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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 Far from being outdated, the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed in 1948 are more relevant than ever: the universality and indivisibility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 9 December, the European Union for the first time attended the “Guests of the Chair Programme” of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defence Ministers Meeting Plus. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, attended virtually the event, which was hosted by Vietnam in Hanoi.

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.

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.

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.

High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell today decided to appoint Stefano Sannino as next Secretary General of European External Action Service (EEAS).

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03/12/2020 – HR/VP blog – There has been a lot of discussion lately, and also some controversies, on the concept of strategic autonomy. It is time to clarify what exactly we mean with this concept and how it can help Europeans to take charge of themselves in an increasingly harsh world.

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