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He began by introducing FRA’s main areas of work, particularly in the field of migration, where he spoke of the Agency’s “deep engagement” in supporting the protection of the human rights of migrants and refugees arriving in the EU and the local communities on which their arrival has had the biggest impact.

The Director then moved on to discuss the current challenges facing human rights in Europe. “We are seeing unacceptable violations of human rights. But that’s not new,” he said. “What is turning the situation into a crisis is the repudiation of the human rights system, a negation of its importance, and a disregard for the commitments entered into.”

The Director closed by saying he remained optimistic, but added: “We all have to do a better job of engaging. And we have to do a much better job of mainstreaming human rights across government policy.”

The conference also featured panels on the detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants, as well as access to justice in the area of business and human rights, in which the head of FRA’s asylum and migration unit, Adriano Silvestri, and the Agency’s business and human rights expert Jonas Grimheden participated.