Better fundamental rights protection can rebuild trust in democracy, says FRA

The erosion of fundamental rights protection due to the economic crisis, challenges to the rule of law in some Member States and the revelations of mass surveillance programmes have all challenged trust in democratic institutions. To mark today’s International Day of Democracy, FRA points to the role better fundamental rights protection can play in rebuilding trust in democratic processes and bodies.

Respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law are crucial if our democracies are to flourish,” said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. “If we commit to a robust framework for fundamental right that strengthens and empowers independent democratic bodies, we will be sending a strong signal to citizens that they can trust us to serve and protect them from violations of their rights.”

FRA’s annual report of fundamental challenges and achievements underlines the need for the EU and its Member States to reaffirm and strengthen their joint commitment towards protecting and promoting fundamental rights. It suggests the creation of an internal fundamental rights strategy and an annual policy cycle to better link up and to regularly assess fundamental rights efforts at EU and national levels. This would mirror the existing external human rights framework and consolidate the EU as a beacon of human rights worldwide.

On 17 September, the FRA Director will deliver a welcome address to participants of the European Chapter of the International Ombudsman Institute’s general assembly in Tallinn, which will discuss the role of ombudsmen in democracies. FRA’s address will outline some of the current fundamental rights challenges in the EU today, and the need for a framework for protecting, measuring and monitoring rights EU-wide. This framework foresees all rights bodies, such as national ombudsmen, working even closer together to better protect citizens.