Danish EU presidency must make a difference on human rights



Danish EU presidency must make a difference on human rights
(Brussels, 7 December 2011) Announcing its eleven-point human rights recommendations to Denmark before the start of its six-month European Union presidency, Amnesty International has challenged the Danish Government to galvanise the EU into making a major difference on human rights. 
“Every six months we ask a new presidency to seize the human rights initiative, only for the term to expire with little to show. Denmark must buck this depressing trend”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “The Danish presidency should focus on the serious human rights abuses which are occurring right now on EU territory. All too often the EU shrugs off its responsibilities. This is pure hypocrisy. Why, for example, is so little being done to protect migrants and asylum-seekers from abuse, or to hold accountable the perpetrators of torture and secret renditions under CIA-led counter-terrorism programmes ” 
Without a system which allows the key players to engage purposefully with each other on human rights violations committed in EU countries, Amnesty International believes the Union's credibility will only deteriorate further, which would also affect its external relations. The organisation considers that this thinking should be reflected in the new EU human rights strategy. Amnesty International has tasked the Danish presidency to keep pressing for a strategy which commits the institutions and all EU countries to a joint, feasible project that is both ambitious and realistic. 
Among the goals Amnesty International has asked the Danish presidency to pursue are:-
Creating an EU consensus on the Arms Trade Treaty which is due to be reviewed by preparatory committee and finalised at the United Nations in the first half of 2012  
Urging fellow EU countries to increase the number of refugees they resettle or establish resettlement programmes, and achieve a ban on detaining children for immigration purposes
Amnesty International repeatedly emphasises that human rights policy is about real people. For this reason, at the outset of each new presidency it highlights ten people and communities who have suffered human rights abuse and need the EU’s intervention. Amnesty International has also stressed the importance of the presidency’s not confining its work to those outside EU borders.
Amnesty International will assess the presidency’s performance against the benchmarks it has indicated. 
For interviews or further comment, please contact:-
Peter Clarke
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office, Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0)2 548 2773
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