«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 ...»
FRAME Deliverable No. 5.6 Committee (COREPER II) for inclusion in the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council, by which it is finally adopted.
V. Tools/methods employed by the EU for cooperation with the OAS A. Tools and politics The tools and methods employed by the EU in its human rights cooperation with the OAS can be grouped into two broader categories. The first consists of the political dialogue on human rights that the EU has set up with OAS counterparts. This political dialogue may also serve to address respect for human rights and democracy in other policy areas like development cooperation or trade. The second category consists of the EU’s thematic approaches on the basis of the financial aid received by the OAS. These two branches are operated by the EEAS, specifically by the EU Delegations in the OAS member states, and the Permanent Observer of the EU to the OAS. It is necessary to note that the thematic approaches are developed in terms of political dialogue, but above all, through the provision of funds to the various institutions of the IASHR.138
1. The EU’s political approach The first tool that the EU employs in order to cooperate with the OAS and its member states on human rights issues is political dialogue. Political dialogue consists of diplomatic and political discussions between the EU and representatives of the OAS, the different member states and regional organisations like the Andean Community. These discussions are held alternately in Europe and Latin America (one political dialogue in Europe, one in Latin America) and are focused on the strengthening of the cooperation between the EU and the OAS on human rights and democracy. These are formal dialogues established as a consequence of the cooperation processes that started with the signature of the MoU. They bring together OAS and EEAS representatives. The OAS has in the past been represented by its Secretary General or Assistant Secretary General, the EEAS has been represented by its Secretary General or its Managing Director for the Americas.
The MoU identifies the political dialogue as one of the main areas of work between the EU and the OAS. It highlights the need to ‘[d]evelop formal, regular (at least once a year) bilateral consultative meetings, where discussion will take place on policy matters of common interest’.139 The first OAS-EU Policy Dialogue in the framework of the MoU was held on 27 February 2012 at the EU Headquarters in Brussels, to advance political dialogue and develop concrete initiatives for joint EU-OAS cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The meeting was centred on the situation and challenges in the areas of strengthening democratic institutions and promoting and defending human rights in the LAC region, as well as other matters, including the XLII General Assembly and the next OAS-EU Policy Dialogue.
The second OAS-EU Policy Dialogue within the framework of the MoU was held on 21 March 2013 at the OAS Headquarters in Washington D.C. On this occasion, the discussion was centred on topics of security, political issues and human rights in the hemisphere. In addition, a Colloquium between political advisers from the European Delegations in the Americas and the General Secretary accompanied by officials of the OAS was held on the same date. Civil society is also involved in the
dialogues through consultation and seminars organised during the year to directly feed the discussion in the official dialogues.
Art. 6 MoU also refers to the political dialogues between EU and political representatives of Latin American and Caribbean states. These political dialogues, known as EU-LAC Summit, have been held every two years since 1999 and aim to develop bi-regional cooperation on different topics including human rights and democracy.
In 2005, the European Commission communicated to the Council and the European Parliament a series of recommendations to strengthen the partnership between the EU and Latin America. On political dialogue, the Commission recommended conducting a needs-based political dialogue with the appropriate partners at bi-regional, bilateral or sub-regional level, on carefully chosen topics; selecting a restricted number of topics; preparing political dialogue at meetings of senior officials; [and] regularly organising informal political dialogue meetings at senior official level with some countries on a needs basis.140 As a consequence of this recommendation, EU-LAC Summits have since been dedicated to specific issue areas. For example, the 2015 summit has been held under the theme ‘Shaping our common future: working for prosperous, cohesive and sustainable societies for our citizens’.141
2. The EU’s thematic approach The second method employed by the EU is the thematic approach that includes support for different thematic lines using specific cooperation agreements and financing tools. By this approach, the EU intends to enhance respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and to strengthen the role of civil society in promoting these topics. This thematic approach is divided into two fields: the issues discussed by the EEAS and those related to the work of the Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO).
With regard to the EEAS, the main topics of work are directly related to the EU Human Rights Guidelines and include topics like torture and ill-treatment, death penalty, discrimination, LGBTI rights, the rights of women, children, minorities and indigenous people, freedom of religion, freedom of opinion and expression, economic, social and cultural rights, the fight against impunity, and democracy through electoral observation missions. An example of this work is the current cooperation agreement between the EEAS and OAS General Secretariat: Working Arrangement between the EEAS and the OAS on Cooperation in the Field of Conflict Analysis, Early Warning and Crisis Response signed on 23 September 2014.
In addition, the work done in the different thematic lines includes participation of EU representatives in events organised by OAS institutions. For example, in July 2011 EU Delegates participated in the ‘Dialogue on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders’ held by the Rapporteurship of Human Rights
Defenders,142 and in June 2012 in a conference on ‘Prevention of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in Uruguay’.143 Furthermore, OAS representatives have participated in events organised by EU institutions. For example in December 2013, the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR participated in the 15th EU-NGO Forum on Human Rights organised by the European Commission.144 The participation in these events creates a constant dialogue on human rights between the EU and the OAS. Although this dialogue does not have a concrete (‘measurable’) result, it allows both organisations to discuss standards on human rights.
On the other hand, regarding the issues discussed by DG DEVCO, until 2013 the thematic lines include the following topics: migration and asylum, environment and sustainable management of natural resources, food security, investing in people and non-state actors and local authorities. These themes correspond to the thematic programmes implemented during the 2007-2013 multi-annual financial period. Since 2014, the thematic programmes were reduced and cover two areas: i) global goods and challenges, and ii) non-state actors and local authorities. The first theme covers topics such as human rights, where projects are promoted in the various areas related to the EU Human Rights Guidelines like in the case of the EEAS.
B. Financing The work of both EU institutions – EEAS and DG DEVCO – in the thematic lines described above requires financial support. In the case of the OAS and its member states, financial support passes through two instruments: the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), a thematic instrument related to the promotion of the rule of law, democracy and protection of human rights; and the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), a geographical instrument that provides financing for inter alia the Latin American region.
The EIDHR was created in 2006 to provide assistance to third countries in order to contribute to the development and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, as well as the respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.145 This assistance is concretised through (i) economic support for civil society organisations, human rights defenders and victims of repression and abuse, (ii) supporting and strengthening the international and regional framework for the protection, promotion and monitoring of human rights, in this case the OAS, and (iii) promoting electoral processes through the EU election observation missions. However, the main part of EU contributions are oriented towards civil society organisations. In that sense, the distribution of funding is 90% for civil society organisations and 10% for international organisations.146 In the specific case of the OAS, the EU has provided funds since 1994. However, there is no publicly available information about the specific amounts of the contributions in the first years of IACHR, ‘2011 Annual Report’, OEA/Ser.L/V/II, 30 December 2011, www.oas.org/en/iachr/docs/annual/2011/toc.asp, para 67.
IACHR, ‘2012 Annual Report’, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.147, 13 March 2013, www.oas.org/en/iachr/docs/annual/2012/TOC.asp, para 162.
IACHR, ‘2013 Annual Report’, OEA/Ser.L/V/II, 31 December 2013, http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/docs/annual/2013/TOC.asp, para 121.
Regulation (EC) No 1889/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on establishing a financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide  OJ L 386/1.
According to information provided by EIDHR: www.eidhr.eu/who-are-our-partners.
FRAME Deliverable No. 5.6 collaboration. The contributions provided with respect to human rights were directed towards the IACHR (and its rapporteurships) and the IACtHR (table 2). In addition, there are also contributions in other thematic areas including drugs, development and public security, which will however not form part of the analysis in this report (table 3 and figure 1). It is important to note that – other than e.g.
its financial contributions to the United Nations – the EU does not technically consider its financial contributions to the OAS as ‘contributions’. Instead, they are technically considered as ‘grant agreements’ since the OAS does not fulfil the conditions required in the EU’s Pillar Assessments for contributions.147 Table 2: Financial contributions of the EU to the IASHR
Taking into consideration that the total amount of EU financial contributions to the OAS between 1999 and 2014 amounted to USD 21,991,553.57,148 the EU’s global financial contribution to the IASHR represents 23.12% of that amount. Out of this, the EU’s human rights contributions are focused on the IACHR with 74.94% (USD 3,809,914.27), while the IACtHR only received 25.06% (USD 1,274,339.30).
Table 3: EU financial contributions to the OAS by thematic area
Source: OAS Department of International Affairs, ‘European Union – profile’ (http://www.oas.org/en/ser/dia/perm_observers/countries.asp) and the information available on IACtHR website about contribution and donations (http://www.corteidh.or.cr/index.php/en/court-today/contributions-and-donations);
Made by: IDEHPUCP Human rights and democracy together represent 51% of the EU’s financial contribution. This corresponds to the EU’s strong focus on human rights and democracy in its cooperation with the OAS.
Furthermore, is important to note that the other issues to which the EU has allocated funds are not disconnected from the promotion of human rights. In that sense, drugs and crime (related to public security) are issues that seriously affect the enjoyment and exercise of human rights by American citizens. These issues involve serious violations of human rights and undermine democracy. Thus, through the support of projects seeking to limit and eliminate problems related to illicit drug trafficking and insecurity, the EU is also contributing to the protection of human rights and democracy in the region. The same argument applies to funds related to sustainable development. An undeveloped region is a region where people do not have access to their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Therefore promoting sustainable development also involves promoting better public policy of respect for fundamental rights.
It is important to note that there is no publicly available data for the results of the various projects which have received EU funds. Thus, it is not possible for us to evaluate whether there were tangible benefits and concrete outcomes that will encourage the EU to continue its financial contributions to the IASHR. This information is kept confidential by the EU and its regional offices. It would be appropriate, in that regard, to publish periodical communications on the results of projects with EU funds in order to improve transparency and enable their analysis by institutions, universities and the general public. The access to information and public participation in the cooperation processes is also a way to strengthen democracy and human rights in the region.