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
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.
16
December
2020
All language versions now available
20 July 2021
The EU is founded on the values of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. Yet these values, and discussions on fundamental rights at the EU and Member State level, can seem remote in people’s daily lives. With this in mind, FRA explored what people understand, know and experience with respect to their fundamental rights in practice. The resulting data provide comprehensive and comparable evidence on these aspects.
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.
30
November
2020
This report outlines some of the measures EU Member States have put in place to protect public health as Europe faces the ‘second wave’ of the Coronavirus pandemic. It highlights how these may affect fundamental rights, especially social 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".
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".
3
September
2020
Summary version now available
21 January 2021
National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are a vital part of the country-level human rights protection system. This report, published 10 years after FRA’s first in-depth study on NHRIs, looks at such bodies in the EU, as well as the Republic of North Macedonia, the Republic of Serbia, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It explores relevant developments, challenges to their effectiveness and ways to maximise their impact.
The Agency cooperates with the EEA and Norway Grants as a strategic partner in the protection, promotion and fulfillment of fundamental rights.
The cooperation aims to support the design and implementation of EEA and Norway Grants funded programmes and projects in selected EU Member States. It also aims to raise awareness on fundamental rights, combating social exclusion and discrimination, and supporting related civil society initiatives.
29
July
2020
As we enter the second half of 2020, the constraints on our daily lives brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic have become a firm reality. New local lockdowns and the reintroduction of restrictive measures prompted by fresh outbreaks of the virus are a stark reminder that COVID-19 continues to shape our lives – and our enjoyment of fundamental rights – in profound ways. There is compelling evidence of how the pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges in our societies. This FRA Bulletin outlines some of the measures EU Member States adopted to safely reopen their societies and economies while continuing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It highlights the impact these measures may have on civil, political and socioeconomic rights.
28
July
2020
This paper presents key findings from FRA’s second consultation of its Fundamental Rights Platform, focusing on the experiences of civil society organisations (CSOs) working on human rights. FRA started an annual consultation with organisations participating in its platform in 2018.
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.
24
June
2020
Summary version now available
07 December 2020
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Survey collected data from 35,000 people about their experiences, perceptions and opinions on a range of issues that are variously encompassed by human rights. This report presents a small selection of the survey results. It focuses on findings with respect to respondents’ opinions about human – or fundamental rights; their views and perceptions on the functioning of democratic societies – as a pillar on which human rights can flourish; and on their thoughts on and engagement with public services that have a duty to enforce human rights law and to protect people’s rights.
19
June
2020
In 2019, the International Organization for Migration estimated that 1,866 people have died or gone missing while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe to escape war or persecution or to pursue a better life. This is an average of five people per day. In recent years, a significant proportion of migrants in distress at sea have been rescued by civil society vessels deployed with a humanitarian mandate to reduce fatalities and bring rescued migrants to safety. Since 2018, however, authorities in some EU Member States started viewing civil society-deployed rescue vessels with hostility. As a reaction, national authorities initiated about 40 administrative and criminal proceedings against crew members or vessels, including seizing the latter. In some cases, rescue vessels were blocked in harbours due to flag issues or the inability to meet technical requirements.
In his latest vlog Michael O'Flaherty introduces FRA's survey of 35,000 people on attitudes to human and fundamental rights.
11
June
2020
This focus takes a closer look at the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which has been legally binding for 10 years. At EU level, it has gained visibility and sparked a new fundamental rights culture. At national level, awareness and use of the Charter are limited. Courts increasingly use the Charter, showing the impact of this modern instrument. But its use by governments and parliaments remains low. For instance, there is little indication of anyone regularly scrutinising national legislation that transposes EU law for compatibility with the Charter.
11
June
2020
Now available in Macedonian and Serbian
13 November 2020
The year 2019 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2020 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. In so doing, it provides a compact but informative overview of the main fundamental rights challenges confronting the EU and its Member States.
11
June
2020
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2020 reviews major developments in the field in 2019, 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 how to unlock the full potential of the EU Charter of 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.
Fundamental Rights Report 2019: Implementing fundamental and human rights helps create a sustainable future.
Here the EU plays a key role.
In the latest edition of his video blog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty focuses on press freedom and the importance of an independent media for the society.
This video blog by FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty is released periodically and will address burning fundamental rights themes.
FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty focuses on ways to push back against challenges to our human rights system.
In this third edition of his video blog FRA Director, Michael O'Flaherty, focuses on bolstering our human rights communications to underline why human rights matter to us all.
FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty speaks about the role of civil society and the FRA’s mechanism for cooperation with civil society, the Fundamental Rights Platform. “A healthy civil society is vital for the protection and promotion of fundamental rights. (…) Without civil society, we are not able to achieve our goals, we are not able to deliver our results. (…) We can cooperate to ensure that our Europe of values remains and gets ever stronger.”
This video message by Ulrike Lunacek, Vice-President of the European Parliament, was recorded on the occasion of FRA's 10th anniversary.
In 2017 and beyond, the Fundamental Rights Agency will focus on today’s most urgent human rights quandaries, from migration and asylum, through xenophobia and discrimination, to the very contemporary challenges of privacy, surveillance and hate speech in the digital age.
FRA attended a conference organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on ‘Civil society organisations defending and strengthening European democracy’.
On 30 and 31 March, FRA participated at the International Public Information Directors Roundtable in Stockholm.
FRA held a hybrid meeting with NHRIs and the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) from 21 to 22 March. FRA also invited its National Liaison Officers and EU Charter Focal Points.
FRA developed practical guidance for cities to help them improve their efforts to respect human rights.
FRA held its regular meeting with the National Liaison Officers (NLOs) online on 23 March.
FRA participated in the first meeting in 2023 of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies’ Network in Valetta on 17 March.
The Executive Director of the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), Montserrat Marin López, and the Executive Director of the EU Agency for Asylum (EUAA), Nina Gregori, presented the highlights and priorities of the outgoing and incoming presidencies of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies’ Network (JHAAN) at the European Parliament today.
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights’ updated Charter app promises a one-stop-shop for fundamental rights for mobile devices.
The EFRIS advisory group brings together the main partners in the EU Fundamental Rights Information System (EFRIS) project.
Many cities throughout the European Union hosted people fleeing Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. To gauge how cities addressed Europe largest humanitarian crisis since World War II, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) approached selected cities in the EU.
FRA’s Director took part in the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers on 26 and 27 January in Stockholm.
The recently-elected Special Rapporteur on environmental defenders, Michel Forst, met FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty on 19 January in Vienna.
On Human Rights Day, 10 December, the FRA Director delivered the annual distinguished guest lecture at Leiden University.
On 16 December, FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty spoke at the launch of the OECD’s first global report on the protection and promotion of civic space.
On 7 December, FRA contributed to annual Human Rights celebration organised by the municipality of Vienna and the Vienna Human Rights Office.
FRA provided training on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to law drafters in Finland. It was part of a training course on fundamental and human rights when drafting laws.
FRA contributed to a two-day multi-stakeholder dialogue conference on civic space.
On 22 and 23 November, the FRA Director met with Swedish government officials in Stockholm in the run-up to the Presidency of the Council of the EU.
On 5 December representatives from the EEA and Norway Grants and FRA had their annual cooperation meeting in Vienna.
The nine EU Agencies active in the field of freedom, security and justice convened today in Budapest for a high-level meeting, chaired by CEPOL, to take stock of the main achievements in 2022, which includes the ongoing engagement with Ukraine and Moldova.
On 8 November, FRA will host a delegation from the Fundamental Rights Sector Coordination (FRSC) Project in Turkey’s European Affairs Directorate.
The annual meeting of the Fundamental Rights Platform will take place online on 10 November.
On 21 October, FRA will add concluding remarks during a launch event on how cities operationalise the Leave no one behind principle in their local policies.
-
FRA will hold its regular meeting with the National Liaison Officers in Vienna.
-
From 6 to 7 October, FRA will host an expert event on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in Vienna.
-
FRA’s Director will visit the Council of Europe on 10-11 October in Strasbourg.
FRA will speak at the European Economic and Social Committee’s (EESC) annual conference on fundamental rights and the rule of law.
On 28 September, FRA will welcome a delegation of law students from ELSA Jena in Germany.
On 29 September, FRA will welcome a delegation of students from the Volda University in Norway.
On 6 September, FRA management will meet a Council of Europe delegation.
-
FRA will host a high-level meeting of fundamental rights leaders and experts in Rust, Austria from 7 to 8 September.
On 1 September, a delegation of students will visit FRA from the Stichting Libertas International.
-
FRA will contribute to a retreat on building a European civic space at the European Forum Alpbach from 31 August to 2 September.
On 31 August, FRA’s Director will be one of the panellists at this year’s European Forum Alpbach.
On 2 September, FRA will participate in a national round-table discussion on how to ensure fundamental rights compliance when using EU funds.
On 14 July, FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty will present the Fundamental Rights Report 2022 to the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).
FRA will exchange views with Human Dimension experts from the EU Delegation and EU Member States Permanent Representations to the OSCE.
-
FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty will meet State Secretaries and staff of the German Justice and Interior Ministries on 31 May.
On 16 May, FRA will welcome a delegation of fellows from the Western Balkans Fellowship Programme.
FRA and the CIVEX Commission of the European Committee of the Regions will host on online training event on 19 May.