European Union External Action


31/12/2016 - 14:50
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#EU4HumanRights aims at raising awareness about human rights issues in the world and discussing human rights priorities in EU foreign policy.

#EU4HumanRights aims at raising awareness about human rights issues in the world and discussing human rights priorities in EU foreign policy. Throughout the year, public events such as lectures, debates, exhibitions or film screenings have been taking place in Brussels and in the Member States as well as internationally. Please have a look at the calendar of events on this website. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is organising in Warsaw the fifth edition of the Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy - an annual conference that brings together civil society activists, academics and politicians from all around the world to discuss ways of promoting democracy. The conference, this year under the theme From past to future: strengthening democratic values will focus on universal values indispensable for stable democracy such as justice, tolerance, transparency and human rights. Panel discussions will be devoted to transitional justice, protection of the rights of persons belonging to religious minorities, citizen oversight over elections and fight against corruption, as well as nurturing democracy through education. Thematic debates will be complemented by workshops dedicated to practical aspects of pro-democracy activities. The list of high-level speakers this year include Mr. Abdessattar Ben Moussa, President of Tunisian League for Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2015, Mr. Refat Chubarov, President of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars, Mrs. Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2011 and Mr. Yves Leterme, Secretary-General of International IDEA.

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On the occasion of Human Rights Day and as part of the EU initiative “#EU4HumanRights", the Ministry of Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania on 9 December 2016 is organizing a public discussion – “The role of freedom of expression in promotion of human rights”. The discussion will focus on the role of freedom of expression, freedom of the media and its impact on the development of democratic communities and promotion of human rights. Among invited guest speakers – Mr. Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and Mr. Edward Lucas, Publicist and Senior Editor of “the Economist”. For more information, please visit the website

Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella opened the seminar ‘The Role of Civil Society in Democracies in Transition’, which was held at the Auditorium of the Valletta Campus of the University of Malta. The event was also addressed by the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, who delivered a keynote speech.

The seminar comprised three discussion panels: (a) the EU’s role in supporting civil society in transitional democracies; (b) challenges and opportunities: civil society as an agent of democratization; and (c) civil society’s role in bridging social divides in transitional democracies. It was attended by civil society representatives, diplomats, academia, university students and human rights defenders, some of whom from Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt to participate in the seminar

The seminar discussed the key role civil society organisations can play in the process of transition and the challenges they face in playing this role. Most importantly, the seminar addressed the scope for civil society organisations to deal with human rights issues: these organisations are widely recognised as being a crucially important element in a stable democracy in that they help foster reconciliation both within and between societies and play a valuable role in ensuring a fully functioning system of checks and balances.

15 December - the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy together with the Italian Inter-ministerial Committee for Human Rights is organising the presentation of the Italian Yearbook on Human rights. The Yearbook of Human Rights is a periodic publication edited by the Human Rights Centre of the University of Padua. Year by year, it takes stock of how the international human rights monitoring system assesses Italy's performance. Representatives of the academic world, institutional representatives and the civil society will attend the meeting. 

16 December - the Portuguese National Human Rights Committee (PNHRC) will hold a Plenary Meeting, open to civil society, on the issue of Mental Health and Human Rights. This meeting will aim to better understand how to integrate a human-rights approach while providing mental health care, as well as to further improve cooperation with civil society. Furthermore, it represents an opportunity to discuss the implications of the adoption of resolution on Mental Health and Human Rights, presented by Portugal and Brazil at the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council, as well as of the inclusion of this subject on the international human rights fora. This event will take place at 15:00h, at the Portuguese MFA (Biblioteca da Rainha), in Lisbon. It is open to civil society. E--mail to confirm participation:


The year 2016 is marked by important human rights’ anniversaries: the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights as well as Economic, Social and Cultural Rights were adopted 50 years ago, the UN Human Rights Council was established 10 years ago and the European Union launched the EU Framework for National Roma Strategies 5 years ago. The 10 year existence of the concept of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), endorsed as a global political commitment at the 2005 World Summit, provides an opportunity to assess the progress made and the challenges ahead. After the adoption last year of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, this year is marking the start of its practical implementation. The 9th edition of the Budapest Human Rights Forum will focus on issues related to these landmark achievements and will be also a dedicated event of the #EU4HumanRights initiative. For more information on program and speakers, please see the attachments.

Venue: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary

Conference Hall, Budapest Bem tér 4 


Program of the 9th Budapest Human Rights Forum PDF icon

Concept Note 9th Budapest Human Rigths Forum PDF icon

On the occasion of the world day against the death penalty and the thirty-fifth anniversary of the abolition in France, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Development are organizing an event on the role of journalists in disseminating the culture of the abolition of the death penalty in Quai d'Orsay, October 10, 2016, from 17h to 19h30. For more information please see the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The Permanent Mission of Belgium and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, together with the Permanent Mission of Mexico, the EU Delegation and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions are pleased to invite you to a side-event in the margins of 33rd session of the Human Rights Council: the 15th Anniversary of the Durban Declaration - Strengthening the role of National Human Rights Institutions and equality bodies in the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance on the 16th of September 2016 from 2 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. in Room XXII - Palais des Nations. For more information please follow the EU Delegation in Geneva.

Ensuring that the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda upholds children’s rights – with a particular focus on the realization of goals and targets on education.

High-level side event during the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council

Date: 16 September 2016

Time/ Location: 13:00-15:00, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Organised by the Permanent Mission of Slovakia to the UNOG in Geneva, the Delegation of the European Union to the UN in Geneva and Save the Children.

For more information, please follow the website of the EU Delegation in Geneva

First edition of the EU@UNTalks series on Human Rights hosted by the EU Delegation in New York on 11 July. For speakers and other details please see the attached invitation.

To mark the occasion of IDAHOT (International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia) 2016, the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU organised a roundtable discussion on Reconciling religion and LGBTI: Implications for the EU’s External Policy with perspectives from religious LGBTI persons and organisations on 17 May from 10.00-12.00.

The event featured a panel of experts from religious organisations, other NGO’s and the EU institutions, who shared their views on how the EU and its interlocutors can work together towards finding common ground between religion and sexual orientation and gender identity. After short presentations by the panelists, representatives from Member States, EU institutions and NGO’s present in the audience were invited to participate in the discussion.

Just before the opening of the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Oslo, we would like to welcome you to a discussion on key topics on the global human rights agenda. In his address, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Mr. Stavros Lambrinidis, will explore the role of human rights in EU foreign policy, including some of today’s major challenges in ensuring an effective human rights promotion around the world. He will in particular address the question of the universality of human rights, the shrinking space of civil society and human rights defenders, as well as the issues of coherence and effectiveness that the EU faces.

Stavros Lambrinidis is the EU Special Representative for Human Rights since 2012 and former Foreign Minister of Greece. His address will be followed by perspectives from:

Geir Sjøberg, Policy Director for Human Rights, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Berit Lindeman, Senior Adviser, Norwegian Helsinki Committee

This will be followed by ample time for discussion with the audience, moderated by Christian Borch.

Discussion on freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Openness and transparency are vital parts of Swedish democracy. The Freedom of the Press Act of 1766 is regarded as the world’s first law supporting the freedom of the press and freedom of information. To commemorate 250 years of the adoption of this legislation, the Swedish Residence in Brussels will host a discussion on 31st of May from 15.00-17.00. Among the invited speakers are:

Ambassador Anders Ahnlid

State Secretary Per Olsson Fridh, Swedish Ministry of Culture

Cecilia Wikström, Member of the European Parliament

Hanna Stjärne, Director General, Swedish Television

Karin Olsson, Culture editor, Expressen

Due to the limited space, this event is invitation only.

This event is part of the celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

DG DEVCO, EEAS and ILGA Europe organised a discussion on the current situation of LGBTI human rights defenders in changing environments. The participants also reflected on how to support positive change in such environments. The event took place at the DEVCO Info Point on 17 May, 2016 from 12.30-2 pm.

Speakers included:

- Maxence DAUBLAIN, Policy Officer (Gender, Child Rights, Discrimination), DEVCO B1

- Victoria Correa , Human Rights Officer, European External Action Service

- Björn van Roozendaal, Programmes Director, ILGA-Europe

- Beth Fernandez, Programme Officer for LGBTI Rights/Xenophobia and Intolerance, Sigrid Rausing Trust

Currently holding the rotating EU presidency, the Kingdom of the Netherlands is proud to have hosted decision makers, politicians, business leaders, NGOs, trade unions and researchers in Amsterdam to discuss ways to advance the implementation of the Business and Human Rights Agenda of the European Union.

On 28 April, the EU Delegation to the UN in New York launched the #EU4HumanRights campaign with a panel discussion and a social media campaign involving EU Member States. The panel discussion, introduced by EEAS Director for General Affairs Silvio Gonzato, focused on promoting and supporting the work of civil society in the multilateral context.

The People in Need Foundation, in collaboration with the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU, the Czech Centre in Brussels, the Italian Cultural Institute, the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts and the Norwegian Embassy in Belgium, organized the human rights documentary film festival „One World in Brussels“ from 18 to 27 April 2016.

The conference will take stock of the work done so far to promote and protect the rights of older persons within the existing normative framework, while also looking beyond that. It will provide an opportunity to exchange best practises, identify key challenges, and discuss possible solutions – both from a national, regional and international perspective, and incorporating the views of civil society and older persons themselves. The conference will be opened by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, Karl Erjavec. High guests include the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Ms Rosa Kornfeld-Matte and Deputy SG of OECD Frantz.

To commemorate the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26 June) and the 35th anniversary of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFVT), the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva ( together with South Africa and Denmark and with the support of UNVFVT organize a high-level panel discussion on rehabilitation for victims of torture. A range of government representatives, diplomats and experts will discuss societal benefits, results, challenges and best practices in the provision of redress and rehabilitation for victims of torture.

Thursday 16 June 2016, from 2 pm to 3.30 pm

Palais des Nations, Geneva, room XXV

Speakers and panelists will be confirmed in due time. Please follow the EU Delegation's website here.

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Human Rights Council, the EU will organise an event to pay tribute to all human rights defenders worldwide, who have been the driving force of the Council and who play a crucial role in the implementation of the Council's outcomes, often at their own great personal risk. The event will start with a public debate with, among others, EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, and Sakharov Price winner Taslima Nasrin, a Bangladeshi blogger. The debate will be followed by a solidarity march to honour Human Rights Defenders worldwide and wrap up with a concert.

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