Head of European Diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, has issued a statement at the occasion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, calling it the cornerstone of international human rights law on which the human rights architecture is built. Ms. Mogherini said that today the number of people living in good human rights conditions is higher than ever. Earlier this year, the European Commission launched the ‘Good Human Rights Stories’ initiative – showing to the world that promoting and respecting human rights allow societies to grow stronger and more resilient.
While these stories can be a source of inspiration and optimism, Ms. Mogherini reminded that we cannot take human rights for granted. Thus, Ms. Mogherini urged countries around the world to pay attention to places where there are increasing attacks on freedom of speech through violent attacks, forced disappearances and punitive registration regimes. The EU remains a staunch supporter of civil society and will make continue efforts to act and speak against harassment and intimidation of civil society, including women and youth organizations.
Human rights are at core of the EU’s foreign policy and the bloc provides around 2 billion euros annually to donor and civil society organizations. The amount is two thirds of the global financial support to the cause. Ms. Mogherini also reiterated the EU’s commitment to the multilateral human rights system as the platform for the international community to best address human rights violations and seek accountability. Within the EU, human rights are protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, adopted in 2000 and binding on EU member states since 2009. All EU institutions abide by it and have a role to play in protecting fundamental rights.