperation, external border protection, violent extremism and terrorism as well as antisemitism. (Contacts: Joanna Goodey / Michal Nespor).

g.   National workshop on surveying hard-to-reach populations

The Agency will discuss methods of conducting survey research with immigrants during a workshop in Warsaw on 27 June organised by the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights and OSCE/ODIHR. The workshop ‘Survey on the nature and scale of unreported hate crimes against members of selected communities in Poland’ will discuss the results of a recent survey carried out in Poland as a part of an ODIHR-led multi-country project ‘Building a Comprehensive Criminal Justice Response to Hate Crime’. FRA’s presentation will focus on survey methodologies developed in the Agency to collect data on hard-to-reach populations. (Contact:Sami Nevala)

h.   Lunch debate on the Sustainable Development Goals

The Social Platform is organising a lunch debate that aims at helping platform members get familiar with FRA’s work around the Sustainable Development Goals. It will also be an opportunity to discuss how Agenda2030 can reinforce legal obligations and help the Social Platform in the implementation of current EU initiatives, such as e.g. the European Pillar of Social Rights from a fundamental rights perspective. The debate takes place in Brussels on 25 June. (Contact: Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos)

i.     Civil society challenges examined at UN Human Rights Council

The UN’s Human Rights Office will present its report on best practices and challenges faced by civil society at a side event during a session of the UN Human Rights Council on 25 June in Geneva. The side event is being jointly organised by the Permanent Mission of Ireland, UN Women, the European Commission’s External Action Service and FRA. It will discuss the broader context of civil society space worldwide, based on the findings of the UN report and FRA’s report on ‘Challenges facing civil society organisations working on human rights in the EU’. The impact of these challenges on underrepresented parts of civil society, including women and girls, will also be discussed. The overall objective is to reinforce the importance of civil society engagement, and address the many obstacles and challenges which hinder civil society’s effective functioning. Promising practices and suggestions for ways forward will also be highlighted. (Contact: Waltraud Heller)

j.    Applying human rights indicators to Malta

The Agency will exchange views with the Platform Human Rights Organisations Malta on 25 June focusing on human rights indicators. FRA’s experience in developing and populating indicators in various fields will be shared with a view to contribute to Malta’s work on measuring human rights progress. (Contact: Jonas Grimheden)

k.    New language versions of FRA publications

FRA’s opinions on the main developments in the thematic areas covered in its Fundamental Rights Report 2018 are now available in 24 EU languages. This publication provides a compact but informative overview of the main fundamental rights challenges confronting the EU and its Member States. The focus chapter of the report, Shifting perceptions: towards a rights‑based approach to ageing, is now also available in French. (Contact: FRA – Editing & Production)

  1. PAST ACTIVITIES

l.     Post-Brexit police and judicial cooperation under the spotlight

The Agency hosted a joint event on 19 June with the European Commission on post-Brexit police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. Michel Barnier, European Commission’s Chief Negotiator for Article 50 Negotiations with the UK underlined the need to cooperate strongly with the UK but on a different basis, recognising the challenges that this will bring. He said as UK has decided to leave the EU, it will be a third country outside Schengen and outside the EU’s legal order. That said, looking to the future he sees four pillars for internal security partnership: effective exchange of information; operational cooperation between law enforcement authorities; judicial cooperation in criminal matters; and measures against money laundering and terrorist financing. Guy Verhofstadt, Brexit Coordinator for the European Parliament in closing underscored Barnier by saying that solutions were possible but they cannot be simply based on continuing as before. During the event, there was also a panel discussion on the issue of cooperation. It brought together high-level experts including FRA’s Director. (Contact: John Kellock)

m.  Successes and challenges in protecting human rights as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70

FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty delivered a keynote address at the Maynooth University’s Department of Law conference on 22 June. His speech reviewed the successes and challenges of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after 70 years. He spoke about the role of fundamental rights in European societies, and addressed challenges related to protecting these rights within the EU.

n.   Introducing FRA’s big data research to legal and IT experts

The EU’s Network and Information Security Agency, ENISA, held its Annual Privacy Forum in Barcelona from 13 to 14 June where FRA introduced its project on Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Fundamental Rights, as well as FRA’s focus paper on discrimination in data-supported decision making. The Forum brings together participants with IT and legal expertise, from different backgrounds such as academia, civil society, businesses and EU institutions. Participants discussed how technical innovations can contribute to better protection of privacy and personal data. The following day, FRA attended the Internet Privacy Engineering Network workshop organised by the European Data Protection Supervisor in Barcelona to discuss similar topics, focusing on innovative ideas developed by businesses and researchers. (Contact: Elise Lassus)

o.    Eurodac and SIS II coordination groups meet

The Agency took part in meetings of the Supervision Coordination Groups (SCG) for Eurodac and SIS II (Schengen Information System) from 12 to 13 June in Brussels. The groups are made up national data protection authorities. FRA had been invited to present the findings of its report ‘Under watchful eyes – biometrics, EU IT-systems and fundamental rights’. FRA focused on the right of access to, as well as correction and deletion of data stored in SIS II, and the right to information when data is collected for Eurodac. (Contact: Ann-Charlotte Nygård)

p.    Overview of effective return monitoring in Member States updated

The Agency has just published its annual overview of effective return monitoring across the EU. The overview reflects trends on staffing, qualifications of staff and the monitoring of return operations in its various phases. Since 2017, there is a decreasing tendency to monitor national return operations, whereas Frontex coordinated operations are increasingly monitored. The sustainability and stability of continuous monitoring remains a challenge in some Member States, where the monitoring is not anchored in an institution but covered via short term contracts with external providers. An increase of staffing and an increased qualification of monitors is another trend. (Contact: Adriano Silvestri)

q.   EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies meet in Vilnius

The second EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies network meeting this year took place from 20 to 21 June in Vilnius. It is currently chaired by EIGE, the European Gender Institute. At the meeting, the nine Agencies, including FRA, exchange information about activities of common interests, particularly in the field of migration and internal security. The number of activities in which the Agencies cooperate continues to increase. (Contact: Adriano Silvestri)

r.     FRA discusses Sustainable Development Goals with EU Council

On 14 June, the Agency discussed the fundamental rights dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals in the European Union at the EU Council’s Working Party on 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. FRA presented examples of relevant statistical data and other evidence it produces, for example on violence against women and discrimination of migrants and minorities. Such data could be used by the EU and its Member States in their voluntary reports on progress made in reaching SDGs. In 2019, FRA’s annual fundamental rights report will have a dedicated section on the Sustainable Development Goals. (Contact: Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos / Massimo Toschi)

s.    FRA offers strategic support to Greece on good governance

On 19 June, the Agency took part in a concept note drafting meeting of the Greek Good Governance Programme financed by the EEA and Norway Grants financing mechanism 2014-2021. One component of the programme concerns providing capacity building and support to the Greek Ombudsman, where FRA will be engaged as an international project partner. The meeting took place at the Financial Mechanism Office of the Grants in Brussels. Representatives of the Greek Ministry for Administrative Reconstruction, the Greek Ombudsman, General Secretariat against Corruption, the OECD and FRA also attended the meeting.  (Contact:Sheena Keller)

t.     German parliamentary committee visits FRA

On 21 June, members of the German Bundestag’s Committee on EU Affairs visited FRA to discuss the current situation in the area of asylum and migration in the EU. The discussions also focused on the challenges facing Roma communities throughout the EU, access to justice and deepening FRA’s cooperation with Member States.  (Contact: Robert-Jan Uhl)

u.   Developing population censuses post-2021

Eurostat’s task force charged with preparing the post-2021 population censuses met on 11 June in Luxembourg. The Agency took part and spoke about the data needed to assess outcomes for various population groups, as reflected in EU’s anti-discrimination legislation and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Eurostat proposes to collect population statistics annually from 2024 onwards, and to make these statistics available to users in a shorter time than is currently possible, to meet the need for up-to-date statistic, to supplement decennial census statistics. The task force will continue to assess which data needs can be met in the future, when more and more EU Member States move towards register-based census data collection, replacing the costlier and more time-consuming interviewer administered census data collection. (Contact: Sami Nevala)

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