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Contact Us

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About us

Rooted in civil society, EuroMed Rights seeks to develop and strengthen partnerships between NGOs in the Euro-Mediterranean region, advocate for human rights values and develop capacities in this regard.

Following the launch of the Barcelona Process in 1995, a group of human rights activists from both sides of the Mediterranean believed that they could make a positive impact on the human rights situation by creating a civil society network, linking up the Barcelona Process to Human Rights NGOs operating in the region.

In December 1997, a constitutive assembly established EuroMed Rights as genuine north-south network. The first Executive Committee composed of members from north and south Mediterranean countries, in equal measure, adopted EuroMed Rights first statutes and action plan.

In 2000, a new action plan was adopted and the Network multiplied its activities. 2004 saw the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights (EMHRF) which was set up to assist human rights defenders with flexible, small-scale grants. It also saw the adoption of Gender Mainstreaming as a comprehensive strategy to advance gender equality, to be implemented in all EuroMed Rights structures and activities. Since then, EuroMed Rights has regularly conducted gender audits.

Following the “Arab uprisings” in 2011, a new strategic plan was adopted, including a policy paper on Gender Equality highlighting the issue of gender equality in the global fight for human rights and to promote the adoption of measures supporting  women’s rights and gender equality. The General Assembly elected Michel Tubiana, Honorary President of the French Human Rights League as its new president. EuroMed Rights was one of the first international organisations to officially establish an office in Tunisia following the ousting of Ben Ali. The Tunisia Mission’s ambition is to assist its members and emerging civil society develop their work in a new Tunisia. Thus, EuroMed Rights has become a key partner for civil society capacity building across the country, facilitating dialogue between local civil society, government institutions. Having established its credibility on both sides of the Mediterranean, EuroMed Rights is now widely recognised as an key organisation for civil society and decision-makers alike.

Who we are

Rooted in civil society, EuroMed Rights seeks to develop and strengthen partnerships between NGOs in the Euro-Mediterranean region, advocate for human rights values and develop capacities in this regard.

Following the launch of the Barcelona Process in 1995, a group of human rights activists from both sides of the Mediterranean believed that they could make a positive impact on the human rights situation by creating a civil society network, linking up the Barcelona Process to Human Rights NGOs operating in the region.

In December 1997, a constitutive assembly established EuroMed Rights as genuine north-south network. The first Executive Committee composed of members from north and south Mediterranean countries, in equal measure, adopted EuroMed Rights first statutes and action plan.

In 2000, a new action plan was adopted and the Network multiplied its activities. 2004 saw the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights (EMHRF) which was set up to assist human rights defenders with flexible, small-scale grants. It also saw the adoption of Gender Mainstreaming as a comprehensive strategy to advance gender equality, to be implemented in all EuroMed Rights' structures and activities. Since then, EuroMed Rights has regularly conducted gender audits (gender audit 2008gender audit 2012 and gender audit 2015).

Following the “Arab uprisings” in 2011, a new strategic plan was adopted, including a Policy Paper on Gender Equality highlighting the issue of gender equality in the global fight for human rights and to promote the adoption of measures supporting women’s rights and gender equality.

The 2018 General Assembly Wadih Al-Asmar as its new president. EuroMed Rights was one of the first international organisations to officially establish an office in Tunisia following the ousting of Ben Ali. Now a Maghreb Office, the ambition is to assist members and emerging civil society develop their work in a new Tunisia and elswhere in the Maghreb. Thus, EuroMed Rights has become a key partner for civil society capacity building across the country, facilitating dialogue between local civil society, government institutions. Having established its credibility on both sides of the Mediterranean, EuroMed Rights is now widely recognised as a key organisation for civil society and decision-makers alike.

A network bridging two shores

EuroMed Rights, formerly the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), is a non-governmental organisation aiming to promote cooperation and dialogue in and between countries on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea.

EuroMed Rights is a network representing 80 human rights organisations, institutions and defenders in 30 countries. It was founded in 1997, following the 1995 Barcelona Declaration, by civil society organisations dedicated to promoting human rights and democracy within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

The main asset and value of the network resides in its regional character as well as its capacity to gather human rights defenders from the whole Euro-Mediterranean region. Whether they are located in the North or South of the Mediterranean, our members collaborate regularly and on an equal footing.

Our mission and objectives

EuroMed Rights’ mission is to promote and strengthen human rights and democratic reforms at regional and national levels. By creating network opportunities and encouraging civil society cooperation, EuroMed Rights aims to develop and strengthen the partnerships between NGOs located within the Euro-Mediterranean area, to spread and promote human rights values and to increase members’ capacities to reach these objectives.

As a regional human rights network, EuroMed Rights is a major source of knowledge and concrete initiatives regarding human rights and democratic reforms in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Mobilising around specific themesManaging country programmes
EuroMed rights focuses its work around the following themes:
- Shrinking space for civil society
- Women’s rights and gender justice
- Migration and asylum
- Social and economic rights
- Justice and the rule of law
The network currently manages programmes covering seven countries:
- Morocco
- Algeria
- Tunisia
- Egypt
- Occupied Palestinian Territory/Israel
- Turkey

The network strives to support and protect human rights defenders, in particular its members and their work when they are threatened.

How we work

To implement its mission, EuroMed Rights sets up thematic working groups and solidarity groups. Twice a year, these groups exchange information and expertise within their respective fields, formulate policy recommendations, network and ensure the effective implementation of EuroMed Rights’ strategy and agenda. Each working group has a gender focal point tasked with ensuring gender mainstreaming in all activities. Working and solidarity groups can be ad hoc or permanent.

Currently, EuroMed Rights has permanent working groups on:

Executive Committee

The General Assembly is the supreme body of EuroMed Rights; it meets every three years and elects the Executive Committee.

The 2018-2021 Executive Committee is composed of:

Our donors

EuroMed Rights fundraising strategy is articulated around three general principles; ensuring the network’s independence; minimising our donor dependence and guaranteeing our financial sustainability.

EuroMed Rights would like to acknowledge and thank the following donors for their financial support:

Countries

EuroMed Rights' geographical mandate covers the entire Euro-Mediterranean region, spreading over more than 30 countries (see our interactive map).

Because legislative measures and state practices are mostly felt by ordinary citizens and residents in their respective countries, EuroMed Rights also works more at national level, and prioritises issues of concern in its regional focus areas.

EuroMed Rights integrates its regional thematic work at national level and vice versa, creating a two-way flow between EuroMed Rights regional and national work. This also helps the network to provide a diversified response to human rights issues in each of its mandate countries and priorities.

Themes

EuroMed Rights main strength and added value lie in its regional character and its capacity to bring together human rights defenders across the Euro-Mediterranean region. Regional thematic activities are thus the point of departure for EuroMed Rights' work.

These activities are defined by a Strategy Paper that EuroMed Rights adopted at its last General Assembly .

It is important to stress that EuroMed Rights, on top of its thematic activities, will always seek to be present to defend its members and their work when they are at risk, as well as human rights defenders in general, including women rights, when they come under attack.

For 2012-18, our main focus areas are:

Jobs

Employment

All vacancies at EuroMed Rights, be it for employment or internship, are published on our website (and other relevant job search websites if relevant) and filled via transparent recruitment procedures. All potential applicants are encouraged to visit EuroMed Rights website on a regular basis and to submit an application for a specific vacancy if interested, following the application guidelines mentioned in each application package.

 

Equal opportunity employer

EuroMed Rights prides itself on its dedicated and diverse staff committed to the promotion and respect of human rights in the region. Aware of the importance of satisfaction and fulfillment of its employees, EuroMed Rights strives to provide them with productive and attractive working conditions.

EuroMed Rights is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in its hiring practices on any basis. We are committed to the creation and strengthening of both a working environment and a corporate culture that respects gender parity, equal representation at all levels of decision making, equal opportunity, as well as equal distribution of resources for women and men according to their respective duties within EuroMed Rights

Our Members introduction

our members

EuroMed Rights is a forum and a pool of expertise for human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and activists in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

The organisation encourages networking and fosters cooperation and development of partnerships between its members, and devises capacity building in advocacy and communication.

EuroMed Rights builds its members’ capacities in order to:

  • Better understand local contexts, European mechanisms and human rights instruments;
  • Influence governmental and inter-governmental stakeholders more effectively by participating in regional policy processes and debates;
  • Contribute further to the reform process in the South of the Mediterranean by strengthening and providing input into the democratisation processes;
  • Increase members’ outreach in conveying human rights values and principles, including in the media and on social media platforms.

EuroMed Rights provides members with:

  • International/regional support to their work within EuroMed Rights’ key areas;
  • Facilitated access to human rights NGOs in 30 countries on both sides of the Mediterranean;
  • A broader platform to promote their work to regional and international audiences;
  • Training sessions and opportunities to build their capacities;
  • Increased protection when members or their work are at risk.

Campaign

EuroMed Rights is at the forefront of campaigning for the respect for human rights issues in the region. Since its creation, the Network has launched and participated in many campaigns.

Frontexit

Frontexit is an international campaign for the defence of migrants' human rights at the external borders of the European Union. The campaign reports and denounces the impacts of Frontex operations in terms of human rights.
www.frontexit.org/

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, EuroMed Rights takes stock of the situation of women in Euro-Mediterranean region, and lament the sharp increase in gender-based violence and the widespread impunity. Throughout the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence that follow, EuroMed Rights regularly updates this page with factsheets, activities and statements, including those of its members, to shed light on the bleak situation for women in the region.

Free Syrian Voices

This campaign sheds light on the plight of Syrian civil society activists including human rights defenders, media and humanitarian workers who have been targeted for their work or peaceful activism.
www.free-syrian-voices.org/

Become a member

Being a EuroMed Rights member means being part of a regional human rights forum that is a major source of knowledge and action on human rights and democratic reform in the Euro-Mediterranean region. It also means that your organisation supports the Network and its activities. It furthermore gives your organisation the opportunity to participate in the General Assembly meetings and receive invitations for activities organised by the EMHRN.

Membership applications that we receive undergo an initial review by the Executive Committee of EuroMed Rights (EC). The EC recommends new members to the EuroMed Rights General Assembly that alone retains the prerogative to accept a new member.

Individuals who have provided outstanding contribution and sat in the political bodies of EuroMed Rights (namely the EC) are granted formal recognition as honorary members.

If your organisation wishes to apply for membership, you should provide Rasmus Alenius Boserup from the EuroMed Rights Secretariat with the following documents: 

Regular or Associate Membership:

  • A letter of motivation
  • A copy of your organisation’s Statutes;
  • A declaration stating that your organisation accepts and complies with EuroMed RightsStatutes ;
  • A letter of recommendation signed by at least two Regular members of EuroMed Rights
  • Material related to the activities of your organisation, including how you work to promote gender equality within your organisation and its activities.

For more information, please refer to our statutes.

We recommend that you also send us the following documents to give our Executive Committee a complete picture of your organisation and its activities, including:

  • Narrative Report of main fields of activities over the past two years (max. 2 pages)
  • List of members of board (including when they were elected)
  • List of publications (past 2 years)
  • List of meetings/ seminars/ conferences/ events (past 2 years)
  • Latest Annual activity Report (if available, if not please indicate why)
  • Latest Financial Report (if available, if not please indicate why)
  • Gender equality policy or strategy (if available)

For more information please contact Rasmus Alenius Boserup.

 

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Members Releases

EMHRN Brings Over Hundred Activists to its General Assembly in Brussels

EMHRN held its 10th General Assembly as the ever-volatile Euro-Med region is rocked by escalating conflicts, deaths at sea, radicalisation of its disenchanted youth, refugee and displacement crisis and mounting crackdown on dissent and peaceful protests. 

This context makes the Network’s mission and work as relevant as ever. The EMHRN is one of few regional organisations bringing human rights activists and civil society activists on both sides of the Mediterranean together.

The General Assembly has re-elected Michel Tubiana as president and a new Executive Committee (see below for full list). The GA has admitted new members and taken stock of the past three years and adopted political priorities to face difficulties ahead.

Reflecting on its current concerns and priorities, the General Assembly has also run three workshops: “Multiple Borders: Deaths, Encounters and Access to Rights,” “Human Rights and the Militarisation of Politics in South of the Mediterranean” and “ENP Revision: Human Rights First”.

Read our general resolution here

See the photo gallery here

 

 

Call for representation

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EC Member Osman Isci Speaks on Ankara Attacks (13/10/2015)

[caption id="attachment_4333" align="alignnone" width="599"]Osman Isçi (IHD, Turkey) interviewed by EuroMed Rights on 13/10/2015 Osman Isçi (IHD, Turkey) interviewed by EuroMed Rights on 13/10/2015[/caption]

[audio mp3="https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/intw-Osman-ISCI-ANKARA-ATTACKS-web.mp3"][/audio]

Human Rights Behind Bars in Egypt

Privacy Policy

https://euromedrights.org/egypt-human-rights-behind-bars/

Please read this policy carefully to understand how we collect, use and process your personal data.

 

Acceptance of our Terms

This website, including all information and materials contained in it, is managed by EuroMed Rights, who is committed to ensuring the privacy of all our users. This Privacy Policy governs all pages on the EuroMed Rights website. It does not apply to pages hosted by other organisations, related organisations or third party sites. The EuroMed Rights website may be linked to the websites of such other parties, but those other sites may have their own privacy policies which apply to them.

By visiting this website and/or using any of the services or information created, collected, compiled or submitted to EuroMed Rights, you consent to the following Terms. If you do not want to be bound by our Terms, your only option is not to visit, view or otherwise use the services of EuroMed Rights. You understand, agree and acknowledge that these Terms constitute a legally binding agreement between you and EuroMed Rights and that your use of the EuroMed Rights website shall indicate your conclusive acceptance of this agreement.

What type of information do we collect and store?

The type and amount of information we receive and store depends on how you use the EuroMed Rights website. You can access most of the pages on the EuroMed Rights without telling us who you are and without revealing any personal information.

We do not collect personal information (such as your name, address, phone number or e-mail address) on the EuroMed Rights Website unless you choose to provide it. For example, where you show your support by sending us a picture, sign a petition or subscribe to our email updates.

Your personal information will be retained by EuroMed Rights in a secure environment, kept confidential and will only be used in connection with the purposes for which it is submitted. It will not be sold or rented nor will it be shared with third parties. However the transmission of information over the internet is never completely secure, so while we do our best to protect personal information, we cannot guarantee the security of information transmitted to our website.

Access to your personal information

You may have rights of access to personal information that we hold about you, to correct that information or, in some circumstances, to object to our processing of your information, under data privacy law. If you wish to exercise any of these rights or have any questions about this policy, please contact us via email at information@euromedrights.net.

Proprietary Rights

You acknowledge and agree that EuroMed Rights may contain proprietary and confidential information including trademarks, service marks and patents protected by intellectual property laws. Our content may not be sold, reproduced, or distributed without our written permission. Any third-party trademarks, service marks and logos are the property of their respective owners. Any further rights not specifically granted herein are reserved.

Submitted Content

When you submit content to EuroMed Rights you simultaneously grant EuroMed Rights an irrevocable, worldwide, royalty free license to publish, display, modify, distribute and syndicate your content worldwide. You confirm and warrant that you have the required authority to grant the above license to EuroMed Rights.

Disclaimer of warranties

You understand and agree that your use of EuroMed Rights is entirely at your own risk and that this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, EuroMed Rights does not warrant that:

  • this website will be constantly available, or available at all; or
  • the information on this website is complete, true, accurate or non-misleading.

Nothing on this website constitutes, or is meant to constitute, advice of any kind. If you require advice in relation to any legal matter, you should consult an appropriate professional.

Limitations of liability

You understand and agree that EuroMed Rights will in no event be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, or exemplary damages. These limitations of liability apply whether EuroMed Rights has been or should have been expressly advised of the potential loss.

As EuroMed Rights has an interest in limiting the personal liability of its officers and employees, you agree that you will not bring any claim personally against EuroMed Rights officers or employees in respect of any losses you suffer in connection with the website. Without prejudice to the foregoing paragraph, you agree that the limitations of warranties and liability set out in this website disclaimer will protect EuroMed Rights employees, agents, subsidiaries, successors, assigns and sub-contractors as well as EuroMed Rights.

External Content

EuroMed Rights may include hyperlinks to third-party content, advertising or websites. You acknowledge and agree that EuroMed Rights is not responsible for their content and does not endorse any advertising, products or resource available from such resources or websites. Tweets sent by any account other than @EMHRN with the hashtag #DetainNoMore do not imply in any way endorsement or agreement on behalf of EuroMed Rights.

Jurisdiction

You expressly understand and agree to submit to the personal and exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of the country determined solely by EuroMed Rights to resolve any legal matter arising from this agreement or related to your use of EuroMed Rights. If the court of law having jurisdiction rules that any provision of the agreement is invalid, then that provision will be removed from the Terms and the remaining Terms will continue to be valid.

Trials of Spring projection at One World Festival

On 22 April, the movie Trials of Spring was projected at the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU in cooperation with EuroMed Rights as part of the One World Festival 2016.

The projection was followed by a debate on the situation of women in Egypt and other Mediterranean countries. The panel included Nawla Darwiche, New Woman Fondation, Egypt and Kholoud Saber Barakat, formerly AFTE, and was moderated by Hayet Zeghiche, EuroMed Rights Communication Director.

 

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EuroMed Rights

Why Turkey is not a Safe Country

READ THE REPORT – “Turkey, Human Rights Under Curfew”

Analyse the Turkey factsheet

CoveR-TURKEY-ENWhile European institutions discuss the possibility of including Turkey in a European list of “safe” countries of origin, AEDH, EuroMed Rights, FIDH and LDH warns against the silence of the European Union and its Member States faced with the severe rights violations perpetrated by Turkish authorities.

In light of this and of the authoritarian drift of the AKP government as well as the climate surrounding Turkey’s general election of 1st November 2015 and the lack of adequate reaction from the international community, our organisations agreed on the importance to send a joint high-level mission to the country. The delegation aimed to show solidarity with human rights defenders and civil society activists and organizations under pressure and with victims of human rights violations and their families, and to contribute to drawing international attention to the situation in Turkey.

The delegation met with a large number of civil society activists, human rights defenders and victims and witnesses of human rights violations. The mission also aimed at gathering information to prepare advocacy activities at the international (United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) level.

In parallel, our organisations have edited a factsheet on Turkey, highlighting clearly whyTurkey is not the "safe country" EU claims to be.

Test home

Home Back Up

Violence Against Women is not Fate

Interactive Guide – EU Advocacy ▶️

Many human rights NGOs and individuals have steadily reported how obscure and sometimes elusive the European Union (EU) is, making advocacy towards its institutions a very challenging exercise.

In a bid to help them navigate through the EU institutional maze, EuroMed Rights has developed a web-based version of its training guide on influencing EU relations with the Southern Mediterranean countries.

This interactive guide aims to ease up the understanding of the EU and help NGOs devise efficient advocacy strategies to champion their cause, by identifying the right targets and instruments.

In the first part, the main EU institutions and bodies, their competencies and the actions they can take on human rights are decrypted. As EU foreign policy is still very much driven by the Member States, their role is also specifically underlined.

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The second part focuses on global EU human rights policies and tools at global, regional and bilateral levels. The Euro-Mediterranean partnership as well as the EU’s bilateral relations with Southern Mediterranean countries are described in detail.

The third part provides guidance on how to devise and implement an effective advocacy roadmap towards the EU, with practical tips and good practices.

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We hope that this website will allow you to strengthen your advocacy skills, and ultimately promote and enhance human rights standards throughout the Euro-Mediterranean region and beyond.

EuroMed Rights

Step 1: The European Union ▶️

The European Union (EU) was set up to maintain peace and democracy, and improve cooperation between European countries. It is a unique economic and political union gathering 28 countries (27 in 2019 after the Brexit). Together they shape and adopt common legislation and policies, including to “promote human rights both internally and around the world.”

Originally conceived as an economic and trade entity, the EU has become a stronger political actor over the years. The adoption in 1993 of the “Common Foreign and Security Policy” illustrates this trend. Yet, foreign policy is still very much dominated by Member State governments and their agendas. When it comes to advocacy on foreign policy and human rights, Member States should be among your priority targets.

At EU level, the following bodies can make a difference if they are receptive to your recommendations:

  • The European Council and the Council of the European Union, both representing the interests of the Member States;
  • The European Commission representing the interest of the Union as a whole;
  • The European External Action Service (EEAS) as the EU diplomatic body; and finally,
  • The European Parliament, representing the EU citizens.

Let’s dig into their respective profiles…

The European Council

The European Council represents the highest level of political cooperation between EU countries. It gathers the Heads of state or government of the Member States, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The EUCO is chaired by a President, appointed by the Heads of state or government for a once-renewable two-and-a-half-year term. He/She coordinates and oversees the work of the European Council.

It is the EUCO that decides on the EU’s overall direction and political priorities. It also sets EU’s common foreign and security policy.

The EU Member States

Member States are still very influent in shaping EU foreign policy; they decide by consensus or unanimity. It is therefore crucial to understand their political positions to be influential at their level.

Some Member States are particularly involved in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), considering their historical legacy, geographical proximity, political, economic and cultural ties. Yet this can also hamper them to take firm positions on human rights.

EU member States

Member States are present in Brussels through their ambassador-level Permanent representatives and their country’s Permanent Representation.

But the national scene may also be relevant to influence the Member States. For instance, national parliamentarians interested in foreign affairs may turn out to be key interlocutors to promote their country’s human rights policies towards the South Mediterranean region.

In the field

Another window of opportunity are the EU Member State embassies and consulates in non-EU countries. Through them, Member States advance their own interests abroad, following their political agendas. On the other hand, EU embassies must act in accordance with the binding common positions of the EU and are expected to implement EU’s policies.

The Council of the European Union

The Council of the EU is the institution where all the EU Member States' governments are represented.

In ten different configurations, national ministers from all Member States meet to coordinate policies. The most relevant configuration when it comes to promoting human rights in the world is the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) where foreign ministers of the Member States discuss with a view to adopting a common line on EU's external action.

Chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, the FAC takes positions on human rights violations in non-EU countries and agrees on measures the EU should take.

In the FAC, decisions are taken by consensus or unanimity and not by majority voting, which means one Member State can block EU action, watering down EU positions.

The Political and Security Committee (PSC) prepares the work of the FAC. Composed of the Member State Ambassadors to the EU, chaired by the European External Action Service (EEAS), the PSC provides coordination and expertise in foreign policy. It is supported by several geographic and thematic working groups, notably the Maghreb/Mashreq Working Party (MAMA).

Those working parties prepare EU’s positions relating to their mandates and deal with bilateral relations with non-EU countries.

Another relevant Working Party is COHOM, which deals with Human Rights in foreign policy. Responsible for shaping EU’s positions and policies in that area, COHOM monitors the implementation of related instruments.

The Council of the European Union should not be confused with the Council of Europe.

Composed of 47 European member countries, the Council of Europe promotes common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights. If it works in close cooperation with the EU, it is not institutionally linked to it.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP) represents the EU externally. As the EU's chief diplomat, the HR/VP chairs the Foreign Affairs Council, coordinates and carries out the EU foreign and security policy. He/she regularly visits non-EU countries to discuss their relationship with the EU.

Expressing publicly the voice of the EU on EU foreign policy issues, she is also in charge of promoting and protecting human rights externally.

In 2012, the Foreign Affairs Council appointed an EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Human Rights to support the HR/VP’s work in that field. There is also an EUSR for the Middle East Peace Process.

The European External Action Service

Established in 2010, the European External Action Service (EEAS) – based in Brussels - is the diplomatic service of the EU.

Divided into geographical directorates, including on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), it also includes a thematic directorate on human rights, global and multilateral issues.

To support the work of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP), the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) and its working parties, the EEAS prepares policy positions, drafts agendas ahead of bilateral and multilateral meetings, as well as reports and statements.

In the field

In non-EU countries, the EU delegations are the first point of contact for local NGOs. They represent valuable advocacy targets and play a key role in the development and implementation of EU human rights policies.

Usually divided into a political and an operations section, the EU delegations act on behalf of the EU, conduct political dialogue and issue statements. In each delegation, a focal point on human rights is appointed.

The delegations are expected to consult regularly local NGOs, gathering their inputs ahead of human rights sub-committee meetings and debriefing them afterwards.

The Head of the EU Delegation and Member State Ambassadors, collectively known as the Heads of Mission, meet regularly to coordinate policy.

 

The European Commission

The European Commission is the executive body of the EU. It consists of a college of commissioners. The President of the European Commission is appointed by the European Council. In turn, he/she appoints other Commissioners for a five-year term. All appointments must be approved by the European Parliament.

The European Commission proposes and enforces legislation, sets objectives and priorities for EU action, manages and implements EU policies and the EU budget. In certain policy areas, it also represents the EU externally, notably on migration and trade issues.

For issues related to Southern Mediterranean countries, one of the most relevant Commissioners is the one responsible for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, supported by a Directorate General called DG NEAR. Another one is the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, supported by the DG for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), in charge of negotiating bilateral agreements such as those dealing with readmission of irregular migrants.

What about funding?

At the European Commission, the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) manages the funding provided to the countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), including a Civil Society Facility created in 2011 to support civil society organisations.

The Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) administers thematic funds as well as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), a fund specifically directed toward human rights NGOs and civil society without government approval or intervention. Grants are allocated through global calls for proposals announced on the DG DEVCO website or through EU delegation. Each delegation further disposes of an emergency fund for human rights defenders at risk.

The European Parliament

The European Parliament (EP) represents the citizens of the EU, being the only directly elected institution of the EU. It plays a major role in monitoring EU policies and in making recommendations to the Council of the EU and the European External Action Service (EEAS). Although it is the most active on human rights and supportive of civil society, it has little formal power or influence over EU foreign policy.

The 751 Members of the EP (MEPs) serve five-year terms. According to the size of its population, each Member State is allocated a certain number of seats. Once elected, MEPs elect a President that represents the institution externally and vis-à-vis others EU institutions.

On human rights issues, it is through parliamentary questions to the Council, Commission or EEAS that individual MEPs can publicise a situation and express concern. They can also recommend specific actions. Then, during the EP plenary, general resolutions pertaining to human rights, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Mediterranean region may be adopted as well as human rights urgency resolutions. Although not binding for other EU institutions, resolutions may call for action. Moreover, the EP issues an annual report on human rights and democracy in the world.

The EP organises its work through 20 parliamentary committees.

The committees relevant to human rights in the MENA region are:

  • the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET),
  • the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) - holding hearings, with NGO experts or representatives of civil society frequently invited, and adopting reports about country-specific or thematic human rights issues,
  • the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM), and finally
  • the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

There are also 41 parliamentary delegations that maintain relations with parliaments in non-EU countries. The EP also has the capacity to send election observation missions.

The European Economic and Social Committee

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is a consultative body that gathers representatives of EU-based employers’ organisations, trade unions and civil society organisations. It adopts non-binding opinions. The EESC has an Euromed follow-up committee that focuses on the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Step 2: EU instruments and policies ▶️

The EU makes numerous commitments and references to human rights within its foreign policy, both at the global and regional levels; it has developed several policy and funding instruments.

EU global human rights commitments

Presentation of the commitments of the EU in terms of Human Rights Commitments

The Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy

The objectives of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) includes the development and consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Recently, in 2012, the EU released a Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy that establishes some mechanisms and instruments supporting the implementation of its human rights goals.

EU Human Rights Action Plan

EU’s five-year Action Plan on Human Rights lays out specific tasks for various EU institutions and bodies to undertake. The progress towards implementing the Action Plan is evaluated annually in a public report on human rights and democracy around the world.

EU Human Rights Guidelines

The EU has adopted a series of guidelines that aim to provide a practical toolkit for actions to be taken by EU delegations and Member State embassies on key human rights issues. Those guidelines have been agreed upon at the ministerial level.

Examples of guidelines:

  • Human rights dialogue with third countries
  • Human rights defenders
  • Violence against women and girls
  • Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • International humanitarian law

EU Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategies

The human rights and democracy country strategies are developed by the EU delegations based on an analysis of the human rights situation in the country. The strategies identify priorities for EU action, for a three to five-year period. They are endorsed by all the EU Member States.

The priorities are to be taken into consideration in human rights and political dialogues at all levels. While these strategies are in principle confidential, the EU delegations can share the priorities on their website, or at least verbally with civil society.

EU Country Roadmaps for Engagement with Civil Society

The Country Roadmaps for Engagement with Civil Society were introduced to improve the consistency of EU cooperation with civil society and to promote better coordination between EU delegations, Member States and other relevant actors. They assess the state of civil society in a given country as well as the EU’s current engagement with it.

Those Roadmaps are drafted jointly by the EU delegations and Member State embassies, with input from local civil society.

EU commitments in its policy towards the Southern Mediterranean

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and Union for the Mediterranean

In November 1995, adopting the Barcelona Declaration, the then 15 EU Member States and 12 Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries launched the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP). This process aimed at achieving a common area of peace and stability underpinned by sustainable development, rule of law, democracy and human rights.

In 2008, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership was replaced by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). Yet this multilateral partnership has become stagnant due to the conflicts in the region. At the moment, the UfM deals mainly with promoting regional economic and infrastructure projects.

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership/ UfM has also held three ministerial conferences on strengthening the role of women in society and made commitments to working towards ensuring gender equality.

The European Neighbourhood Policy

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), launched in 2004, is a bilateral mechanism regulating the EU’s relationship with two regionally-defined areas: South and East. It has become the main foreign policy instrument guiding EU external action towards its neighbouring countries

The ENP-South is built on legally binding Association Agreements. On top of them, non-binding Partnerships Priorities have been mutually agreed following the ENP review published in November 2015. The stated priorities are: stabilisation and security, economic development and migration management. Human rights are at the margin.

EU commitments in bilateral relations with Southern neighbourhood countries

Bilateral Association Agreements have been signed between the EU and a number of the Southern Mediterranean countries.

These agreements are legally binding to both sides. Those agreements contain a clause allowing for the suspension of signatory countries or the introduction of sanctions in the case of a violation of democratic principles or human right. Despite occasional calls from the European Parliament or civil society, this clause has not been invoked with regard to any of the Southern Mediterranean partners to date.

Some countries have been granted an advanced status to entail closer political relations and increase EU financial support. Currently it is the case of Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan.

Joint structures between the EU and its partners implementing the Association Agreements

  • Association Council: Ministerial-level meeting that usually takes place once a year. The EU is represented by the High Representative for foreign affairs or the European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner, and the Southern partner by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  • Association Committee: An annual meeting of high-level public servants/ senior officials. Prepares the Association Council and discusses mainly technical cooperation.
  • Sub-committees: Technical sub-committees covering various areas of co-operation. These meetings happen once a year at the civil servant level of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the relevant ministries of the partner country. There are specific human rights sub-committee meetings.

The EEAS organises consultation meetings with NGOs in Brussels and on the ground. It is expected to debrief them systematically.

Step 3: Design an Effective EU Advocacy Roadmap ▶️

This part will help you develop an advocacy roadmap.

First, what does “advocacy” mean?

This word stands for a process of deliberate, planned and sustained efforts to advance an agenda for change. Different stages should be considered in your advocacy planning and implementation process to ensure success.

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How to develop an advocacy roadmap?

advocacy roadmap

1. Identify the advocacy issue

You need to be specific in identifying the advocacy issue. It is essential to have a good understanding of the challenge you want to address and a clear idea of how it could be solved.

2. Set long, medium and short-term objectives

An advocacy strategy may have various objectives in the short, medium, and long terms. Define them with precision to get them thorough.

Define what kind of action you want the EU to take, depending on the issue, its seriousness and extent. Therefore, give priority to the measures that are most appropriate for a given situation.

3. Identify the right targets

It is crucial to identify policy and decision-makers who have the power to introduce the policy changes you propose. Ask yourself: what are the best targets for my efforts, who has the greatest influence? Who are our existing contacts? Which are the ones the most/less sympathetic to my cause?

Identify and be in regular contact with allies within the EU missions in your country and, if possible, in Brussels as well as in Member State capitals.

4. Define key messages

Clear requests or recommendations should be developed, for a limited number of key actions, to achieve specific, concrete and realistic objectives. Prioritisation is key.

Tailor your message to your target audience and situation. Prepare different kinds of input depending on the type of meeting, and refer to relevant EU or Member State policies confronting your interlocutors with their own commitments.

5. Consider partnerships and networks

Working in coalition with like-minded organisations can bring added value since it bears the potential to increase the pressure on advocacy targets. However, keep in mind that this can also slow down the internal decision-making process.

Partnerships may be particularly strategic when trying to influence individual EU Member States.

6. Develop a timely action plan

Timing is crucial for achieving results. Link your issue to a topic that is already high on the agenda and/or that is receiving attention from the media or general public.

Keep regular contact with the EU delegation in your country to identify its upcoming agenda and priorities.

7. Monitor and evaluate

Take time to discuss the chosen strategy and its outcomes. Assess what has been achieved, what follow-up is required, and which approaches need to be reviewed to better achieve objectives in the future.

8. Review and adapt

Review and adapt your strategy in line with the findings of the evaluation process.

9. Follow up

Have the policy makers taken the actions they had committed to? If not, find out why.

Personal contacts can be the only way to obtain information that is otherwise confidential. If you identify a blockage, try advocating at a different level, using other entry points.

How to get the EU to act?

The EU has various specific tools at its disposal to react to human rights violations, in the short and long terms.

In the field

Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategies

Those strategies can be referred to when calling on the EU to act on a particular issue. Civil society’s input is considered in the drafting and implementation process of the strategies.

To ensure you will be consulted, contact the head of the political section or the human rights focal point at the EU delegation. If possible, also contact the geographical desks and the human rights unit of the European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels.

Partnership Priorities (previously European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plans)

Partnership Priorities include specific topics that the EU should monitor very closely on an ongoing basis, in order to ensure that relevant related reforms receive EU support and that the agenda of joint meetings - such as the human rights subcommittees – address these topics systematically.

Once Partnership Priorities are set, NGOs should carefully monitor their implementation. Any lack of progress should be reported to the EU.

Human rights dialogue

Human rights dialogue discusses both ongoing and structural issues in a country. The EU and the partner country set jointly the agenda of the meeting. EU delegations should hold consultation meetings with civil society ahead of subcommittee meetings as well as debriefings after.

Contact the EU delegation to ask for information on the meeting, get a specific issue on the agenda and call for consultation or debriefing if they are not organised.

Local statements

The EU Heads of Mission can jointly agree to make local statements on human rights issues to condemn ongoing violations or take a stand on an individual case.

Contact the EU delegation immediately after an incident or violation has taken place.

Demarches

Demarches are confidential statements or interpellations issued by the EU towards the host country. They are particularly relevant for serious and urgent cases. As it is non-public, a demarche may be an easier action to advocate for from the EU than a public statement.

Specify which authorities the EU should address and detail the exact concerns it should raise.

Visiting a victim of a human rights violation in detention

A visit – or at least attempting a visit - from an EU representative to a detained victim of a human rights violation can send a powerful message and have a positive impact.

Trial observation

Trial observation is a common form of intervention by the EU, particularly when there are pre-existing doubts about the fairness of the trial or the country’s judicial system in general. Ideally, a public statement should be issued after the trial observation.

Concrete assistance to individuals

The emergency fund for human rights defenders at risk, managed under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), allows for EU delegations to quickly provide small grants of up to 10,000€ directly to individuals or organisations in need of urgent support.

The EU mechanism for the protection of Human Rights Defenders, Protect Defenders, run by 12 NGOs, can also provide small grants and emergency support, including for temporary relocation.

 

Brussels level

Council conclusions

They are the most authoritative form of an EU political statement, thus providing an excellent basis for further advocacy efforts.

Due to the time required for the drafting and adoption of the text by Member States, this tool may not be appropriate for urgent cases. You should time your advocacy efforts at least four weeks before the Foreign Affairs Council meeting.

To influence Council conclusions, national governments are key advocacy targets.

EU bilateral relations with a Southern Mediterranean country

NGOs can also try to influence the EU’s bilateral relationship with a country ahead of Association Council meetings or negotiations.

For high-level and political meetings, it is better to focus on one or two priority human rights issues and advocate for their inclusion.

Public statements

Public statements by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) on behalf of the EU or on behalf of the mandate holder are an appropriate advocacy objective if you are dealing with urgent situations/ individual cases, as well as for ongoing issues.

Public statements can also be made by the President of the European Parliament, by members of an EP delegation visiting a country, or by chairs of a relevant EP committee.

European Parliament resolution

European Parliament resolutions on foreign policy matters are not binding to the EU. Yet they are useful advocacy tools for exerting pressure on other EU institutions and the governments of Southern Mediterranean countries.

The drafting process of such resolutions routinely takes a few months. The Parliament also issues three ‘urgency’ resolutions on particularly worrying human rights situations, or specific cases, in individual countries at each plenary session – for those, the drafting takes maximum a week.

Make sure to follow up on the resolution by contacting MEPs to ask if the requested actions have been taken into account by other EU institutions.

Parliamentary questions

MEPs can ask questions to the Council of the EU, the European Commission, or the HR/VP on what is being done to address a specific human rights issue in a country.

 

Member State capital level

Significant attention should be paid to advocacy towards individual Member State governments since they shape EU foreign policy and have the same types of tools available to address human rights issues.

See examples of advocacy roadmaps.

We hope what’s above has helped you better navigate the EU institutional maze and identify avenues for advocacy.

For more information, read through our Training Guide on EU Advocacy

Useful links – How to find EU contacts

We are a small organisation... Where to start?

As a field organisation, you should first get in touch with the EU representatives being the closest to you: the ‘EU missions’ (EU delegation and Member State embassies).

The EU delegation plays an increasing coordination role to promote human rights and support civil society. Member State embassies are also an important target for field organisations as they actively cooperate with the EU delegation on a large range of issues.


Front Page 2020

Interactive Guide – EU Advocacy ▶️

Many human rights NGOs and individuals have steadily reported how obscure and sometimes elusive the European Union (EU) is, making advocacy towards its institutions a very challenging exercise.

In a bid to help them navigate through the EU institutional maze, EuroMed Rights has developed a web-based version of its training guide on influencing EU relations with the Southern Mediterranean countries.

This interactive guide aims to ease up the understanding of the EU and help NGOs devise efficient advocacy strategies to champion their cause, by identifying the right targets and instruments.

In the first part, the main EU institutions and bodies, their competencies and the actions they can take on human rights are decrypted. As EU foreign policy is still very much driven by the Member States, their role is also specifically underlined.

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The second part focuses on global EU human rights policies and tools at global, regional and bilateral levels. The Euro-Mediterranean partnership as well as the EU’s bilateral relations with Southern Mediterranean countries are described in detail.

The third part provides guidance on how to devise and implement an effective advocacy roadmap towards the EU, with practical tips and good practices.

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We hope that this website will allow you to strengthen your advocacy skills, and ultimately promote and enhance human rights standards throughout the Euro-Mediterranean region and beyond.

EuroMed Rights