Understanding the Human Rights trends in EU

Since its foundation in 2007, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) produces every year a set of relevant analysis and publications on human rights trends in relation with EU political activity; this constitutes a reliable source of information for national and European institutional actors as well as for individuals interested in this topic. FRA is a technical European agency specialized in research and collection of data about the implementation of fundamental rights by EU; therefore, the information provided by FRA are precious in order to understand what are the European trends in this regards. A very useful tool is the Fundamental Rights Report of FRA which helps to understand the achievements and obstacles faced by EU in relation to very hot issues such as migration crisis, racism, xenophobia, rights of children, rights of persons with disabilities, access to justice, privacy and data protection and so on and so forth. FRA not only provides data analysis and detailed descriptions of fundamental rights related issues in EU, but it also provides opinions based on its expertise in order to find valuable solutions. The provision of opinions is part of a constructive approach aimed to implement concretely the core values of EU based on democracy and human dignity enhancement.

EU and FRA: how does it work?

Even though European Union countries may disagree in many political and economic issues, for sure they all agree on the importance to protect and enhance human rights, human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law. These are the common values that lay at the basis of EU and that also guide the EU’s action both inside and outside its borders. The commitment to guaranteeing the fundamental rights is proclaimed in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: in particular, the EU established in 2007 in Vienna the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to support this endeavor. FRA is an independent body funded by the Union’s budget to provide independent, evidence-based assistance and expertise on fundamental rights to EU institutions and Member States.

Every five year, the Council of the European Union approves a list of priority areas named Multi-annual Framework which defines the nine thematic areas of FRA that frame the agency’s various projects: • access to justice; • victims of crime, including compensation to victims; • information society and, in particular, respect for private life and the protection of personal data; • Roma integration; • judicial cooperation, except in criminal matters; • rights of the child; • discrimination; • immigration and integration of migrants, visa and border control, and asylum; • racism, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission can request research or an opinion on a specific topic outside the agency’s work programme, including in the course of legislative procedures. Member States can request comparative data and information from FRA to inform national policy developments.

“Fundamental Rights Report 2016” of FRA

FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2016 summarizes and analyses major developments in the fundamental rights field, lightening both progress made and persisting problems between January and December 2015. This Report includes FRA’s opinions on the main developments in the thematic areas and provides an informative overview of the main fundamental rights challenges confronting the EU and its Member States. Considered as the hardest challenge faced by EU in the last years, migration is the focus of FRA Report 2016. In particular the Focus Section explores the risks refugees and migrants face to reach safety; addresses challenges with regard to the prohibition of collective expulsion; outlines developments and possible solutions in the field of asylum and discusses developments on the issue of returns. It is possible to download separately the Focus Section “Asylum and migration into the EU in 2015 and it is available both in English and French on the FRA website:

fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2016/asylum-andmigration-european-union-2015

As in previous reports, the other chapters reflect the thematic areas of the agency’s Multi-annual Framework: 2) equality and non-discrimination; 3) racism, xenophobia and related intolerance; 4) Roma integration; 5) information society, privacy and data protection; 6) rights of the child; 7) access to justice, including the rights of victims of crime. The chapter 8) is dedicated to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This latter topic is particular relevant in this Report because for the first time in 2015 an international body as the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities completed its first review of the EU’s implementation of the CRPD by examining how the EU is fulfilling its international human rights obligations. In addition, FRA took over the role of chair and secretariat of the EU Framework for the CRPD. To mark these notable events, FRA reports on developments in CRPD implementation in a separate chapter – which will become a regular feature of its annual Fundamental Rights Reports.

What is very interesting about this report is that in the last section of each chapter there are the FRA opinions that outline evidence-based advice anchored in the facts and research presented in the report. These opinions provide meaningful, effective and relevant assistance and expertise to the main actors in the European Union but not only: they can be an important source of information for researchers, professionals and students who are involved in human rights sector.  The Fundamental Rights Report 2016 – FRA Opinions are available in all 24 EU official languages and it is possible to download them from the FRA website:

fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2016/ fundamental-rights-report-2016-fra-opinions

You can find the whole Fundamental Rights Report 2016 at:

http://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/fra_uploads/fra-2016-fundamental-rights-report-2016-2_en.pdf

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