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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.

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 Far from being outdated, the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed in 1948 are more relevant than ever: the universality and indivisibility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.

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On 10 December, we celebrate Human Rights Day. This day deserves our attention as it marks the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. 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.

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.

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Good afternoon, today the Council met again and I am happy that we could meet again in person. It makes things easier.

We had, as always, a dense agenda. Let me start with the good news.

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.

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Hello,

We have a very packed [Foreign Affairs] Council today. We are going to talk a lot about transatlantic relations, and [I will] present [to the Foreign Affairs Ministers] the proposal from the Commission and the High Representative about a new refreshed start of our engagement with the US.

Serious human rights violations and abuses are taking place in many parts of the world, too often without any consequences for the perpetrators. As a global leader in the promotion and protection of human rights, the European Union will not stand by while serious human rights violations and abuses are committed. Today, the new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime has been adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council: it will enable the EU to even more forcefully stand up for human rights.

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