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
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).
6
June
2019
The year 2018 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2019 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 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.
22
March
2019
Member States have an explicit duty to promote the Charter’s application. These country-sheets support that effort by giving examples of the Charter’s use and highlighting how it adds value.
26
November
2018
Civil society organisations play a critical role in democracies, and the importance of their work is widely recognised in international legal and policy documents. However, they face many obstacles when it comes to their day-to-day work. Based on the results of an online consultation with FRA's civil society network, the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP), in September 2018, this paper complements the January 2018 report.
26
October
2018
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights’ 2018 Fundamental Rights Forum
brought together more than 700 human rights champions at a time of
widening social divisions and increasingly polarised politics across
Europe.
23
October
2018
ES, HU, LT, LV, SK, SL and PT versions now available
18 November 2020
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?
1
October
2018
This note draws attention to the recent trend of criminalising search and rescue operations (SAR) in the Mediterranean Sea carried out by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or other private entities. This includes seizing rescue vessels, as well as arrests for crew members, in some EU Member States. Most of such incidents concerned NGOs operating in the Central Mediterranean Sea.
1
October
2018
With this Opinion, FRA aims to contribute to the European Parliament's own-initiative report on the “Implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in the EU institutional framework”, being prepared in the Parliament’s Committee for Constitutional Affairs (AFCO). The request aims at understanding the interaction between the Charter’s implementation at national and EU level, and whether there are “instruments, mechanisms and practices” available at EU level to assist Member States to better implement the Charter.
26
September
2018
These 10 keys sum up the core points
communicators and practitioners in various fields
raised in FRA’s expert meetings, practitioners’
seminars and focus groups in 2017 and 2018.
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.
6
June
2018
The year 2017 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2018 reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern.
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.
18
January
2018
Civil society organisations in the European Union play a crucial role in promoting fundamental rights, but it has become harder for them to do so – due to both legal and practical restrictions. This report looks at the different types and patterns of challenges faced by civil society organisations working on human rights in the EU.
18
January
2018
Organizace občanské společnosti v Evropské unii hrají klíčovou úlohu při prosazování základních práv, avšak tato činnost je pro ně stále obtížnější z důvodu právních i praktických
omezení. Problémy existují ve všech členských státech EU, jejich přesná povaha a rozsah se však liší. Údaje a výzkum týkající se této problematiky, včetně srovnávacího výzkumu,
obecně chybějí.
Zpráva FRA se proto zabývá různými typy a podobami výzev, jimž organizace občanské společnosti působící v oblasti lidských práv v EU čelí.
18
January
2018
Civilsamfundsorganisationerne i EU spiller en afgørende rolle med hensyn til at fremme de grundlæggende rettigheder, men det er blevet sværere for dem at gøre det — på grund af
både lovgivningsmæssige og praktiske begrænsninger. Der er udfordringer i alle EU-medlemsstaterne, men den nøjagtige art og omfanget af dem varierer. Data og forskning om
denne problemstilling — herunder sammenlignende forskning — savnes generelt.
FRA’s rapport ser derfor på de forskellige typer og mønstre af udfordringer, som civilsamfundsorganisationer, der arbejder for menneskerettigheder i EU, står over for.
On 20 October, FRA Director delivered a keynote speech at a joint meeting of Ariadne and Assifero, the Italian network of foundations of non-banking origin. The event aimed at bringing human rights issues to the attention of Italian foundations and encouraging them to engage with these concerns at national, European, or international levels.
FRA spoke at a hearing of a European Parliament working group on access to funding for civil society.
FRA, together with OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), hosted a meeting for intergovernmental organisations and EU institutions on civil society cooperation and support for human rights defenders.
The heads of ENNHRI, Equinet and FRA met on 12 October in Brussels. They discussed current and upcoming priorities.
The European Network of Equality Bodies, Equinet, held an online round table on 11 October.
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 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.
-
FRA will speak at the 2022 Winter Academy on ‘human rights go local: what works’.
-
FRA will take part in two European Commission workshops that aim to help prepare a legislative proposal on binding standards for Equality Bodies.
-
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.
-
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.
FRA’s Director will visit the United Nations in Geneva on 18 November.