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«Fostering Human Rights among European Policies Large-Scale FP7 Collaborative Project GA No. 320000 1 May 2013-30 April 2017 Report on the EU’s ...»

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FRAME Deliverable No. 5.6 organisations on human rights’.113 In line with his mandate, he has repeatedly met with OAS representatives or participated in OAS events.114 As the Union’s executive body, the European Commission ensures and oversees the application of EU primary and secondary law.115 It actively engages in mainstreaming human rights across all policy areas116 and represents the Union externally in all areas that do not fall under the CFSP.117 In the Union’s pre-Lisbon setting, the European Commission was responsible for signing the MoU with the OAS.

Finally, the European Parliament is considered to play ‘a leading role in the promotion of human rights, in particular through its resolutions’.118 As the Council has stated in the Strategic Framework, the European Parliament’s ‘democratic mandate gives it particular authority and expertise in the field of human rights’. It has repeatedly adopted resolutions dealing with the human rights situation in the Americas and containing explicit references to the IASHR. In 2012, for example, it adopted a resolution on the possible withdrawal of Venezuela from the IACHR,119 and in 2014 it called on the President of Venezuela to ‘to abide by the international treaties to which Venezuela is a party, in particular the Inter-American Democratic Charter’.120 In addition, the Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) has discussed on several occasions issues of relevance for the IASHR or invited representatives of the latter to participate in the Committee’s meetings.121 Council Decision 2012/440/CFSP (n 112) art 3(c).

See for example the meeting of the EUSR with the OAS Secretary General in February 2014, OAS, ‘OAS Secretary General Receives EU Special Representative for Human Rights’, 27 February 2014, www.oas.org/en/media_center/photonews.asp?sCodigo=FNE-13984 or his participation in the 61st OAS Policy Roundtable in October 2014, www.oas.org/en/ser/dia/outreach/docs/61_Policy_Round_Table_Program.pdf.

TEU art 17(1), 27(2).

For a detailed analysis of the human rights policy of the various Commission DGs, see Monika Mayrhofer, Katharina Häusler, Renata Bregaglio, Carmela Chavez, Tingting Dai, Felipe Gómez Isa, Venkatachala Hegde, Jakub Jaraczewski, Magnus Killander, Karin Lukas, María Nagore, Bright Nkrumah, Lingying Yin, ‘Report on the global human rights protection governance system’, FRAME Deliverable 4.2, forthcoming July 2015.

TEU art 17(1).

Council of the European Union, ‘EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy’ (n 1) 9.

European Parliament resolution of 24 May 2012 on the possible withdrawal of Venezuela from the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (2012/2653(RSP)) [2013] OJ C 264E/88. See also infra, ch IV.

European Parliament resolution of 27 February 2014 on the situation in Venezuela (2014/2600(RSP)).

See for example the joint event of DROI and the European Parliament’s Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality on femicide in Mexico and Central America, 10 October 2011, Doc No 15341/11, or the 2012 hearing on the Inter-American Human Rights Mechanism in which e.g. the Executive Secretary of the IACHR participated, 30 January 2012, Doc No 5902/12.

FRAME Deliverable No. 5.6 IV. Substantive goals and objectives of the EU with regard to the OAS in the field of human rights The EU has identified human rights in general as a policy area on which it intends to cooperate with the OAS.122 The 2009 MoU between the EU and the OAS lists human rights among the areas in which both organisations seek to intensify their dialogue and cooperation. Similarly, the EU’s 2012 Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy includes the OAS as one of those regional organisations with which the EU seeks to ‘work in partnership’ and ‘intensify dialogue […] for the promotion of universal human rights standards’.123 Apart from this general commitment to human rights promotion and protection, the EU’s concrete goals and objectives with regard to its human rights cooperation with the OAS have been specified in few policy documents. The EU publishes no specific policy documents identifying certain thematic human rights issues or methods of cooperation in its bilateral relations with the OAS, although such documents can be found with respect to the EU’s relationships with other international institutions, such as the United Nations (UN).124 Nevertheless, the MoU, the EU’s Human Rights Guidelines, its statements and concrete actions allow one to identify certain priorities and strategies.

The MoU was concluded by the European Commission and the OAS on 17 December 2009 with the aim of enhancing ‘their dialogue and the effectiveness of their efforts to achieve their common goals and objectives in sectors of mutual interest’.125 Not only does the MoU identify the promotion and protection of human rights as one of the areas for cooperation, but it also explicitly identifies freedom of expression, the promotion of ethnic and racial equality and the rights of the most vulnerable groups as thematic priorities.126 This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but it gives an indication of those human rights issues on which the EU and the OAS might intend to focus on their cooperation. The MoU also specifies that these priority areas should be addressed through formal, regular bilateral consultative meetings, ongoing consultation and reciprocal sharing of information as well as through an exchange of experiences and best practices.127 The EU’s focus on vulnerable groups has also been illustrated by the recently concluded financing agreement ‘Support and Strengthening of the Work of the Inter-American Human Rights System through the promotion and protection of the rights of the most vulnerable and excluded communities and groups in the Americas’.128 Under this agreement, the EIDHR will contribute EUR 1 million to the IACHR and the IACtHR in order to support them in their efforts to promote and protect human rights of the most vulnerable and excluded groups and communities in the region through a closer interaction with national actors; through the development of case law and legal norms that will For more detail see supra, ch II.





Council of the European Union, ‘EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy’ (n 1).

See only Baranowska and others (n 87) 77 et seq.

Memorandum of Understanding between the European Commission and the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (n 4) para 3.

ibid para 5(a).

ibid para 6.

OAS, ‘OAS and European Union Sign Financing Agreement to Strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights System’, press release, 22 March 2014, www.oas.org/en/media_center/press_release.asp?sCodigo=EFRAME Deliverable No. 5.6 influence member states policies and legislation; through increased knowledge and understanding of the Inter-American human rights system; and through improved access to the system for victims of human rights violations.129 Similarly, in a statement on the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2014 the EU declared that it ‘raises the rights of indigenous peoples wherever relevant […] in multilateral forums such as the […] Organisation of American States’.130 In addition, the Union’s human rights priorities are expressed through the adoption of Human Rights Guidelines dealing with particular human rights or vulnerable groups. Since 2008, a set of eleven Guidelines has been adopted, addressing children’s rights (2008) and children in armed conflict (2008), human rights defenders (2008), violence against women and girls and discrimination against them (2008), human rights dialogues (2009), compliance with international humanitarian law (2009), torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (2012), the issue of the death penalty (2013), freedom of religion or belief (2013), LGBTI rights (2013) and most recently freedom of expression online and offline (2014).The majority of these guidelines contain explicit priorities for EU cooperation with regional organisations in general or with the OAS in particular.

This engagement can take a number of forms. Most prominent is the commitment of the EU to raise particular human rights issues in the political dialogues with regional organisations.131The EU Guidelines on Torture, for example, provide that the ‘human rights component of the political dialogue between the EU and […] regional organisations shall include the issue of torture and other ill-treatment’. Similar provisions can be found in the EU Human Rights Guidelines on children’s rights, children and armed conflict, LGBTI rights, violence against women, HRDs and freedom of religion or belief.

Secondly, most guidelines commit the EU to contribute to the strengthening and implementation of existing regional safeguards on the above-mentioned human rights issues, and to promote the creation of those safeguards wherever they do not yet exist. Examples of provisions containing such contribution can be found in the EU Human Rights Guidelines on torture, death penalty, freedom of opinion and expression, violence against women, HRDs and children’s rights.132 A number of human rights guidelines explicitly refer to OAS instruments and institutions. For instance, the Guidelines on Freedom of Opinion and Expression commit the EU to ‘encourage partner countries to ratify and implement relevant […] regional human rights instruments’ and to cooperate closely with special rapporteurs from regional organisations, referring explicitly to Art. 13 ACHR and to the OAS Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression. The European Parliament has adopted several resolutions on the situation in Venezuela, in which it encouraged the state to abide by the international treaties adopted in the framework of the OAS. For instance the resolution of 24 May 2012 on the possible withdrawal of Venezuela from the IACHR, in which the European Parliament encouraged ‘the EIDHR, ‘Annual Action Programme 2013’ (n 6) action fiche 9.

EU Delegation to the United Nations – New York, ‘Statement by the Spokesperson on the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, 9 August 2014’, http://euun.europa.eu/articles/en/article_15358_en.htm.

EU Human Rights Guidelines on torture, children and armed conflict, LGBTI rights, violence against women, human rights defenders, freedom of Religion and children’s rights.

EU Human Rights Guidelines on torture, death penalty, freedom of opinion and expression, violence against women, human rights defenders and children’s rights.

FRAME Deliverable No. 5.6 Government of Venezuela and all other states in the region to recognise and implement the IACHR's decisions and recommendations’ and invited ‘those countries which have not yet acceded to the InterAmerican System of Human Rights to do so swiftly and to participate in it fully’.133 The guidelines on the death penalty equally single out the OAS as a partner organisation, stating that the ‘EU monitors closely and encourages measures and initiatives taken by other regional organisations inter alia […] the Organisation of American States, who work towards the abolition of the death penalty’. In line with this commitment the EU Delegation to the United States delivered a statement at the OAS Permanent Council meeting of 15 January 2014, in which it expressed its concern ‘about the continued use of the death penalty in the Western Hemisphere’ and supported ‘any suggestions to include a debate on the use of the death penalty […] in this organization’s work in the very near future’.134 Regional organisations such as the OAS are also considered as a source of information in the guidelines on LGBTI rights and on children’s rights. Finally, guidelines call upon the EU to cooperate with regional organisations to promote certain human rights issues, for example, through joint statements.135 Furthermore, specific agreements between the EU and the OAS or its member states and concrete actions of EU also allow to identify priorities in EU external policy towards OAS. For example, the European Union Contribution Agreement signed on 21 June 2011 to support the implementation of the OAS/CARICOM Joint Electoral Observation Mission of Haiti Presidential and Parliamentary Elections or the EU Election Observation Missions (EU EOMs) in Nicaragua (1996, 2001, 2006, 2010, 2011), Paraguay (1998, 2013), Peru (2001, 2011), Ecuador (2002, 2007, 2008, 2009), Guatemala (2003, 2007), Venezuela (2005, 2006), Mexico (2006), Haiti (2006), Bolivia (2006), El Salvador (2009, 2012), Bolivia (2009), Honduras (2013), clearly demonstrate how democracy and strengthening of political rights are a central theme in the EU foreign policy towards the Americas. The strengthening of democracy has a direct impact on human rights because, as Inter-American Democratic Charter indicates, ‘Democracy is indispensable for the effective exercise of fundamental freedoms and human rights in their universality, indivisibility and interdependence, embodied in the respective constitutions of states and in inter-American and international human rights instruments’.136 The strategy development process of EU external human rights activity spans four consecutive stages.137 In a first step, COHOM is responsible for drafting the policy document and gathering internal and external input. Internally, COHOM cooperates inter alia with other Council working parties, the EEAS, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Special Representative for Human Rights and with EU delegations. Externally, COHOM reaches out to other international organisations, HRDs and civil society. The draft proposal is then sent to the PSC for discussion and endorsement at ambassadorial level. Subsequently, the draft proposal is forwarded to the Permanent Representatives European Parliament resolution of 24 May 2012 on the possible withdrawal of Venezuela from the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (n 119).

EU Delegation to the United States of America, ‘Statement to be read at the OAS Permanent Council meeting of 15 January 2014’, 15 January 2014, www.scm.oas.org/pdfs/2014/CP32178T.pdf.

EU Human Rights Guidelines on freedom of religion and compliance with international humanitarian law.

OAS, ‘Inter-American Democratic Charter’ General Assembly OEA/Ser. P/AG/RES. 1 (XXVIII-E/0) (Lima, 11 September 2001) art 7.

This paragraph is a brief summary of Baranowska and others (n 87) ch IV.B.



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