In 2011, the EU adopted key legislative and policy measures in, for example, the areas of victim protection, human trafficking and the integration of Roma, and, for the first time, was itself directly bound to an international human rights treaty - the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Various EU Member States, among other steps, reformed their child protection systems and made efforts to combat violence against women and shorten the length of court proceedings.
Challenges, however, remain. The areas of racism, equality and non-discrimination will continue to be core concerns. The year 2012 will also be crucial to the finalisation of the Common European Asylum System and the debate on the new EU data protection framework.
This year's FRA annual report chronicles the positive developments made in 2011 as well as the challenges facing the EU and its Member States in the field of fundamental rights, drawing on objective, reliable and comparable socio-legal data. It examines progress on EU and Member State rights obligations under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, covering the following topics: asylum, immigration and integration; border control and visa policy; information society and data protection; the rights of the child and protection of children; equality and non-discrimination; racism and ethnic discrimination; participation of EU citizens in the Union's democratic functioning; access to efficient and independent justice; and rights of crime victims.
This year's annual report Focus maps the fundamental rights landscape in the EU today. It looks at how the various institutions, norms and laws at national, Council of Europe, EU and international level interrelate. It also describes the rights, bodies and procedures at these different levels. In combination, they should not only protect and promote fundamental rights, but also aim to bring these rights to life for everyone in the EU.