Deliver on human rights: Amnesty’s appeal to the UK Presidency of the EU

(Brussels, 28 June 2005) A strong human rights agenda can help the European Union overcome its political and institutional crisis and reaffirm the EU as a Union of values, says Amnesty International in its recommendations to the UK Presidency of the EU.

Amnesty International says its human rights proposals to the UK Presidency, released today in Brussels and London, add up to an ambitious program that would strengthen the EU’s leading role on human rights both at home and abroad.

Amnesty International EU Office Director Dick Oosting said:

“It is clear that the current EU crisis stems from a lack of vision of what the EU is actually for. By actively promoting the protection of human rights, the EU can project a convincing sense of purpose not only to its citizens but to the rest of the world. This will be a real test for the UK Presidency – to make the EU deliver on a strong human rights agenda.”

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
“The UK should use its presidency to put the EU’s words into practice when it comes to human rights. And it must lead the EU by example – not just in areas where we have seen positive developments, such as arms control and freedom of expression, but also closer to home on issues like counter-terrorism and asylum.”

In its human rights recommendations, Amnesty International points out how the EU has taken a number of measures to strengthen its human rights capability over the past year. However, Amnesty’s assessment criticises the EU’s approach on issues such as counter-terrorism and asylum.

Amnesty International’s ten proposals for the UK Presidency of the EU:

At home:

1. Make the EU Fundamental Rights Agency the cornerstone of a proper fundamental rights order including full compliance by Member States;

2. Examine the threats to the balance between security and human rights and redress the human rights deficit in the EU’s counter-terrorism strategy;

3. Counter practices of unlawful detention and removal of foreign nationals from the EU;

4. Ensure scrupulous observance of the international protection obligations when developing the external dimension of asylum and immigration policies;

5. Promote the early ratification and implementation of the European Convention Against Trafficking.

In the world:

6. Press for more active implementation of the EU’s human rights foreign policy guidelines;

7. Reaffirm unequivocally the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment;

8. Press for a binding international Arms Trade Treaty;

9. Galvanise global support for UN reform towards the promotion and protection of human rights;

10. Assert a strong human rights dimension in the EU’s enlargement and neighbourhood policies.

“Delivering on human rights – Amnesty International’s ten-point program for the UK Presidency of the European Union”
is available

For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels)
Tel: 32-2-5021499
Fax: 32-2-5025686
Email: Download PDF attachement