Browsing 02. Research and Projects Outputs by Author "Benedek, Wolfgang"
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ItemCoherence of human rights policymaking in EU institutions and other EU agencies and bodies(FRAME, 2014-09) Lewis, Tamara ; Benedek, Wolfgang ; Müller-Funk, AnnaThis report is submitted in connection with Work Package 8 of the FP7 FRAME (Fostering Human Rights Among European Policies) project. The report falls within Cluster Two, tasked to look at the actors in the European Union’s Multi-Level, Multi-Actor Human Rights Engagement. Work Package 8, entitled, ‘Coherence Among EU Institutions and Member States’. There is one main objective related to the first report; namely, to analyse the coherence of EU internal and external policies regarding fundamental and human rights across different policy fields such as commercial policy, migration and asylum, the area of freedom, security and justice and counterterrorism. The specific task for the report, as described in the project proposal, is to analyse the competences and responsibilities of EU institutions and bodies that initiate policies in fundamental and human rights in light of recent institutional developments brought on by the Lisbon Treaty. The focus of the task is on interactions between and the roles of the European Parliament, its subcommittee on human rights, the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the EU, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service and EU Delegations. In accordance with both the main objective and the specific task for this first report, this study begins with the premise that coherence is visible in three aspects of policy environments – organizational structures, policy regimes and interests - of the European Union (EU) to identify (in)coherence in current EU human rights policies among the EU Institutions. Beginning with the notion of competence, this report looks at how the EU institutions and agencies have viewed coherence in written and verbal discourse and then briefly sets forth how coherence is defined in other non-human rights contexts. Using those definitions and the views of coherence found in EU institutions as guidelines, a unique definition of coherence for EU human rights policy is created. This definition is the basis for the analysis of EU human rights policies and their (in)coherence in the final portion of the report. Regarding structures, this report examines the competence and responsibility of EU Institutions, agencies and bodies, as set forth in the treaties, regulations, rules of procedures and other key documents. The report continues by examining the policy regime in EU fundamental and human rights described in key instruments and documents. Finally, the policies and instruments, together with the competences of the institutions are analysed to identify (in)coherence in EU human rights policies as they have developed since the entry into effect of the Lisbon Treaty. In the annexes to this report, three case studies present concrete examples of the (in)coherence in EU institutions and their human rights policies. One study examines how the FRA has fostered coherence in the structural aspects of EU policymaking by collaborating with a number of bodies and agencies to combat hate crimes in the EU, strengthen protection of LGBT rights and train workers in the respect for fundamental rights when dealing with border management. A second mini-study focuses on conflicting policy interests that lead to incoherence in the EU energy policy. A final study raises concerns about incoherence in policy drafting using the example of the approaches of the institutional actors in the drafting of the Recast Reception Directive. This report makes the following (preliminary) suggested actions to enhance coherence in fundamental and human rights policies among and within the EU institutions: Adopt a definition of coherence to be consistently used by EU institutions when developing policy. Develop mandates with clear references to legal bases and policy areas (AFSJ, CSDP, development, etc.) Create institutional awareness of both fundamental rights and human rights policymaking by establishing one directorate-general solely responsible for coordination and cooperation within the Stockholm Programme and its successor and the Strategic Framework environments. Give a broader mandate and more independence to FRA, enhancing its ability to monitor and report on violations of fundamental rights, including in the area of police and judicial cooperation and permit the agency to have a presence in human rights dialogues. Continue training and other awareness-raising activities in all Commission services and among other institutional staff so that fundamental and human rights impacts are assessed early and throughout (informally and formally) all policymaking processes. Use impact assessments consistently in both internal policy-making and external action to determine the effects of all proposals on fundamental and human rights.
ItemICT and Human Rights(FRAME, 2015-11) Jørgensen, Rikke Frank ; Møller Pedersen, Anja ; Benedek, Wolfgang ; Nindler, ReinmarThis case-study undertaken by the Danish Institute of Human Rights in Copenhagen and the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Graz is part of the FP7 project Fostering Human Rights among European Policies (FRAME), and a follow-up to the report (D 2.1) on ‘factors which enable or hinder the protection of human rights’. The first report assesses a wide range of factors – historical, political, legal, economic, social, cultural, religious, ethnic and technological – and their impact on the protection of human rights in EU internal and external policies. The purpose of this case-study is to zoom in on the technological factors and to examine some of the challenges that were identified in the first report. The first part of the study focuses on the EU’s internal policies in the field of online content regulation. Drawing on case-studies of three EU directives – Directive 2000/31/EC on e-commerce, Directive 2011/93/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography and Directive 2004/48/EC on intellectual property rights enforcement – the study seeks to illustrate how dealing with alleged illegal content through blocking, filtering and take-down of content within co- and self-regulatory frameworks shaped around ‘Internet intermediaries’ challenge freedom of expression and information. The directives presuppose, accept or encourage self-regulation and, combined with schemes of limited liability, subject the intermediaries to an increasing pressure to implement public policy in the online domain. However, these practices and their limitations to freedom of expression are rarely framed as human rights issues, nor do they have the required safeguards. Based on analysis of the EU directives, the study explores the weaknesses – seen from a human rights perspective – of the European approach towards tackling illegal content on the Internet. The study provides a number of suggestions to ensure that the EU addresses the human rights implications of co- and self-regulation, including the strengthening of safeguards and guidance for Member States and intermediaries to implement the said EU policy. Also, the study calls for a comprehensive EU freedom of expression and information framework, covering both its internal and external policy. In line with this, the EU should consider the freedom of expression and information implications of current and new policies when reviewing them according to the Digital Single Market Strategy. The second part addresses the external policies of the EU with a focus on the protection and support of Human Rights Defenders using digital means (‘Digital Defenders’). For this purpose, EU policies and instruments of relevance for Digital Defenders are analysed, including the implementation of the Internet Freedom Strategy and the No Disconnect Strategy. The programmes under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights are reviewed with respect to their relevance for human rights activities online, taking into account the recent EU Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline. This part of the study also explores the related issues of the safety of journalists (which are often citizen journalists), export control of surveillance technology by the EU Member States and the cooperation with other international organisations active in the field of online rights. Proposals are offered on how to improve the general environment for Digital Defenders and their right to freedom of expression and information, and how to improve the coherence of EU action in this field. The newly created Human Rights Defenders Mechanism can play a pivotal role in this regard, as could updated EU Guidelines on human rights defenders.
ItemImproving EU Engagement with Non-State Actors(FRAME, 2015-03) Benedek, Wolfgang ; Footer, Mary ; Kenner, Jeffrey ; Mustaniemi-Laakso, Maija ; Nindler, Reinmar ; Nolan, Aoife ; Wallace, StuartThis report, FRAME 7.2, provides analysis of the EU’s engagement with non-state actors. In the context of FRAME, non-state actors (NSAs) are understood to encompass businesses, international financial institutions (IFIs), civil society organisations (CSOs) and human rights defenders (HRDs), and the report is divided along these lines of analysis. The report relies on both desk research and qualitative, interview-based research to identify and evaluate the means through which the EU and the different types of NSAs engage with each other on human rights. The report begins with contextualising introductions to each of the areas of engagement with NSAs before analysing engagement with each group individually in the subsequent chapters. The report concludes by identifying some cross-cutting issues. The report establishes that engagement with NSAs has the potential to add a great deal of value to the EU’s human rights policies and activities both internally and externally. The EU can draw on the expertise and experience of NSAs when forming policies, utilise NSA infrastructures in third states to gather information or implement policy and, through working with NSAs, generate greater political and financial leverage than the EU would be able to generate on its own. The report identifies a number of cross-cutting issues that need to be addressed in order to strengthen engagement with NSAs, such as improving the quality and consistency of public consultations, which serve as a key point of engagement across the EU, and improving the transparency of the process of EU engagement with various NSAs. The EU’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda has evolved as the key source of engagement on human rights issues with businesses. Interviews have provided a rich source of practical experiences of CSR from both the EU institutional and business perspectives. Also, one of the researchers participated in the recent Multistakeholder Forum on CSR where debate took place on further refinements of the balance between voluntary and mandatory measures in a ‘smart mix’ of CSR initiatives. However, as this is a broad policy area, which engages multiple DGs of the Commission and other institutions and bodies within the EU’s infrastructure, there is a risk that the EU’s overall CSR policy will lack coherence and focused direction. This risk is, if anything, amplified by recent changes in configurations of DGs within the EU. We also foresee the need for better engagement with businesses to successfully operationalise the non- financial reporting directive and to improve the remedial structures for human rights violations perpetrated by, or arising in the supply chains of, businesses. Our research shows that the EU’s engagement with IFIs on the subject of human rights both at project and policy level is limited. While the EIB has made some laudable steps to incorporate human rights standards in its work practice, as part of its obligations as an internalised ‘EU Bank’, the other IFIs demonstrated a more limited appreciation for the human rights impacts of their activities. The report considers that the EIB’s experience of incorporating human rights norms into its project activities could serve as a useful template for other IFIs and that the EU should actively facilitate this exchange and commence a more regular dialogue with the other IFIs on the subject of human rights. The report also identifies some issues surrounding the EU’s engagement with CSOs on human rights both within the Union and as part of its external action, for example as part of development co-operation and the European Neighbourhood Policy. While we identified a number of useful fora in which the EU engaged with CSOs, including the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Forum and EU- NGO Forum, our research showed that the EU engaged with a relatively narrow spectrum of CSOs, favouring large, professional, Brussels-based CSOs and CSO platforms. There is a need for the EU to broaden and diversify the range of CSOs it engages with. Our research also highlighted the need to improve communication channels between the EU and CSOs. On one side, the EU needs to improve its communication with CSOs on policy changes and public consultations. On the other side, the EU needs to improve its communication channels between it and CSOs on the ground in order to receive accurate and up-to-date information on the human rights situations in third countries. Finally, while EU engagement with HRDs on human rights was broadly positive and beneficial for both parties, especially with regard to their receipt of funding under instruments such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, our research revealed some problematic issues that need to be addressed if the EU wishes to strengthen engagement. Engagement between EU delegations and HRDs in third countries is worryingly inconsistent. Equally, while there have been significant improvements in the delivery of funding to HRDs in third countries, accessing EU funding remains difficult for them and needs to be made more flexible and less administratively onerous across the board.
ItemPolicymakers' Experiences Regarding Coherence in the European Union Human Rights Context(FRAME, 2016-07) Ginsborg, Lisa ; Benedek, Wolfgang ; Finlay, Graham ; Haász, Veronika ; Meier, Isabella ; Starl, Klaus ; Vivona, Maddalena ; Wallace, StuartThis report tries to get a sense of how coherence or incoherence appears in practice in the activities and discourse of policymakers in EU institutions, the Member States and in their vertical and horizontal interaction. The report is based almost entirely on interviews with policymakers, which includes primarily EU officials, but is interpreted broadly to include also Member States and non-state actors. Given the emphasis on actors for this Cluster and the Work Package, the report maintains the focus on them, in this case both as the basis for the choice of interview subjects and in terms of the research question, with an emphasis on different actors as potential ‘agents of coherence’. The questions that have been posed during the interviews are based on the findings from previous reports in Work Package 8. They begin with the understanding of coherence developed in Deliverable 8.1, which sees incoherence arising from three potential sources: structural, policy (in terms of competing concepts and visions or policy regimes) and interests. Policymakers have been asked specifically about their own experiences of coherence/incoherence in the context of EU human rights policy. The main body of the report (section II) looks at EU institutions as potential 'agents of coherence' or avenues for incoherence. Through the views of policymakers working in the context of the principal EU institutions, it provides an account of the role of the institutions in promoting or undermining coherence in EU human rights policy, including examples of best practices of coherence, as well as what are considered to be the main sources of incoherence in the views of the policymakers involved. Section III is devoted to Member State policymakers with responsibility for EU policies, and is limited to the analysis of the views of representatives from two Member States interviewed for the present study. Finally section IV is devoted to a thematic case study on 'Coherence in EU Business and Human Rights Policy', which examines how coherence or incoherence appears in practice in the activities and discourse of EU institutions, the Member States and other actors on the subject of business and human rights. Overall, the report has found that different types of incoherence emerge in the work of all EU institutions and bodies. Each EU institution has a role as an ‘agent of coherence’ in EU human rights policy, while at the same time at risk of facing different types of incoherence in its work.