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
8
June
2022
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2022 reviews major developments in the field in 2021, 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
2022
This focus looks at the impact of the pandemic on social rights. It examines the measures in national recovery and resilience plans that address the social vulnerabilities among a variety of population groups in the EU, including women, children and young people in situations of vulnerability, people with disabilities, older people, Roma and people in precarious working conditions.
8
June
2022
All language versions now available
14 September 2022
The year 2021 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2022 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.
27
April
2022
This guide can help cities wishing to improve their efforts to respect human rights. It aims to encourage local authorities to adopt higher human rights standards. The idea is to encourage and foster mutual learning on human and fundamental rights. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), a group of human rights cities and various practitioners in the EU worked together to produce this guide. The guide draws on the promising practices and experiences of cities, regions, experts, international organisations and networks that can be found in the FRA report Human rights cities in the EU: A framework for reinforcing rights locally.
14
April
2022
Speaking up for human rights has never been more important! But how can we best do it? How do we bring people together and cut through the noise?
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'.
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.
A clip on human rights cities upon launch of ‘Framework of commitments for human rights cities’
28
September
2021
Since September 2020, three National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) had a change in their accreditation status, two new institutions were created and nine have had a change in tasks covered by their mandates. Following up on the September 2020 report “Strong and effective national human rights institutions – challenges, promising practices and opportunities”, this update provides an overview of developments in the accreditation status and mandates of NHRIS in the past 12 months. The update covers the 27 EU Member States as well as three additional states within FRA’s mandate (Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia).
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.
10
June
2021
The year 2020 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2021 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.
10
June
2021
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2021 reviews major developments in the field in 2020, 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. This year’s focus chapter explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fundamental rights. The remaining chapters cover: the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; equality and non-discrimination; racism, xenophobia and related intolerance; Roma equality and inclusion; asylum, borders and migration; information society, privacy and data protection; rights of the child; access to justice; and the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
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.
This video statement by FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty was recorded for the e-conference "70 years of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: challenges and prospects".
This video was produced for the launch of the Fundamental Rights Survey in June 2020 and gives an overview of the main results.
Michael O'Flaherty introduces the July edition of FRA's bulletin on the impact for fundamental rights of Covid-19. In this vlog he talks about the important role that people play who are engaged with the promotion and the protection of human rights in these times.
The July edition of the COVID-19 bulletin will be available from 30 July.
In his latest vlog Michael O'Flaherty introduces FRA's survey of 35,000 people on attitudes to human and fundamental rights.
Greece needs solid, sustained support and solidarity as it faces great migration challenges, says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty after 2 days of meetings in Athens with authorities.
In the latest edition of his video blog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty speaks about the importance and power of hope accompanying the work of FRA in 2020. Particularly after a troubled start of the year.
Check out the EU's modern human rights catalogue and its chapter about Freedoms.
Check out the EU's modern human rights catalogue and its chapter about Equality.
Check out the EU's modern human rights catalogue and its chapter about Solidarity.
Improve law and policies by always checking the applicability of the Charter!
Check out the EU's modern human rights catalogue and its chapters starting with Dignity.
Check out the EU's modern human rights catalogue! The Charter celebrates this year its 10th anniversary since it became legally binding!
This video, shot at the recent Human Rights Communicators' Network Workshop, highlights many comments from the inspirational discussions on how elements of FRA's 10 keys to effectively communicate human rights can influence our day-to-day work.
Talk by Sarah Wishart of Rights Info at the Human Rights Communicators' Workshop held at FRA on 3-4 October 2019.
Talk by Szczepan Orlowski of Animorph at the Human Rights Communicators' Workshop held at FRA on 3-4 October 2019.
Talk by Flavia Kleiner of Operation Libero to the Human Rights Communicators' Workshop held at FRA on 3-4 October 2019.
FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty gave the opening talk at the Human Rights Communicators' Workshop held at the Agency on 3-4 October 2019.
In the latest edition of his video blog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty focuses on the migration situation in the Mediterranean Sea and makes three proposals.
Fundamental Rights Report 2019: Ten years after the UN’s Disability Convention entered into force, 2018 saw it continue
to drive advances in disability rights across the EU.
Fundamental Rights Report 2019: The Charter of Fundamental Rights is the EU’s bill of human rights. These rights and principles have to be respected and promoted by EU institutions and Member States whenever they act within EU law. Approaching the Charter’s 10th anniversary, Member States do not yet make full use of the potential it offers.
FRA joined the OECD’s Civic Space Advisory Group meeting on 8 September.
FRA took part in a meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies’ Network at EU Asylum Agency in Valetta on 5 September.
FRA contributed to the OSCE’s human dimension committee meeting on 12 September.
FRA spoke at a seminar on civil society policy on 12 September.
The newly-appointed Scientific Committee of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency elected John Morijn as its Chair and Kirsten Roberts Lyer as its Vice-Chair for a term of one year.
FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty presented two new FRA reports to the European Parliament and the Council.
Across the world, human rights defenders take action to protect and promote human rights. But many of them face persecution in their home countries due to their human rights work. As there is no common, consistent EU approach, it is often difficult for them to find safety in the EU. Lack of information and obstacles in obtaining visa are some of the main challenges they face, finds an EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) report. More flexible relocation programmes and practical support would help.
FRA organised an information session on its data explorers. The session provided an overview of available datasets, and explained how to search, visualise or export the data. More than 40 representatives of national authorities across the EU joined the presentation.
On 8 and 9 June, the FRA Director met with Spanish government officials in the run-up to the Presidency of the Council of the EU in Madrid.
The European Commission and FRA hosted a seminar on ‘Supporting civil society organisations and human rights defenders through funding’ on 19 June in Brussels.
FRA launched a major new version of its European Fundamental Rights Information System – EFRIS.
FRA presented its ongoing work on a report on human rights defenders’ access to the EU at the annual meeting of the EU Temporary Relocation Platform.
Fundamental rights have weathered multiple storms recently as various crises impact Europe and the wider world. Participants at a high-level conference drew lessons from crises, past and present, and charted a way forward to make human rights structures more resilient.
FRA took part in the regular meeting of EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies Heads of Communication
FRA had its annual Directors level meeting with the EEA and Norway Grants in Oslo on 5 June.
The impact of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, rising child poverty, widespread hate and protecting rights in the face of technological change are just some of the pressing human rights issues in FRA’s 2023 Fundamental Rights Report. With a focus section on the impact of the aggression within the EU, the report examines the support and solidarity provided by governments, local authorities and society. It suggests how EU countries can better ensure effective protection, especially for women who fled the conflict and need targeted support.
The EU & International Affairs Committee of the Law Society of Ireland invited FRA’s Director to deliver a speech in Dublin on 15 May.
FRA met online with member organisations of the European Youth Forum to consult on their civic space challenges.
FRA spoke at a European Commission seminar on protecting civic space on 10 May in Brussels.
On 26 April, FRA joined a webinar on the role of local governments policies based in human rights.
FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty will present FRA’s upcoming report on protecting human rights defenders at risk to the European Parliament’s Human Rights subcommittee (DROI) on 28 June.
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The Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU will convene experts from Member States, EU institutions and other stakeholders for the Stockholm Symposium on Democracy and the Rule of Law.
On 21 June, FRA will welcome a delegation from the Serbian judiciary.
On 24 May, FRA will present to members of the European Association of Lawyers its work, tools and material on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
FRA will have exchange views with Human Dimension experts from the EU Delegation and EU Member States Permanent Representations to the OSCE.
FRA will present its Framework for Human Rights Cities to staff of Polish cities in a webinar organised by the Polish Association of Municipalities.
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A high-level conference on institutional protection of fundamental rights in times of crises will take place in Lund from 20 to 21 April. It will provide a forum to discuss how structures to protect fundamental rights in the European Union can be made more robust and resilient in times of crises. The event aims to explore what can we learn from crises, past and present, and how can we best move forward. The event will be live streamed.
On 25 April, FRA will hold one of its monthly webinars for civil society organisations participating in the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP).
On 30 March, FRA will deliver the keynote address opening day 2 of the Media Freedom Rapid Response Summit (MFRR).
On 21 March, FRA will host a hybrid event on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights for a group of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs).
FRA will join a policy debate on protecting civil society and defending democracy hosted by the European Civic Forum.
FRA will speak at this year’s Civil Society Days of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
FRA Director, Michael O’Flaherty, will deliver a video message at the closing conference of the 2023 edition of the Human Rights go local Winter Academy.
FRA’s Director will meet the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on 6 February in Geneva.
On 12 December, FRA will speak at the online seminar in Turku about Human Rights Cities and its framework for localizing human rights.
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The Agency’s Executive Board and Management Board will meet in Vienna on 15 and 16 December.
FRA will speak at the official opening of the International Human Rights Day celebration ‘Dignity, Equality, Solidarity’ in Warsaw on 9 December.
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Once again, FRA is cooperating with this year’s 'this human world', Vienna’s international human rights film festival. FRA supports the screening of three films on human rights.

On 21 November, FRA will hold a virtual lecture for students of the European University of Cyprus.
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FRA’s Director will visit the Council of Europe from 15 to 16 November in Strasbourg.