The EU and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) held their first Strategic Dialogue in Brussels.
This high-level dialogue was a timely opportunity for both sides to share updates on global human rights issues, discuss priorities, strengthen cooperation, and build a stronger partnership for more effective multilateralism and rules-based international cooperation. The dialogue will continue on an annual basis and will be followed up with working level exchanges on subjects of mutual interest.
The EU valued the role of the OHCHR as the principal international body for advancing human rights worldwide, providing technical assistance to States, and ensuring the monitoring and reporting of violations and abuses of human rights.
The discussion focused on global trends in human rights, such as protecting the universality and indivisibility of human rights, the erosion of the rule of law, shrinking civic space, and deepening inequalities. The Strategic Dialogue further covered geographic developments and ongoing country specific situations of concern. Acknowledging the interlinkages between peace and security, development and human rights, the EU and the OHCHR emphasised that upholding human rights is the best prevention of conflict and violence and that there can be no lasting peace and stability when widespread human rights violations and abuses occur. They also discussed social, economic and cultural rights, human rights in the digital space, and the interface between the environment, climate change and human rights, as well as migration.
The EU and the OHCHR agreed to continue to work to uphold, promote and strengthen human rights, their universality and interdependence, to strengthen the role of the UN human rights bodies and to cooperate on regional, thematic and global issues.
The EU and the OHCHR agreed to strengthen the link between human rights and the environment and raise awareness of the human rights impact of environmental degradation and climate change, including organising a side event at the margins of the next Human Rights Council session.
They also expressed concern about the challenges facing human rights defenders and civil society, and agreed to work together to raise awareness about the need to protect human rights defenders globally, including in the digital space and address internet shutdowns, through a joint public campaign.
The EU and the OHCHR agreed to continue to discuss migration and human rights, including with the experts on the New EU Pact on Migration and Asylum.
The EU Special Representative for Human Rights confirmed the EU’s strong support to High Commissioner Bachelet, the independence of her Office, the UN special procedures, treaty bodies as well as to the work of the Human Rights Council. The EU and the OHCHR also committed to enhance cooperation at country and regional levels through EU Delegations and OHCHR field presences.
The dialogue was co-chaired by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and the EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore.