Fundamental rights: key legal and policy developments in 2011

This year‘s summary of the FRA Annual report – Highlights 2011 – chronicles the positive developments made in 2011 as well as the challenges facing the EU and its Member States in the field of fundamental rights, drawing on objective, reliable and comparable socio-legal data.

To secure and safeguard the fundamental rights of everyone in the European Union (EU), the EU and its 27 Member States pressed forward with a number of initiatives in 2011. The EU adopted key legislative and policy measures in, for example, the areas of victim protection, human trafficking and the integration of Roma, and, for the first time, was itself directly bound to an international human rights treaty – the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Various Member States, among other steps, reformed their child protection systems and made efforts to
combat violence against women and shorten the length of court proceedings.

Challenges, however, remain. The areas of racism, equality and non-discrimination will continue to be core concerns. The year 2012 will also be crucial to the finalisation of the Common European Asylum System and the debate on the new EU data protection framework.

This summary presents selected key issues in the fundamental rights field, covering the following topics: asylum, immigration and integration; border control and visa policy; information society and data protection; the rights of the child and protection of children; equality and non-discrimination; racism and ethnic discrimination; participation of EU citizens in the Union’s democratic functioning; access to efficient and independent justice; and rights of crime victims.