Freedom of expression, in all its forms, is the very essence of democracy. Only with a thriving, free and independent media landscape, we can hold governments, businesses and society at large accountable. And precisely for this fundamental right, far too often, journalists and media workers are attacked, persecuted, harassed, or intimidated for carrying out their work. Most journalists are not wounded in the heat of war coverage, but suffer violence in our immediate surroundings. In 2018 alone, 94 journalists and media staff were killed in work-related incidents as reported by the International Federation of Journalists. Hundreds more have been subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention without ever having been tried in a court.
The Indian Ocean Commission, through the MASE programme funded by the European Union, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development represented by the Organe de lutte contre l’Evènement de pollution marine (O.L.E.P) organised the first MASE POLMAR 2019 exercise in Diego Suarez, Madagascar from 16 to 20 October 2019.
The European Union and its Member States have progressively put in place a comprehensive external migration policy and strengthened the work along the Central Mediterranean route. Saving and protecting the lives of migrants and refugees, breaking the business model of smugglers and traffickers and providing legal pathways, while addressing the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement: these are the aims at the very heart of the EU's policy.
The European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe firmly oppose the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment contrary to the right to life. The death penalty means revenge, not justice, and its abolition contributes to the enhancement of human dignity.
On the occasion of the International Day of Democracy, the European Union reaffirms its commitment towards democracy as a fundamental right of every human being. Every woman and every man has to be free to participate to the political, economic and social life of her or his country. No one should fear to speak up, to demonstrate peacefully, to go to vote or to expect fair and inclusive policies from a government. Democracy can only function if participation and trust between democratic state institutions, governments and citizens are guaranteed.
On this first International Day commemorating the victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief, we pay tribute to all those around the world who lost their lives and suffered attacks because of their religion or belief. Persecution as a response to religious belief or affiliation, or lack thereof, is a violation of international law and requires joint work to combat it.
As we mark the International Criminal Justice Day, the European Union reaffirms its longstanding support towards the international criminal justice system and in particular its unwavering commitment to the International Criminal Court (ICC), as part of the EU's wider commitment to a rules-based international order.
The Council today adopted conclusions on the EU's priorities at the 74th UN General Assembly(September 2019 – September 2020). These conclusions complements the Council conclusions on strengthening multilateralism which were adopted on 17 June 2019.