Fundamental Rights Report 2021

FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2021 reviews major developments in the field in 2020, 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 the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fundamental rights. The remaining chapters cover: the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; equality and non-discrimination; racism, xenophobia and related intolerance; Roma equality and inclusion; asylum, borders and migration; information society, privacy and data protection; rights of the child; access to justice; and the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The year 2020 was one of remarkable juxtapositions. On the one hand, the EU introduced and developed multiple policy and legal frameworks, long-term strategies and action plans relating to a broad spectrum of fundamental rights. The reflection and foresight they embody will shape political agendas for years to come – whether on equality, social inclusion, artificial intelligence, migration, disability, victims’ rights or the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

On the other hand, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic served as a brutal reminder of how quickly unanticipated challenges can dominate world events – and underlined the importance of being able to tear up scripts and adapt on the spot. It too will surely leave a lasting mark.

Not surprisingly, this year’s focus section, ‘The Coronavirus pandemic and fundamental rights: a year in review’, explores the pandemic’s profound effect on a wide range of human and fundamental rights. The section also highlights some positive measures nimbly devised by diverse authorities. Yet mostly it paints a rather grim picture of challenges and inequalities often exacerbated by the – still ongoing – health crisis.

Annex - Vessels kept at sea

As in previous years, throughout 2020, rescue boats in the central Mediterranean remained at sea for a long time while awaiting authorisation to enter a safe port.

In 22 instances, vessels had to remain at sea for more than a day (in some cases to carry out multiple rescue operations) before the national authorities allowed them to dock. These instances involved a total of 3,597 rescued migrants and refugees, including at least 954 children. In seven cases, they had to wait for a week or more.

A list of all vessels kept at sea for more than 24 hours while waiting for a safe port in 2020 can be found in the file below:

Annex: Vessels kept at sea for more than 24 hours while waiting for a safe port, 2020 (pdf, 94.48 KB) >>