03. FRAME Reports

The reports constitute the chief result of the work of over a hundred of scholars gathered under the umbrella of FRAME project researching the means to foster human rights among European policies. FRAME is a large-scale, collaborative research project funded under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) coordinated by the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and conducted by 19 research institutes from around the world. As a complement to the on-going evaluation work carried out by the European Commission, and answering to the findings and recommendations of recent studies on EU human rights policies, the main objective of FRAME is to provide the necessary building blocks for the development of a comprehensive and coherent EU human rights policy comprised of: (i) a sound knowledge base taking into account the evolving factors, concepts, institutions and instruments underlying the protection and promotion of human rights at the EU, international and national levels; (ii) a critical examination and appraisal of the EU’s real and potential contribution to global human rights governance through its engagement with multiple actors and partners and through its multiple policies and instruments; (iii) a thorough scrutiny of the effectiveness of human rights promotion in the maze of EU institutions, competences and policies; and (iv) a set of indicators, tools and policy proposals allowing for a consistent and tailor-made integration of human rights in EU external and internal actions and policies. In this way, FRAME offers creative solutions to enhance the effectiveness and coherence of EU human rights policy and provides concrete guidance to EU policy-makers to help resolve problems hindering the protection and promotion of human rights. The project took off in March 2014 and will continue until 30 April 2017.

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    The FRAME toolbox for the EU fundamental and human rights policies
    (FRAME, 2017-03) Haász, Veronika ; Jaraczewski, Jakub ; Podstawa, Karolina
    This report aims to guide the readers in a simplified way through the EU human rights toolbox that was mapped and analysed in the FRAME authors’ previous work. The present report is divided into two main parts: the first part contains the main findings of the earlier research done on the EU’s human rights toolbox, the second part accommodates eight factsheets, each presenting one set of tools. In the first part, the report recalls the authors’ understanding of the definition of ‘toolbox’ that was interpreted by FRAME researchers in different ways. In this regard, the traditional internal-external tools division seems to be no longer adequate. This is especially visible in the second part of the report that breaks with this division when representing the eight categories of tools. The initial part also explains the seven assumptions (recommendations) that guided the authors, and that can be considered as findings of their previous research. The authors believe that the EU policy toolbox is overflowing and requires simplification. More attention and effort should be placed on the implementation of EU policies. Similarly, more effective monitoring and evaluation is needed. As stated above, the internal-external divide on human rights must be bridged for better human rights promotion and protection in and by the EU. The authors also emphasise the importance of the Charter of Fundamental Rights that shall be considered as a solid reference point in achieving EU policy objectives. It is also essential to leave some flexibility in policy options that enable the EU institutions to react according to the circumstances. Here the authors refer to the Cotonou Agreement. The final guiding principle is the changing of approach from imposing policies on legal subjects across and beyond the EU, to engaging them that makes it possible to build the EU together. Three main recommendations close the first part of the report. The authors make suggestions for the simplification of the EU human rights toolbox. They point to two guiding principles, resilience and sustainability, as key to the use of the human rights toolbox within and beyond the EU. They also explain that vertical and horizontal coherence in the use of the toolbox are necessary components contributing to the overall success of the EU human rights policies. The second part of the report presents eight factsheets as categories of EU human rights policy tools. Each factsheet contains a brief description of the tools and concrete examples identified by FRAME research. The easy-to-read factsheets also formulate recommendations, first of all to the EU institutions, i.e. the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the Council of the EU, as well as to the decision makers of the Member States.
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    Report on the results of policy benchmarking
    (FRAME, 2017-04) Hachez, Nicolas ; Marx, Axel ; Lein, Brecht ; Meuwissen, Katrien ; Schmitt, Pierre ; Jaraczewski, Jakub ; Lewis, Tamara ; Raube, Kolja ; Roszak, Joanna ; Starl, Klaus ; Morondo, Dolores ; Tuvionen, Anna Kasia ; Weatherburn, Amy
    This report studies the practice of ‘policy benchmarking’ as an instrument to translate the EU’s human rights commitment into practice. Policy benchmarking is a relatively new tool to monitor processes and to assess the situation against continuously improving best practice worldwide or regional on an ongoing basis. Its effective use requires close consultation and joint work with all stakeholders involved in human rights policies and relies heavily on the use of empirical data to assess progress. It serves to assess not just well or poorly performing countries, institutions or policies compared with their counterparts, but also the factors that determine progress in achieving the protection of human rights. Benchmarking is based on the idea of centrally monitored ‘local’ performance, and the assumption is that it implies a number of elements: (i) A central monitoring agency pools information on performance and makes it available to others. (ii) This data is used to periodically reformulate and progressively refine minimum performance standards, desirable targets and preferred means to achieve them. (iii) Through constantly monitoring and evaluating performance, the model is assumed to constantly improve performance and generate learning benefits. The assumption goes as well that benchmarking can be a promising avenue for promoting human rights in a number of contexts, and this report aims to analyze the conditions for successful benchmarking policies in relation to human rights, to review a number of initiatives which have been taken by the EU to that effect, and to engage in a prospective exercise of how the EU could set up innovative benchmarking policies. The argument develops as follows. Section II presents benchmarking in general, its definition, its added value, but also the associated challenges of putting in place benchmarking policies. Section III reviews the EU history of benchmarking, focusing on the so-called ‘open method of coordination’ and related instances of experimentalist governance, and on a critical examination of past EU initiatives towards benchmarking human rights in the fields of forest management, business regulation, enlargement and trade. This section finds that, although the EU intends to rely on policy benchmarking in a number of fields, its attempts have so far suffered from a number of flaws. Section IV, on the basis of seven examples of human rights promotion initiatives by local and regional authorities (LRAs), positively assesses the potential for the EU to benchmark these initiatives so as to enhance the potential and effectiveness of LRAs in protecting and promoting human rights.
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    EU promotion of deep democracy in the Southern Mediterranean: a missed opportunity?
    (FRAME, 2016-11) Gómez Isa, Felipe ; Muñoz Nogal, Ester
    The Southern Mediterranean is a strategic region for the EU. Since the inception of the Barcelona process in the mid-1990s, the EU has provided extensive economic and political support to the authoritarian regimes that supposedly offered security, stability, and economic opportunities to Europe, irrespective of the lack of significant progress in the area of human rights and democracy. The popular uprisings that led to the Arab Spring in 2011 revealed the limitations, contradictions, and short-termism of this approach. Economic inequalities, social exclusion, widespread corruption and lack of democratic spaces were the very roots of the unrest that led to the revolutionary changes that took place in Tunisia, in Egypt, and, to a lesser extent, in Morocco. The EU was caught by surprise, and initially was hesitant as to which side to support. Once the revolutions succeeded, and both Ben-Ali and Mubarak were forced to leave power, the EU turned into a major supporter of the democratic processes that were taking place at the other side of the Mediterranean. The EU announced a paradigm shift in its relations with the Southern Mediterranean, a new partnership based in sustainable and inclusive growth, a greater role for civil society, and a renewed emphasis in human rights and democratic transformation. The main innovation of the EU’s new approach to the region was the concept of deep democracy, a new term that generated high expectations. This report aims to analyze the conceptual contours of deep democracy and the EU’s human rights and democracy promotion policies and programmes in three countries of the Southern Mediterranean: Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco. While in Tunisia and Egypt the democratic uprisings succeed in a regime change, the Mouvement du 20 février in Morocco was able only to achieve some minor top-down political reforms. The core objective of our analysis is to explore to what extent EU’s policies towards these countries have been influenced by the supposedly new paradigm developed by the EU through the concept of deep democracy and through the creation of new programmes and institutions such as the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), the Civil Society Facility (CSF), or the reviewed European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). As this report has demonstrated, most changes in EU policies towards the Southern Mediterranean, particularly the reviewed ENP, are essentially rhetoric, since they do not substantially modify the traditionally top-down and business-oriented approach that has dominated these relations. The renewed emphasis of the ENP on the 3 Ms (money, market, and mobility) has not served to reorient the main drivers of the ENP, namely liberalization, the progressive integration of the economies of the Southern Mediterranean into the European market, and the externalization of borders and control of migration and refugee flows. Human rights and democracy have played a relatively small role in the supposedly new approach to bilateral relations between the EU and the Southern Mediterranean, in spite of the ambitious rhetoric enshrined in the official documents coming from Brussels in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. One aspect that can be described as an innovation is the EU’s emphasis on the role of CSOs working in the field of human rights and democracy. The EU has tried to cooperate more closely with CSOs, and has also exerted some pressure on governments to increase the space that CSOs have to work for the promotion of human rights and democracy. While in Tunisia and Morocco the EU has been able to support the work of some independent human rights NGOs, the EU’s ability to cooperate with Egyptian CSOs has been much more limited. The current situation in Egypt, with systematic violations of human rights and a more and more restrictive policy on NGOs, has largely reduced the EU’s leverage capacity. The new geopolitical scenario after the Arab Spring in the Southern Mediterranean, and the financial and political crisis the EU is suffering since 2008, are also affecting the EU’s capacity to act as a relevant international actor in the region. In Egypt, the EU’s leverage capacity has dramatically diminished due to the increasing presence of other actors in the country such as Saudi Arabia, China or Russia. That is not the case in Tunisia and Morocco, where the EU still holds a considerable capacity to influence the respective governments. The EU is by far the main trading partner of these countries. Whether or not the EU uses its potential to push for deep democracy in these two countries remains to be seen. The EU has to make a strategic and sincere reflection on the role it wants to play in a changing region such as the Southern Mediterranean. The Arab Spring was a wake-up call for an EU that for decades had supported authoritarian stability in the region. It was the right time to conduct such a strategic reflection based on the assumption of past mistakes. This analysis has demonstrated that the Arab Spring has been a missed opportunity to rethink the partnership with the other side of the Mediterranean.
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    Integration of FRAME in the education activities at the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratization
    (FRAME, 2016-11) Haász, Veronika ; Podstawa, Karolina
    The report ‘Integration of FRAME in the Education Activities at the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratization’ accounts for the initiatives undertaken at EIUC to disseminate FRAME project’s research results to the beneficiaries of EIUC education activities. After the brief introduction to the structures and programmes available at EIUC, the report focuses on various initiatives across the academic years (starting from 2014/2015 and ending with the planned activities of the year 2016/2017). It also presents the guide to the FRAME research results organised from the point of view of the themes taught at the European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation (E.MA). The report finishes with the brief section focused on recommendations and best practices.
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    Coherence and efficiency of the EU external policy related to conflict and crisis
    (FRAME, 2016-09) Márquez Carrasco, Carmen ; Alamillos Sánchez, Rocío ; Íñigo Álvarez, Laura
    The present Report is part of Work Package 10 (WP 10) ‘Human Rights Violations in Conflicts’ of the FP7 research project ‘Fostering Human Rights Among European (External and Internal) Policies’ (FRAME). On the basis of the previous research developed in WP 10, this report is aimed at providing policy recommendations on how to foster the coherence and efficiency of the EU external policy related to all phases of crisis and conflicts to prevent and overcome violence through the critical assessment of the instruments available to the EU to integrate human rights, international humanitarian law and democracy/rule of law principles. Information was gathered and analysed in previous reports of WP 10. First, FRAME Report D. 10.1 entitled ‘Survey study on human rights violations in conflict-settings’ explores the various patterns of human rights violations related to conflict and violent crisis situations, with a specific focus on the rights of vulnerable groups, as well as on the role of non-state actors as key players in the context of new forms of violence and war. Second, FRAME Report 10.2 entitled ‘Applicable regulatory frameworks regarding human rights violations in conflicts’ analyses and clarifies the relationship between the regulatory frameworks applicable in conflict situations: international human rights law (IHRL), international humanitarian law (IHL) and the legal regime for humanitarian assistance, as well as international refugee law (IRL) and international criminal law (ICL) with particular attention given to vulnerable groups in conflict situations. Third, FRAME Report 10.3 ‘Case study: CSDP’ provides a critical assessment of the integration of human rights, humanitarian law and democracy/rule of law principles and tools into EU CSDP policy and missions. The report looks into the framework and implementation of the EU policy on human rights and gender mainstreaming in CSDP and in relation to the promotion and protection of human rights of vulnerable groups. The report examines the applicability of human rights and IHL to CSDP and the existing safeguards that seek to prevent violations of human rights and IHL in the course of the mandate. The recommendations provided in the present report also take due account of existing lessons learned and best practices, not only at the EU level but at the level of other crisis management actors, in particular the United Nations (UN). In addition, there are references to other studies in the area of CSDP containing recommendations in relation to more concrete issues that fall outside the scope of the present Deliverable 10.4. The study is structured in five chapters, including the introduction. The second chapter contains general recommendations to the EU on external action, which also concern Member States’ relations with third countries and organisations. The third chapter provides recommendations on the EU’s comprehensive approach to conflict and crises and how it can be improved with regards to crisis management policies to strengthen support to human rights policies. The fourth chapter addresses several aspects related to the EU intervention in conflict and crisis situations: applicable law, responsibility and accountability. As analysed in previous reports, the inter-operatibility between IHL and IHRL has also implications for EU crisis management interventions, in terms of the applicable legal framework and responsibility in the for violations of the applicable norms. The last chapter focuses on the protection of vulnerable groups in EU crisis management interventions, providing recommendations for the improvement of the implementation of current policies and for the adoption of new frameworks for other groups. In this regard, gender mainstreaming, the protection of children in armed conflict and the protection of civilians have been subject to more extensive policies and protection in the conduct of operations. However, other groups such as refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and minorities whose rights are directly affected by EU security policies have not received attention to the same extend.