The EU has renewed its policy framework on promoting human rights and democracy in its relations with other countries for 2020-2024. The new EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy sets out the EU’s ambitions in three key areas: promoting free and fair elections, strengthening media freedom and pluralism and countering disinformation. It acknowledges that while there have been leaps forward, there has also been a pushback against the universality and indivisibility of human rights. The pandemic and its socio-economic consequences have had an increasingly negative impact on all human rights, democracy and rule of law, deepening pre-existing inequalities and increasing pressure on persons in vulnerable situations. In May, the Human Rights Democracy Network (HRDN), of which LSI is a member, sent in a statement on the new EU Action Plan. In September LSI joined another statement with 5 demands.
The Commission has also published recently the EU Strategy to strengthen the application of the Charter. It focuses on the application of human rights within the EU, and like the above strategy acknowledges the impact of the pandemic on human rights. It focuses on four pillars of action: effective application by Member States; empowering civil society, guidance for EU institutions and strengthen people’s awareness. Civil society and other stakeholders were invited by the EFA to provide feedback during the consultation period – read an analysis of their consultation here.