In 2017, human rights remained at the heart of the European Union's external action, and the EU reaffirmed its role as a leading global proponent of the promotion and protection of human rights.
The EU continued to oppose firmly any unjustified restrictions of the rights of freedom of association and peaceful assembly, as 2017 saw a continued backlash against civil society. The EU strongly supported an enabling environment for non-governmental organisations and human rights defenders through bilateral dialogues including human rights dialogues, financial support and in multilateral fora.
2017 marked a milestone on the EU's global work with the rights of the child with the update of the guidelines on the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, which date back to 2007.
The 2017 annual report sets out the efforts of the EU, including through its global network of delegations, to promote and protect the universality of human rights across the world. Unlike previous years, this report does not include a geographic part with specific observations on all third countries but human rights updates for each country can be found on the European External Action Service's (EEAS) and delegations' webpages.