In-depth studies of selected factors which enable or hinder the protection of human rights in the context of globalisation

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Mayrhofer, Monika
Zarrehparvar, Mandana
Sano, Hans-Otto
Marslev, Kristoffer
Møller Pedersen, Anja
Vedel Kessing, Peter
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Under the auspices of the FP7 project Fostering Human Rights among European Policies (FRAME), this publication is a follow-up on the first 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, particularly in light of the challenges brought about by globalisation. The purpose of this second report is to provide an in-depth and thorough examination of some of the challenges and factors that were identified in the first report as most in need of further scholarly exploration and study. Dealing with EU efforts to address social factors that hinder the realisation of human rights for many people around the globe, Chapter II focuses on anti-discrimination and the European External Action Service (EEAS). Based on an outline of the legal and policy framework concerning anti-discrimination in EU external action, the chapter analyses gaps and challenges in the integration of anti-discrimination principles in activities and policies of the EEAS. The analysis finds that recent measures to promote equality and anti-discrimination have reportedly had a positive effect on the anti-discrimination work of the EEAS. However, incoherence in various forms – between anti-discrimination standards used by EU- and Member States’ delegations, between different policy areas and between the EU’s internal and external activities – is identified as a key challenge. Along similar lines, Chapter III focuses on ethnic and other factors related to EU internal policies on non-discrimination and equality. The chapter argues that despite potentially strong drivers for the promotion and protection of ethnic minorities’ rights in the EU and among EU Member States, the initial excitement about the Union’s anti-discrimination directives has morphed into reluctance by Member States to take actual measures to realise substantive equality. An amalgamation of historical, legal, economic and political factors contributes to Member States’ unwillingness to further develop and mainstream the core values of non-discrimination and equal treatment. Chapter IV concerns religious minorities under pressure. The issue of religious and cultural diversity and tolerance as well as the protection of religious minorities are among the biggest challenges facing the EU in the area of religion, both internally and externally. Yet, due to a range of religious, historical, cultural and political factors, including the diversity in the organisation of state-religion relations across Member States, the EU has generally steered away from a common line on religious affairs within the EU. As result of this, the protection of religious minorities is uneven across Europe. Interestingly, internal reluctance contrasts with external ambitions in the form of progressive policies. This incoherence poses a challenge to the EU’s efficiency in its internal and external endeavours to promote the protection of religious minorities. Chapter V examines the nature and consistency of the integration of human rights into EU development programming, with a particular focus on the envisaged synergy between economic factors and the protection of human rights. In recent years, the EU has confirmed its commitment to integrate a human rights-based approach throughout its development activities. However, the chapter demonstrates that the application of human rights standards and principles in EU development programming suffers from a strong ‘governance bias’. In socioeconomic interventions, and in particular in the sectors with the most important economic implications, i.e. agriculture, energy, and infrastructure, human rights are vaguely integrated. Thus, the chapter concludes that economic factors are hardly fostering strong human rights concerns in the EU external development action and planning. Drawing attention to the EU’s relations to the wider world, Chapter VI zooms in on the legal factors that influence the protection of international human rights and international humanitarian law in EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions. The EU has adopted a large number of operational policy documents on the protection of human rights in CSDP operations and missions. However, the chapter identifies two legal factors that undermine these policy-level commitments. Firstly, uncertainty about which obligations EU-led military forces shall respect and protect hinders the effective protection of human rights. Secondly, EU human rights policy documents have mainly focused on the promotion of human rights in third states – by third States themselves – rather than on the EU’s and EU-led military forces’ own compliance with human rights standards when involved in CSDP missions and operations in third States. Such incoherence between the policy towards third states and EU/Member States is a legal factor that might hinder the effectiveness of EU human rights policies. The selected challenges and factors put under scrutiny in this report are in many respects inter-related. The in-depth studies have further drawn attention to the inconsistent and incoherent implementation of the EU’s human rights policies as a crosscutting challenge – a challenge that can potentially compromise the effective protection of human rights, both within the EU and in the Union’s external relations to third States.
development aid policy, European Union, European External Action Service, discrimination, ethnic discrimination, foreign policy, religious minorities