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Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Central Asia plays a strategic role in promoting Euro – Asian connectivity, fostering peace and regional security. The EU, together with partners, contributes to these efforts and supports a broad range of sustainable connectivity projects in Central Asia and Afghanistan. Cross border cooperation, energy connections, as well as people-to-people contacts bring benefits to the countries of the region.

The European Union takes note of Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri recusing himself from government formation. The EU deeply regrets the persisting political stalemate in the country as well as the lack of progress in the implementation of urgent reforms.

Lebanon has remained without a fully empowered government for almost a year, which has precipitated an unprecedented financial and economic crisis, the dramatic consequences of which the Lebanese population continues to face. 

The European Union welcomes that Ukraine took a decisive step this week towards comprehensive reform of the judiciary aiming at restoring the public and investors’ trust in the justice system.

On Wednesday, the Belarusian regime carried out a further wide-scale attack on independent voices in the country. The raids on private houses and offices targeted a long list of human rights, educational and political groups and organisations, charities and think-tanks. Human rights defenders and other activists have been arrested.

World Youth Skills Day 2021 will again take place in a challenging context due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. UNESCO estimates that schools were either fully or partially closed for more than 30 weeks between March 2020 and May 2021 in half the countries of the world. In late June, 19 countries still had full school closures, affecting nearly 157 million learners. And 768 million more learners were affected by partial school closures.

The 47th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC47) took place once again in the context of the global pandemic and was hence a timely opportunity to look at the situation of human rights in this current climate. COVID-19 not only impacts the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, but also of civil and political rights. At this session we strongly reminded that Government action needs to be necessary, proportionate and non-discriminatory, and we specifically invited all governments to strengthen and further expand universal social protection mechanisms.

A Russian court in Sochi sentenced the head of the Southern Human Rights Centre and a prominent human rights defender Semyon Simonov to community service, for alleged violations of the law on so-called “foreign agents” on Monday.

This decision is yet another unacceptable use of the law on “foreign agents”, to pressure activists and human rights defenders. The EU calls on the Russian authorities to stop Mr. Simonov's prosecution immediately.

The Georgian Parliament endorsed six Supreme Court judges on Monday, despite calls by the European Union to pause and revise the appointment process to bring it in line with European standards. The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) recently expressed concerns over the fairness and equality of the nomination process in its interim report.

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1. The members of the International Contact Group (ICG) reiterate their concern about the situation in Venezuela and call on political actors and civil society to move urgently and in good faith towards the resolution of the profound political, economic and social crisis affecting the country and the entire region.

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13/07/2021 – HR/VP Blog – While vaccination rates are rising rapidly in Europe, this is not the case globally and we are seeing a more fractured world emerging. As the EU, we need to live up to our global responsibilities and to our partners’ expectations.

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