Systems

Support for human rights systems and defenders

Many organisations work to defend your rights. We help their efforts with independent evidence, advice and expertise.

We support their frontline work. And we shine a light on potential risks and priority areas. Together we make your rights a reality.

Highlights

  • Periodic updates / Series
    18
    October
    2023
    Civil society organisations struggle to maintain an environment safe from threats and attacks. FRA’s sixth annual update on civic space explores the challenges for organisations across the EU. While there has been significant development since FRA began monitoring the situation in 2018, civil society organisations remain under immense pressure. Abusive lawsuits and attacks against those involved in migrant search and rescue at sea are just some of the challenges identified. This report presents ways forward to protect civil society and human rights.
  • Report / Paper / Summary
    11
    October
    2021
    This report proposes a framework for becoming, and functioning as, a ‘human rights city’ in the EU. It includes ‘foundations’, ‘structures’ and ‘tools’ for mayors, local administrations and grassroots organisations to reinforce fundamental rights locally. It is based on existing good practice and expert input by representatives of human rights cities in the EU, academic experts, international organisations and city networks.
  • Page
    The European Union Fundamental Rights Information System EFRIS is a Human Rights Gateway, bringing together data and information from existing human rights databases, and enables viewing and analysis of relevant assessments of fundamental rights in the EU.
  • Handbook / Guide / Manual
    23
    October
    2018
    As a very modern human rights catalogue containing many rights not found in established bills of rights, the Charter indeed looks good on paper. Those familiar with the main principles of EU law can usually quickly recite that the Charter is always binding on the EU, and binding on Member States only when they are "implementing EU law". But what does this often-quoted language from Article 51 of the Charter actually mean?
Products
5
June
2024
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2024 analyses the year’s developments in fundamental rights. It focuses on the most pressing fundamental rights concerns facing Europe in 2023: the cost-of-living crisis, rights concerns at the EU’s external borders and migration, and threats to democracy. Re-structured, this year’s new approach is a shorter and sharper analysis. It also presents FRA’s opinions on these developments, including a summary of the evidence supporting these opinions.
5
June
2024
The year 2023 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2023 reviews developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern. This publication presents FRA’s opinions on the main developments in the thematic areas covered and a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions. In so doing, it provides a compact but informative overview of the main fundamental rights challenges confronting the EU and its Member States.
6
February
2024
The 2024 update on NHRIs accreditation status and mandates also covers their engagement in the monitoring of fundamental rights compliance in the use of EU funds at national level. Moreover, the update also shows how NHRIs make use of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in their work when advising government or in education, training and awareness raising activities. Since its 2020 report 'Strong and effective national human rights institutions – challenges, promising practices and opportunities', the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has been regularly tracking the accreditation status and mandates of NHRIs.
19
December
2023
All EU funds must be spent in a way that respect fundamental rights. The EU spends billions of euros on creating jobs, economic growth, sustainable development and improving people’s lives. To prevent funds from being spent in ways that directly violate people’s fundamental rights, the EU strengthened the conditions how funds can be spent in 2021. This report looks at how the newly introduced conditions related to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities can be upheld in practice. It analyses the potential role of national human rights institutions, ombudsperson institutions and equality bodies. These safeguards can advance compliance with fundamental rights.
20
October
2023
FRA’s strategic priorities and objectives are based on the agency’s role and mission as defined in its amended founding regulation. They build on FRA’s 2018–2022 strategy as well as how it performed, its experience and its vision. Their design takes into account future fundamental rights challenges facing Europe, the agency’s mandate, the broader operational context and the resources available.
18
October
2023
Civil society organisations struggle to maintain an environment safe from threats and attacks. FRA’s sixth annual update on civic space explores the challenges for organisations across the EU. While there has been significant development since FRA began monitoring the situation in 2018, civil society organisations remain under immense pressure. Abusive lawsuits and attacks against those involved in migrant search and rescue at sea are just some of the challenges identified. This report presents ways forward to protect civil society and human rights.
11
July
2023
Across the world, human rights defenders protect and uphold human rights in some of the most challenging situations. In some countries they face worrying levels of threats and attacks, intimidation and harassment. This report outlines how human rights defenders can enter and stay in the EU when they need protection. It suggests how EU institutions and Member States could use the flexibility in existing legal provisions and provide shelter for defenders who seek protection.
8
June
2023
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2023 reviews major developments in the field in 2022, identifying both achievements and areas of concern. It also presents FRA’s opinions on these developments, including a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions.
8
June
2023
The year 2022 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2023 reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern. This publication presents FRA’s opinions on the main developments in the thematic areas covered, and a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions.
2
February
2023
Many cities throughout the European Union hosted people fleeing Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The EU currently faces the largest displacement of people in Europe since World War II. Since February 2022, over seven million people came to the EU. The arrival of such large numbers of people thrust cities and local governments to the forefront of the EU and its Member States’ relief work. This short publication provides a snapshot of cities’ initiatives to address this humanitarian crisis.
13
December
2022
National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) continue to play a key role in upholding fundamental rights. FRA keeps track of the accreditation status and the mandates of the NHRIs. In 2022, the NHRI in Cyprus was upgraded to an ‘A-status’ institution. In addition, the mandates of six NHRIs changed to include child protection or the protection of LGBTI people.
In this vlog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty talks about the need to push back against the shocking levels of human rights abuse and violation across the world. On the occasion of Human Rights Day, he refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the need to standing up for human rights.
In this video, human rights leaders, experts and activists share their views on the human rights impact of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.
11
November
2022
Europe stands at a delicate moment in its history. It is a moment of existential significance for the wellbeing and sustainability of our societies. It is emerging from the pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease, only to face a set of major overlapping challenges. These pose profound questions about the political, economic and societal future of the continent. To discuss elements of a human rights vision for the future and to identify opportunities for action, FRA brought together a group of sixty human rights leaders and experts with diverse backgrounds
from across the continent. This report distils the meeting discussions, including analysis and ideas, and concludes with proposals for action. It does not represent the views either of individual participants or of FRA.
In this video, several human rights leaders, experts and activists share their views on the impact of disinformation on human rights and the ways to address this phenomenon.
In this video, several human rights leaders, experts and activists share their views on the impact the climate change has on human rights and the ways to address the climate crisis.
16
September
2022
Europe stands at a delicate moment in its history, facing a convergence of major tests. Each of them taken on their own is significant. Together, they pose profound questions about the political, economic, and societal future of the continent. This is a moment for strong commitment to put human rights at the heart of our vision for Europe’s future. It is also time to demonstrate our determination to work together to this end. Against this backdrop, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) brought together around sixty human rights leaders and experts from across the continent to discuss elements of a human rights vision for the future and to identify opportunities for action. A full conference report will be available soon, including the specific ideas and proposals which arose from the meeting. Meanwhile, this is a summary of the conclusions.
19
August
2022
BG, HR, LV, SK, SL versions now available
22 December 2023
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFREU) is the EU’s bill of rights. It always binds the EU institutions and the Member States when they act within the scope of EU law. However, it is far from easy to assess whether a concrete case falls within the scope of EU law. This is why it is necessary to provide training and training material to legal professionals so that they can understand the field of application of the Charter as laid out in its Article 51. This trainer’s manual aims at providing guidance on both the organisation and the implementation of such trainings based on a series of case studies,
which will be extended in the future.
19
August
2022
Civil society organisations face diverse challenges across the European Union. FRA’s report on Protecting civic space in the EU presents the agency’s findings on these challenges. It was issued in September of 2021. This summary presents the Key findings and FRA opinions outlined in the report.
19
July
2022
Civil society is a key component of Europe’s fundamental rights architecture. From supporting people affected by the pandemic to helping those fleeing the war in Ukraine, civil society plays a crucial role in upholding people’s rights. In so doing, it contributes to a healthy rule of law culture. FRA’s civic space report provides an overview of the many ways in which civil society contributes to the checks and balances that underpin the rule of law.
In this vlog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty talks about the need to push back against the shocking levels of human rights abuse and violation across the world. On the occasion of Human Rights Day, he refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the need to standing up for human rights.
In this video, human rights leaders, experts and activists share their views on the human rights impact of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.
In this video, several human rights leaders, experts and activists share their views on the impact of disinformation on human rights and the ways to address this phenomenon.
In this video, several human rights leaders, experts and activists share their views on the impact the climate change has on human rights and the ways to address the climate crisis.
In this vlog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty talks about the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine. He argues that it is only if we all work together, with human rights as our roadmap, that we can make our way towards a peaceful future.
In the internet age, information travels faster and further than ever before. But so does disinformation, feeding off rumours, prejudices and stereotypes. How can we tackle it? Watch FRA’s practical guide on how to go about tackling disinformation using +INPUT – be positive, identify, narrate, pioneer, unite and track.
The Fundamental Rights Forum is the space for dialogue on human rights challenges facing the EU today.
The Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Michael O’Flaherty, welcomes the launch of the Philanthropy Europe Association (Philea), the merger of the European Foundation Centre (EFC) and the Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (Dafne), on 7 December 2021.
The Fundamental Rights Forum is the space for dialogue on human rights challenges facing the EU today.
Highlights from the Fundamental Rights Forum 2021 – Michael O’Flaherty on the Forum as a roadmap for a vision of hope.
Speaking up for human rights has never been more important!

But how can we bring people together and cut through the noise?
International and regional human rights organisations across Europe have joined forces with the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, united behind the '10 keys to effectively communicating human rights'.
A clip on human rights cities upon launch of ‘Framework of commitments for human rights cities’
On the occasion of the launch of FRA’s report ‘Protecting civic space in the EU’ this clip sheds light on the challenges civil society faces across the European Union.
On 23 February 2021, FRA’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, listened to fundamental rights concerns and discussed ways to solve them. The second Fundamental Rights Dialogue invited young people to participate in shaping our societies, placing human rights centre stage.
On 23 February 2021, FRA’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, listened to fundamental rights concerns and discussed ways to solve them. The second Fundamental Rights Dialogue invited young people to participate in shaping our societies, placing human rights centre stage.
On 13 November, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) hosted its first Fundamental Rights Dialogue - a virtual event that gave young people an opportunity to voice their fundamental rights concerns and discussed ways to solve them with FRA's Director Michael O'Flaherty.
Key statements from the FRA/Euractiv online event Reinforcing the EU Charter: rights of people in the EU in the next decade, 7 December 2020.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic leaves a lasting mark on society worldwide. It affected everyone but some people more than others. As we look ahead, on Human Rights Day, on 10 December, we need to make the new normal a better normal. In his video message, FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty underlines the need to stand up for human rights to make 2021 a better year. This means ensuring we respect and take into account everybody's human rights.
This video statement by FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty was recorded for the 2020 General conference of the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities (ICCAR): “CommunicAction – A common front to protect human rights at the local level”.
This video statement by FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty was recorded for the Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform: ''Connectivity between regional and global human rights mechanisms".
FRA held an information session for national authorities on the FRA’s report on EU funds: Ensuring compliance with fundamental rights.
FRA contributed to the annual meeting of the EU Temporary Relocation Platform. The Platform, an initiative of the European Commission, is a network of entities engaged in temporary relocation of at-risk human rights defenders.
People’s fundamental rights are at risk across Europe. This is due to rising levels of poverty, persistent threats against democracy, widespread racism and challenges occurring in the context of migration, finds FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2024. These threats underline the need to ensure a strong and sustainable fundamental rights protection across the EU, particularly for people in vulnerable situations. The report suggests how policymakers and civil society can work in tandem to counter the threat of social exclusion and enable a more equal and fairer society for all.
On 16 May, FRA Director Sirpa Rautio held a roundtable discussion with 36 civil society organisations in Brussels.
FRA addressed the OSCE’s Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on 23-23 April in Vienna. FRA focused on how to support and protect human rights defenders, and on the specific support needs that human rights defenders in exile have.
FRA presented findings from its report on ‘EU funds: Ensuring compliance with fundamental rights’ to a committee of the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+). It brings together a government representative from all Member States, and representatives of workers' organisations and employers' organisations.
The Concluding Conference Statement on the role of National Human Rights Institutions in implementing the EU’s Fundamental Rights Charter is now available. The conference took place in Brussels from 21-22 March.
FRA released its practical guidance for Human Rights Cities in 14 additional EU languages. The guidance provides hands-on support and advice to cities and other forms of local authorities wishing to improve their efforts to respect, protect and promote human rights.
Immediately after the Fundamental Rights Forum, on 12 and 13 March the Scientific Committee met in Vienna. The Scientific Committee meeting provided the first opportunity for the Committee to meet the new FRA Director Sirpa Rautio.
On 5 March, FRA took part in a webinar, organised by the Prime Minister’s Office, launching the Finnish website on fundamental and human rights indicators. The website will monitor the implementation of fundamental rights in Finland.
FRA recently added nine new language versions to its Charter e-learning platform. This development marks a significant step in FRA's commitment to providing comprehensive resources to a wider audience.
FRA held the closing conference of its EEA & Norway Grants-funded regional cooperation project ‘Supporting National Human Rights Institutions in monitoring fundamental rights and the fundamental rights aspects of the rule of law’. The event raised awareness and improved understanding of NHRIs’ role in enhancing the application of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Charter at the national level and in the EU framework.
FRA spoke during the online launch of the Global Nonprofits Guide 2.0 on 1 March. The guide brings together information on laws relating to the setting up and operations of civil society organisations in 70 countries.
FRA presented the key results of its recent report on EU funds and ensuring compliance with fundamental rights during two national diagnostic workshops online from 26 to 27 February. The Bulgarian Ombuds Office organised the events.
FRA spoke at a session of the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development on 14 February. The Agency presented its report ‘EU funds-ensuring compliance with fundamental rights’ to the Committee.
On 6 February, FRA published its update of the accreditation status and mandates of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). It now also covers the role of NHRIs in the context of EU funds and the use of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Charter.

FRA welcomes views from all civil society organisations working in an EU Member State or in Serbia, Albania or North Macedonia or at the EU level for its annual civic space survey.
FRA presented its findings on civic space at a European Commission workshop on shrinking antiracism civic space on 31 January in Brussels.
A delegation from Moldova visited FRA on 16 January. It was an opportunity to present the Agency to the delegation and showcase how it works with examples.
FRA’s provides guidance on organising and running training on the EU’s Fundamental Rights Charter. The trainer’s manual is based on a series of cases studies.
On 28 June, FRA will welcome the participants of the Public Leadership Programme for Women from the Mathias Corvinus Collegium in Budapest.
FRA will hold a meeting of foresight practitioners and human rights experts to raise awareness on the importance of considering fundamental rights in foresight activities.
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FRA will speak at the European Commission’s meeting on stronger Equality Bodies to combat discrimination. FRA will present its work on equality data, fundamental rights indicators and on strengthening statutory bodies.
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FRA will contribute to the annual meeting of the EU Temporary Relocation Platform. The meeting takes place from 5 to 6 June in Berlin.
On 8 May, FRA will welcome a group of Master’s students from the Central European University specialising in EU human rights law and public policy studies.
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FRA will hold its regular meeting with its National Liaison Officers (NLOs) from 23 to 24 April online. The NLOs are FRA’s main contact points in Member States and in observer States to the work of FRA.
FRA Director Sirpa Rautio and the Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić will meet on 25 April in Vienna. They will exchange views on current challenges to human rights in Europe and the importance of respecting fundamental rights standards.
On 19 April, a workshop on fundamental rights data collection will take place at FRA. The objective is to provide expertise to Albanian authorities in developing fundamental rights data collection methodologies.
On 16 April, FRA will welcome the Western Balkans Fellowship Programme at the Austrian Parliament in cooperation with the European Funds for the Balkans.
On 5 June, FRA will hold a webinar on ensuring compliance with fundamental rights when using EU funds.
FRA will run a webinar on 20 March at 10:00-12:00 CET for civil society organisations on available resources to Human Rights Defenders in need of relocation. This includes research and support available in the EU.
FRA’s Executive Board will meet on 21 March via videoconference.
FRA will join Equinet’s online meeting on 20 March about Equality Bodies’ standards. There will be an update on the current state of the legislative initiative and the expected conclusion.
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The Council of Europe will host a networking conference in Strasbourg from 29 February to 1 March for its Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) programme.
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FRA will host the closing conference of its EEA and Norway Grants-funded regional cooperation project ‘Supporting National Human Rights Institutions in monitoring fundamental rights and the fundamental rights aspects of the rule of law’. The event takes place in Brussels from 21 to 22 February.
FRA will present its Draft Programming Document 2025-2027 to the Council of the EU’s Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizen’s Rights and Free Movement of Persons (FREMP) on 30 January in Brussels.
FRA will give an online presentation on its work and activities to a delegation of Turkish authorities on 25 January.
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The next Fundamental Rights Forum will take place in Vienna on 11 and 12 March 2024. It will unite policymakers, thought leaders, human rights defenders, corporate executives, artists, and other influential figures with a simple goal: to embrace human rights for Europe’s brighter future.
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The CharterXchange is a forum for legal practitioners and stakeholders to explore current and potential applications of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and its role in driving positive changes for people’s rights. It will convene annually in December.