18/12/2020 – HR/VP blog – Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and relations with Turkey have been one of the greatest EU challenges in 2020 and this will likely remain the case for 2021. It is not surprising that the last European Council of the year, held last week, has had this as one of its main foreign policy issues for discussion.
17/12/2020 – HR/VP blog - Upholding European values and interests in the cyberspace is crucial for our democracies, our economies and our societies. This is what the new EU Cybersecurity Strategy adopted yesterday is all about.
The Presidency of the Council issued presidency conclusions on the Gender Action Plan (GAP) III: "An ambitious agenda for gender equality and women's empowerment in EU external action". The text was supported by 24 delegations.
The EU joins the call of the UNHCR to ensure the safety and well-being of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia, who have been caught in the conflict in the Tigray region.
All refugees must be protected from harm and any act of refoulement or forced return should be prevented, in accordance with international refugee, human rights and humanitarian law. Any return must be safe, voluntary and dignified.
The 16th European Union (EU) – African Union (AU) Human Rights Dialogue took place on 8th December 2020 by video conference. The Dialogue was co-chaired by Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights and Minata Samate Cessouma, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs.
10/12/2020 - HR/VP blog - At Monday’s Foreign Affairs Council, member states agreed to launch a new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime to strengthen our collective action in this field. Taking action on human rights is not only the right thing to do. It is also in our interest: more human rights means more freedom, prosperity and peace, for us all.
This year we mark Human Rights Day while the whole world is tackling an unprecedented challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic. Far from being outdated, the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed in 1948 are more relevant than ever: the universality and indivisibility of human rights is critical in addressing this crisis and in shaping the post-COVID-19 world. “Today it is more important than ever to recall that human rights are universal and indivisible, and that our efforts to defend them can never stop”, said the High Representative Josep Borrell in a declaration on behalf of the European Union.
75 years ago, major leaders of the Nazi regime were prosecuted for crimes against humanity and war crimes during the Nuremberg trials. This paved the way to the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on 9 December 1948, punishing genocide as a crime and setting out the legal basis for action by States to prevent such atrocities.
The legacy of Nuremberg lives on. Since 2002, the International Criminal Court stands as the world’s only permanent, independent court for the investigation and prosecution of the most heinous crimes.
The Council today adopted a decision and a regulation establishing a global human rights sanctions regime. For the first time, the EU is equipping itself with a framework that will allow it to target individuals, entities and bodies – including state and non-state actors – responsible for, involved in or associated with serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide, no matter where they occurred.