Delegation of the European Union to Brazil

EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders (2020)

16/02/2021 - 04:58


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This is the third edition of the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders to be published in both Thai and English language. As pointed out by EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore in the preface of this guideline, this document will continue to underpin the cooperation between Thai human rights defenders and the European Union, building on our good contacts regarding the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The protection of human rights defenders is a crucial component of the EU's human rights work in third countries. The European Union Guidelines on Human Right Defenders lay out specific steps the EU may take to better support and protect the work of organisations and individuals that often place themselves at risk trying to promote and protect the rights of others.

The timing of this publication coincides with what is arguably the biggest global health crisis of our times. As of 30 August 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed almost 850,000 lives worldwide, with more than 25 million cases confirmed. The pandamic will have profound consequences in the short, medium and long terms - from immediate health and humanitarian challenges to more profound structural socio-economic change. While some of these consequences are yet to be fully understood, the situation has clearly exposed the vulnerability of the least protected and most disadvantaged group of society. Restrictive measures imposed in some countries during the COVID-19 lockdown have also disproportionately affected the rights, livelihoods and freedoms of the most vulnerable people. This makes the work of human rights defenders all the more important.

In Thailand, we have been pleased to see that a framework for the protection of human rights defenders has been established in the Kingdom's first National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights - an all-important document placing Thailand in a leading position in Asia. The Ministry of Justice, in particular its Rights and Liberties Protection Department, is making great efforts to formulate the national guidelines for protecting human rights defenders. The EU will be delighted to provide all the support we can to help the Thai government in this process.

Safeguarding human rights is essential to what the EU is and does. Enhancing protection of those who safeguard the rights of others will also be central to our engagement with a broad range of stakeholders in Thailand.


                                                                                                               Pirkka Tapiola

                                                                                    Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand

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