EDRI response on new EU human rights agency
In a response to the European Commission on 9 December 2004, EDRI welcomes the creation of a Human Rights Agency within the European Union.
“The creation of the Agency is especially relevant at a time when, one the hand, many new EU countries have joined through the expansion of member states from 15 to 25 countries and, on the other hand, the European legislation is extending its scope to new fields and sectors, especially those relevant to the third pillar,” EDRI states.
In the response EDRI stresses that since human rights issues cross-cut all policy areas of the European Union the creation of one central Agency must be complemented with more effective human rights mainstreaming in all EU policy areas and activities.
EDRI suggests that the Human Rights Agency focuses on:
1. Strengthening and promoting the protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law within the member states, and in the EU institutions and work areas.
2. Assessing human rights compliance of new EU directives and policies, including the human rights compliance of their transposition in the member states.
3. Utilising and strengthening existing networks of national monitoring and reporting with regard to human rights problems in EU member states, not least concerning diverging implementation of EU directives.
4. Developing tools to assess human rights compliance and impact.
According to EDRI the Agency should establish effective co-operation with the many other actors in the human rights field, both at national, regional and international level.
In relation to human rights compliance, EDRI suggest that an important role of the Agency could be to contribute to harmonising and improving the national assessment of human rights protection by defining human rights indicators and conducting impact studies. This would require analysis of how human rights are affected by the use of technology, how the core of a given right is potentially threatened and/or strengthened, whether the societal changes call for a more dynamic interpretation of some right, and not least to what extent the existing system of protection is adequate and effective given the new developments.
Draft proposal of the Human Rights Agency (25.10.2004)
EDRI response (09.12.2004)
(Contribution by Rikke Frank Joergensen, EDRI-member Digital Rights Denmark)