The Foreign Affairs Council in July 2015, adopted a new EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy for 2015 to 2019 "Keeping Human Rights at the Heart of the EU". Its implementation is a joint responsibility of the EEAS, the Commission and the EU Member States, in close consultation with the European Parliament and civil society.
The Council adopts every year an Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy. This report encompasses two parts: the first one is thematic; it reflects the structure of the Action Plan and provides an assessment of the actions taken to address the Action Plan's priorities. The second part is geographical and covers EU actions in third countries, thus mapping in detail human rights situation across the globe.
The EU Special Representative for Human Rights helps make EU policy on human rights in non-EU countries more effective, coherent and visible.
The EU pursues Human Rights Dialogues with over 40 countries, established in accordance with the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Dialogues.
Furthermore, the EU has adopted 11 Guidelines on Human Rights priorities designed to help EU missions better advance the EU’s human rights policy.
The Working Party on Human rights (COHOM) is the Council Working Party dealing with all human rights aspects of the external relations of the EU, bringing together the Directors for Human Rights and delegates from EU Member States, the EEAS and the Commission. COHOM is responsible for the development and implementation of dedicated EU human rights policy instruments, notably the EU human rights guidelines as well as the human rights dialogues. Furthermore, COHOM assists in identifying the EU's strategic priorities and co-ordinating the positions of the EU in multilateral human rights fora, in particular the UN General Assembly (Third Committee) and the UN Human Rights Council.
With a financial support of €1.3 billion between 2014 and 2020 (Multiannual Indicative Programme), the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) supports, inter alia, non-governmental organizations promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law; abolishing the death penalty; combating torture; and fighting racism and other forms of discrimination; as well as observing elections around the world.
Election observation missions constitute a key tool to increase transparency and legitimacy of election processes and, therefore, to support democracy. The EU has become one of the main players in election observation and enjoys high credibility.