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Challenges to human rights are multiplying in the European Union, despite the strength of the legal framework we have built since the Second World War. To discuss the magnitude and nature of the challenges and develop solutions, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is hosting a high-level symposium in cooperation with the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU.
FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty speaks about the role of civil society and the FRA’s mechanism for cooperation with civil society, the Fundamental Rights Platform. “A healthy civil society is vital for the protection and promotion of fundamental rights. (…) Without civil society, we are not able to achieve our goals, we are not able to deliver our results. (…) We can cooperate to ensure that our Europe of values remains and gets ever stronger.”
Speech
Michael O’Flaherty
There is no arguing anymore that it is a matter of straightforward international human rights law that the state must foster a thriving civil society. So first and foremost, we are calling for respect for the law.
Over the last decade, new fundamental rights laws and policies have been adopted and specialist institutions created. But fundamental rights challenges still remain and rights are under attack, underlining the lack of a fundamental rights culture across institutions and societies, as the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) reveals in its 2017 Fundamental Rights Report.
Speech
Michael O’Flaherty
Human rights are the ethical bricks and mortar on which Europe was rebuilt after the Second World War. They ensure that the state fulfils its task of protecting the wellbeing of its people, and at the same time they help to make sure that democracy does not turn into mob rule. ** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY **
Video
This playlist contains video clips from each locality which took part in the Local Engagement for Roma Inclusion (LERI) research.
Video
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) explores what works and what doesn’t when it comes to Roma inclusion at the local level.
Michael O'Flaherty
The Agency's Director addressed the High-level expert group on information systems and interoperability in Brussels on 25 April where he underlined that interoperability is not intrinsically a fundamental rights violation but requires adequate safeguards and mechanisms to ensure the rights set out in the EU's Fundamental Rights Charter are upheld without exception for everyone entering and residing in the EU.
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Speech
Friso Roscam Abbing
The Agency spoke at the Salzburg Forum conference on shaping our common future in Sarajevo on 7 April. The event builds on the Forum’s previous conferences and the Vienna Declaration on tackling violent extremism and terrorism. It will examine Europe’s common values and fundamental rights and the challenges posed by extremism and terrorism.

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Speech
Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos
Three years ago, in October 2014, the President of the Commission said to the European Parliament that he wants Europe to have a social triple-A rating, because that is just as important as an economic and financial triple-A. Three years remain to the end of Europe 2020; enough time to make a tangible difference to people lives by making bold changes and by investing our resources wisely.
Promoting inclusion and mutual respect through education and strong positive narratives are essential to prevent incitement to hatred and counter hate speech in the digital age, the heads of three European human rights institutions said in a joint statement on today’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Miltos Pavlou, Senior Programme Manager at the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, talks about the participation of migrants and their descendants in the EU.
Risk of school segregation, discrimination and restrictions to political participation can form insurmountable barriers to the integration of migrants in EU society, as a new report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows. It examines integration strategies across the EU, providing clear evidence of the successes and failures of current policy and recommending changes in order to build a stronger and more cohesive Europe.
This infographic illustrates some of the main issues when it comes to integrating migrants and their descendants in the EU.
Michael O’Flaherty
The EU and its Member States need to pay more attention to the integration of those living “rightfully and legitimately in the EU”, as the Commission puts it, as well as those who are or can find themselves in an irregular situation. These people are entitled to certain basic rights shared by all. But often they live and work in the shadows, denied their rights and particularly vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and marginalisation.
This video message by Ulrike Lunacek, Vice-President of the European Parliament, was recorded on the occasion of FRA's 10th anniversary.
In 2017 and beyond, the Fundamental Rights Agency will focus on today’s most urgent human rights quandaries, from migration and asylum, through xenophobia and discrimination, to the very contemporary challenges of privacy, surveillance and hate speech in the digital age.
Speech
Frauke Lisa Seidensticker
The Agency is in a key position to give a voice to those people across the European Union who are most frequently the target of discrimination and hatred. Many of them are at the margins of our society. But the rights of those at the very centre of our society are also under threat, for example through the tools of the digital age which, in spite of their huge advantages, also open the door to online hate speech and unbridled state surveillance, both of which we have seen too often recently.
Speech
Michael O’Flaherty
Over the last 10 years, we have given a voice to our primary clients, the rights holders living in Europe. We have achieved much in these 10 years, which I think deserves proper credit. We have delivered badly needed data, which otherwise would not be available to the policy makers who make the laws that shape our lives.
Event
Government officials, diplomats, civil society representatives and those charged with making human rights relevant for the general public will come together on 28 February in Vienna to mark the 10th anniversary of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.