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
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.
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.
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!
12
November
2019
The Charter is most effective, and has a real impact on people’s lives, when parliaments, governments and courts at local, regional and national levels all actively apply it. The national sphere is particularly relevant. A strong fundamental rights architecture and committed national governments and parliaments are key to letting the Charter unfold its potential at this level. Civil society organisations (CSOs) and national human rights institutions (NHRIs) are also crucial given their contributions to the protection and promotion of Charter rights.
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.
Fundamental Rights Report 2019: Implementing fundamental and human rights helps create a sustainable future.
Here the EU plays a key role.
19
June
2019
In 2018, some 2,299 people are estimated to have died or gone missing at sea while crossing the sea to reach Europe to escape war or persecution or to pursue a better life. This is on average more than six people per day. Before mid-2017, a significant share 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. In 2018, however, authorities in some Member States viewed civil society-deployed rescue vessels with hostility. As a reaction, they seized rescue vessels, arrested crew members, and initiated legal procedures against them (more than a dozen altogether). In some cases, rescue vessels were blocked in harbours due to flag issues.
12
June
2019
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has applied across the European Union (EU) since 25 May 2018. One year on, this paper looks at how the new regulation has affected the daily work of civil society organisations (CSOs).
6
June
2019
This year’s focus explores the interrelationship between the human and fundamental rights framework and the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) of the global Agenda 2030 in the context of Member States’ and the EU’s internal policies.
It takes a closer look at the SDGs related to reducing inequality (SDG 10) and promoting peace, justice and strong
institutions (SDG 16).
The FRA Director joined the EU’s Justice Council in Luxembourg on 13 October.
FRA joined the 10th Strategic Meeting of Mechanisms and Programmes for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
FRA shared key findings from its civic space work with the Finish Advisory Board on Civil Society Policy (KANE).
The FRA Director visited The Hague on 4 and 5 October.
FRA participated in the third meeting of the contact points of the Justice and Home Affairs agencies network on 28 September.
The social rights platform of the Council of Europe, FRA and European networks of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) and Equality Bodies (Equinet) met on 19 and 20 September.
FRA spoke during the 10th Strategic Meeting of Mechanisms and Programmes for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
On 16 September, FRA’s Management Board elected Jim Clarken as a new Chairperson. He will take office on 20 September 2022.
On 5-6 September, FRA contributed to the OSCE-ODIHR international conference in Warsaw on building resilient NHRIs.
On 7-8 September, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) brought together sixty human rights leaders and experts to discuss three major challenges: the climate crisis, the rise of disinformation, and the war in Ukraine. These are complex challenges that require multi-faceted responses. The aim was to consider what contribution human rights could make and to inspire bold action.
FRA’s Director exchanged views with deputies from the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on 6 July in Strasbourg.
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. But despite positive developments, civil society continues to face numerous challenges ranging from harassment to restrictive laws, finds the latest civic space report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). It underlines the need for Europe to ensure a more conducive working environment for civil society.
On 5 July, the Presidency of the the European Economic and Social Committee’s ad hoc group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law (FRRL) visited FRA.
FRA contributed to a conference organised by the project ‘Reclaim Our Civil Space’.
On 29 June, FRA updated its overview on the accreditation status and mandates of National Human Rights Institutions.
On 17 June, FRA, in cooperation with the European Law Students Association (ELSA), held a webinar on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The pandemic triggered unprecedented EU financial support to counter the social impact of Covid-19. Many people in the EU, especially vulnerable people, faced reduced access to healthcare, childcare, education and the internet. This has led to excess mortality, poverty, unemployment and social exclusion. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2022 outlines the pandemic’s wide-ranging impact on social rights. It also suggests how to address increasing inequalities and threats to societal cohesion.
On 19 May, FRA co-hosted an online seminar on the EU’s Fundamental Rights Charter for Committee of the Regions staff.
On 3 May, FRA gave the European perspective during a panel discussion on the work of a human rights city during Lund’s sustainability week.
The FRA Director exchanged views with the Council of the EU’s Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizen’s Rights and Free Movement of Persons (FREMP) on 13 May 2022.
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FRA will join the Council of Europe conference ‘Speaking Human Rights Online’ in Brussels.
On 12 April, FRA will meet a group of 30 students from the French National Institute for local Studies (INET).
On 6 April, FRA will run a webinar on the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) and how civil society organisations can make use of it.
What is the future for business and human rights?
FRA’s Executive Board will meet on 11 March via videoconference.
On 28 February, FRA Scientific Committee will meet for its 56th meeting (online).
On 24 February, FRA’s Director will speak during the opening panel of the UN-EU high-level policy dialogue ‘Protecting the safety of journalists, media freedom and pluralism in the European Union: challenges and opportunities’.
On 8 February, FRA will contribute to a high-level panel discussion during the closing of the Winter Academy.
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FRA will speak at the 2022 Winter Academy on ‘human rights go local: what works’.
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FRA will take part in two European Commission workshops that aim to help prepare a legislative proposal on binding standards for Equality Bodies.
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FRA’s Executive Board and Management Board will meet via videoconference on 16 and 17 December.
FRA will join a webinar on 10 December organised by the municipality of Helsinki. The event will look at the human rights-based approach in local government and the Human Rights City initiative. FRA will introduce its framework for Human Rights Cities, how it is linked to EU policy developments and how it can support cities to reinforce human and fundamental rights.
The Agency’s Scientific Committee will meet on 3 December via videoconference.
FRA will join a webinar on the rise of Human Rights Cities in the EU on 3 December.
On 30 November, the EEA and Norway Grants, and FRA will have their annual meeting in Oslo.
FRA will join an online discussion on 26 November on methodologies for annual reports.
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As part of its work on civic space, FRA consults annually civil society organisations from across the EU about their experiences.
The FRA Director will attend the annual meeting of Heads of EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies in Warsaw on 22 November.
On 16 November, FRA and the European Committee of the Regions’ Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional & External Affairs (CIVEX) will hold their Annual Dialogue on fundamental rights.