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.
“Human rights are under threat across the EU,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “But the goodwill and support for the vulnerable in so many places around Europe should give us hope. We need to harness this positivity to ensure that human rights remain the bedrock of our societies. And we must do much more to show that human rights are not just for a select few, but for everyone.”
“Let us make now the time, when we end the scourge of poverty, within our European Union and beyond, as part of our commitment to secure the rights and freedoms of all,” said Maltese President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. “Let us affirm the fundamental dignity of all human beings, by acting upon our duty to strive for the best interests all individuals and communities, and especially, the most vulnerable members of our society.”
The EU is facing persisting high poverty levels and rates of youth unemployment demoralising to those entering the labour market for the first time. We are also witnessing political groupings that seek to capitalise on fears within the population for their own short-term electoral gains by championing nationalist and sometimes racist agendas. All of this increases the importance and difficulty of communicating human rights, whether as an expert in the field, a politician, or a journalist.
‘Is Europe doing enough to protect fundamental rights?’ will take stock of human rights developments in the EU over the last 10 years. The symposium will address the three most burning issues on the EU’s policy agenda by focusing on migration and asylum, insecurity and fear, and poverty and social exclusion. Particular attention will be paid to the children’s perspective, and children themselves will take part in the event as speakers and commentators.
FRA’s annual flagship Fundamental Rights Report and Opinions, now available in all EU languages, will be presented at the symposium, and together the Agency’s new report on the detention of child migrants will form the backdrop to the discussions.
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The event will be livestreamed from 9am CET on 28 June here. The event hashtag is #rightsreport17.