FRA weekly 18-25 March

  2. a)FRA Director to discuss antisemitism and the migration hotspots with European Parliament
  3. b)EU High Level Group to publish equality data guidelines and compendium
  4. c)High Level Group on combatting racism, xenophobia and intolerance plan next steps
  5. d)UN Regional Forum focuses on Sustainable Development
  6. e)Member States use of the EU Fundamental Rights Charter examined
  7. f)Identifying vulnerabilities in Spain
  8. g)Can the 2030 Agenda help combat anti-Gypsyism?
  9. h)Exploring the role of NGOs in the Council of Europe
  11. a)FRA attends Frontex Consultative Forum
  12. b)FRA suggests technological developments in call for UN treaty body reform

a.   FRA Director to discuss antisemitism and the migration hotspots with European Parliament

On 21 March in Brussels, FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty will discuss several key fundamental rights issues with the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee. He will exchange views with the Committee on antisemitism in Europe, drawing on the results of FRA’s second survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in the EU. He will also present the agency’supdate of its 2016 opinion on fundamental rights in the hotspots set up in Greece and Italy, which FRA prepared following a request from the European Parliament. In addition, members of the Committee will present the draft report of their mission to attend FRA’s Fundamental Rights Forum in Vienna in September 2018. (Contact: Dimitra Fellner)

b.   UN Regional Forum focuses on Sustainable Development

The agency will take part in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s Regional Forum on Sustainable Development from 21 to 22 March in Geneva. This Forum follows up on and reviews the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The meeting will bring together key stakeholders, including governmental national SDG Focal Points, international and regional organisations, civil society, academia and the private sector. The agency will play an active role by organising a side event ‘Leave no one behind: driving policies through data and a human rights-based approach’ jointly with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; the Danish Institute for Human Rights; the European Network of National Human Rights Institute and Equinet. The side event will focus on equality and non-discrimination and will look at ways of identifying and reaching those at risk of being left behind highlighting the importance of disaggregated data. It will take place on 22 March. FRA will also join a side event organised by the European Youth Forum on 21 March. This event will look at quantitative data on the challenges and opportunities youth are facing. (Contact:Massimo Toschi)

c.    EU High Level Group to publish equality data guidelines and compendium

From 20 to 21 March, the EU High Level Group on non-discrimination, equality and diversity (HLG) will gather in Brussels to discuss recent developments at the EU and national level. On 20 March, it will join two events organised by the European Parliament’s Anti- Racism and Diversity Intergroup as part of Roma week. One will be a session with EU Commissioner Vera Jourova and co-presidents of the Anti-Racism and Diversity, the LGBTI and the Disability Intergroup of the European Parliament on combatting racism and discrimination and a roundtable discussion on anti-Gypsyism. On 21 March at the HLG, FRA will speak about guidelines on improving the collection and use of equality data, a compendium of practices on equality data and a diagnostic mapping tool. These were produced by the HLG’s Equality Data Subgroup. FRA will also report on the recent country visit of the subgroup to the UK. The HLG will also discuss issues related to LGBTI people, including the Annual Report on the List of Actions to advance LGBTI equality, the rights of older people and the Commission Recommendation on standards for equality bodies. (Contact: Pablo Lopez-Pietsch)

d.   High Level Group on combatting racism, xenophobia and intolerance plan next steps

On 20 March, the High Level Group on combatting racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance will meet in Brussels. The meeting will focus on presentation of the European Commission’s staff-working document on ‘Countering racism and xenophobia in the EU: fostering a society where pluralism, tolerance and non-discrimination prevail’. The group will also cover the next steps of the group including planned activities, practical cooperation and information exchange at expert level. There will also be a presentation on the follow-up to the Council declaration on antisemitism. During the meeting, the European Commission will outline agency’s role regarding the upcoming expert working groups. A dedicated discussion in the afternoon in the European Parliament will review anti-racist measures that have been in place. (Contact: FRA hate crime)

e.   Member States use of the EU Fundamental Rights Charter examined

How do EU Member States use the EU’s Fundamental Rights Charter? This question will be analysed in detail during a conference at Oxford University from 22 to 23 March. High Court judges and legal experts from most Member States will exchange experiences, identify patterns and analyse the use of the Charter nationally. The conference will start off with the opening address by Koen Lenaerts, President of the Court of Justice of the EU. It will close with an outlook looking to future challenges. The conference is being organised by FRA, Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, the Institute of European and Comparative Law, and Oxford University. (Contact: Gabriel Toggenburg)

f.     Identifying vulnerabilities in Spain

The agency, together with the European Asylum Support Office and the UN Refugee Agency, is organising a workshop from 20 to 22 of March in Cadiz, a region with a very high number of migrants and asylum seekers arriving by sea. The session will aim at providing first line reception staff with practical tools to facilitate the identification of vulnerable groups, including victims of trafficking, unaccompanied children, or people seeking international protection. This is the first of a series of workshops planned for 2019 to be organised by the agency in reception facilities in the south of Spain.(Contact: Monica Gutierrez / Katarina Lughofer)

g.   Can the 2030 Agenda help combat anti-Gypsyism?

On 20 March, the agency will take part in a panel debate in the European Parliament on whether the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals can help combat anti-Gypsyism? The event is being hosted by MEP Cornelia Ernst and MEP Soraya Post, the European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network, Global Call to Action Against Poverty and SDG Watch Europe. It will cover the important linkages between inclusion of Roma, combatting anti-Gypsyism and the SDGs. The discussion will be part of the annual EU Roma Week in the European Parliament, where the ERGO Network will launch its new report ‘Roma Included: Can the SDGs contribute to combatting anti-Gypsyism’. (Contact: Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos)

h.   Exploring the role of NGOs in the Council of Europe

On 22 March, the agency will take part in the Warsaw Conference on the role and position of non-governmental organisations in the Council of Europe. The agency will present its Fundamental Rights Platform, which is its channel for cooperation and information exchange with civil society organisations active in the field of fundamental rights at the national, grassroots, European or international level. The event is being organised by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Council of Europe. While in Warsaw, the agency will also meet with Adam Bodnar, the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, to discuss the agency’s upcoming study on the situation of National Human Rights Institutions in the EU. (Contact: Andreas Accardo)



a.   FRA attends Frontex Consultative Forum

On 12 March in Warsaw, the agency attended the Frontex Consultative Forum meeting. The objective of the meeting was to zoom into emerging fundamental rights challenges, such as better child protection in Frontex operations and fundamental rights safeguards when cooperating with non-EU countries. The Frontex Consultative Forum has recently published its annual activity report, which will be presented in the European Parliament’s Civil liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) committee on 21 March 2019. (Contact: Aydan Iyigüngör)

b.   FRA suggests technological developments in call for UN treaty body reform

The agency responded to a call for input to a UN Secretary-General report on strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system. Its input drew on feedback from key experts participating in an meeting at the agency in Vienna from 7 to 8 February in relation to developing an online tool, which will draw together assessments by human rights mechanisms from the United Nations, Council of Europe and European Union. The input related to issues such as recommendations to be provided in machine readable format and greater harmonisation across mechanisms. (Contact: Jonas Grimheden)

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