As has been done at the start of previous presidencies, Amnesty International delivered today (21.1.2014) in Brussels its recommendations to the Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU. Senior Executive Officer on Legal Affairs and Human Rights in the EU, Natacha Kazatchkine, presented the six-point human rights recommendations agenda to Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, Charalampos Athanasiou.
“One of the key objectives of the EU is the promotion of human rights, both internally and externally”, stressed Mr Athanasiou. “Human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights are the core values of the EU. The Presidency will work towards the integration of human rights in all EU policy areas in order to achieve maximum coherence in the internal and external policies of the Union regarding human rights protection”, he added. Minister Athanasiou said that the EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is a high priority for the Presidency. Finally, he assured Amnesty International that the Greek Presidency will make the best possible use of the recommendations.
On her part, Ms Kazatchkine underlined that the EU has to put human rights protection at the forefront of its actions. “Human rights protection must be integrated into the strategic guidelines of the new JHA multiannual programme. The area of freedom, security and justice must be built around human rights”, she added and handed over Amnesty International’s contribution to the European Commission’s public consultation on “Shaping Justice policies in Europe for the years to come”.
The recommendations address the EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the fight against discrimination, Roma and women’s rights, corporate accountability and treatment of migrants and asylum-seekers. The organisation asked the Greek Presidency to ensure that the EU’s commitment to respect human rights, as enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty, is upheld and that the overall approach is human-rights based. To this aim, Amnesty International called upon the Presidency to develop a multidisciplinary EU-internal human rights framework strategy and action plan.
Amnesty International systematically reviews the EU’s performance and its impact on human rights in the world and makes recommendations to the different institutions in accordance with an effective implementation of their human rights obligations.