Factors which enable or hinder the protection of human rights
Lassen, Eva Maria
Vedel Kessing, Peter
García San José, Daniel
Frank Jørgensen, Rikke
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In assessing the factors that influence the protection and promotion of human rights in the European Union (EU), this report elucidates those factors that cut across the catalogue of human rights. This report seeks to examine contemporary human rights challenges in this context by mapping the historical, political, legal, economic, social, cultural, religious, ethnical and technological factors that both facilitate and hamper human rights in the EU. This report is part of Work Package 2 ‘Challenges and Factors’ of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) project Fostering Human Rights among European Policies (FRAME). This first cluster of FRAME constitutes the foundations of a sound knowledge base for the assessment of EU human rights policies, encompassing the evolving factors, concepts, institutions and instruments that underlie human rights protection and promotion. The objective of the report is to analyse these crucial factors while taking into account challenges brought about by globalisation, with a focus on access to basic rights. The report does this through the provision of a qualitative mapping addressing the major topics related to each factor. The report is divided into 10 chapters and provides a chapter on each of the above cross-cutting factors, including an overview of the factor drawn from a literature review, an assessment of current knowledge of the factor and its impact on human rights in the EU, and challenges and gaps requiring further study. The report canvasses the major landmarks in EU history, with a view both to its external and internal policies (Chapter II, Historical), before addressing the inherently political nature of human rights themselves and the importance of States, sovereignty, ideologies, power, citizenship and democracy to their implementation (Chapter III, Political). Turning to legal factors, the report considers the coherence of obligations within the EU; whether the EU is bound by human rights obligations when acting externally; the relationship of human rights obligations and other international law norms; and finally shared human rights responsibility between the EU and Member States (Chapter IV, Legal). Taking post-crisis Europe as its departure point, the report analyses the economic dimensions of human rights in the EU, including the significance of economic decline, the internal market, poverty, employment, foreign policy, and development and trade (Chapter V, Economic). Turning to social factors, the report addresses the importance of the principle of non-discrimination in EU policy and institutions, before specifically considering the aspects of gender, sexual orientation, disability and age (Chapter VI, Social). The report then zooms in on cultural and religious factors. Taking a dualistic approach, this chapter focuses on those cultural and religious factors which may hinder or facilitate EU human rights policies as well as topical human rights issues which have a substantial impact on the space provided for culture and religion in a human rights context (Chapter VII, Cultural and Religious). Closely related to cultural and religious factors, the report proceeds to ethnical factors, addressing in particular ethnic minorities and their enjoyment of basic rights (Chapter VIII, Ethnical). The report goes on to consider the importance of technological factors in relation to human rights policies in the EU. This chapter analyses non-discriminatory access to the internet; protecting internet freedoms;freedom of expression and self-regulation; privacy, surveillance, and cyber security; and internet governance (Chapter IX, Technological). Finally, the report concludes with a summary of the chapters, key insights from each factor, and recommendations for further study and analysis. The EU today stands at a crossroads with regard to human rights. Taking into account, historical, political, legal, economic social, cultural, religious, ethnical and technological factors that enable or hinder human rights protection, this report sets out the cross-cutting issues that may inform the Union’s future direction.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/20.500.11825/69
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