Statement on Human Rights Day – 10th December 2010 (06/12/2010)
The 10th December 2010 marks the 62nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the principles of which are now widely recognised in the laws and Constitutions of many countries. The theme for this year's Human Rights Day is Human Rights Defenders who act to end discrimination. The motto is 'Speak up, stop discrimination'.
The struggle against all forms of discrimination worldwide represents one of the main objectives of European Unions (EU) human rights policy. Furthermore, the EU advocates the work of Human Rights Defenders around the world and has enshrined anti-discrimination in the Treaty of Lisbon which states;
'The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities'.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Article 21) also prohibits any discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age, sexual orientation or nationality.
Regarding Human Rights Defenders, the EU has consistently sought to support and protect the world of human rights defenders throughout the world. The EU has had guidelines on human rights defenders since 2004. Since the guidelines were established the EU has sought to translate them into actions, for example by elaborating local strategies for the implementation of the guidelines in countries outside of the EU. Based on these experiences, the guidelines were revised in 2008 and a copy of the updated guidelines can be downloaded here .
In terms of financial support, the EU has allocated €16 million in support to human rights defenders under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) for the period 2007-2013. Following a first call for proposals, 11 specialised civil society organisations have been selected to implement activities through co-funded projects.
For further information about these organisations and other EU activity in this area please refer to this link.