16 January 2020

Video blog by Michael O'Flaherty: hope in 2020

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.

We’ve had a very troubled start to 2020. We’ve had natural disasters in many places linked to climate change. We’ve had attacks on civilians, suicide bombers and others in many places. We’ve had assassinations and reprisals. Here in Europe we’ve had repeated acts of hatred directed against vulnerable people within our societies.

It’s easy to be hopeless at a time like this, to lose a sense of a society that’s getting better, stronger and more fair.

Those of us who work in the area of human rights know however that we can build that society. We know that our human rights work can and does make a difference for humans.

This is the time when we have to be hopeful ourselves and spread hope through our human rights work. Here at the Fundamental Rights Agency we are going to concentrate on that in 2020. We are going to publish survey data for example to contribute to better stronger policies. For example, for our LGBTI communities.

We are going to publish innovative research on tough topics like fundamental rights and counterterrorism to show that that’s not a zero-sum game, but that a human rights approach makes for better security.

We are going to do capacity work on the ground helping people including EU officials to do their work including on Europe’s frontiers in a way that is more respectful of fundamental rights.

And we are going to bring people together to have the necessary conversations to solve tough problems. For example, for the first time in the context of the European capitals of culture.

So I invite you like us to invest in hope in 2020. I wish us all a very Happy New Year as ambassadors of hope.