European Parliament debates the Hautala report on Human Rights Defenders today

European Parliament will debate today the Committee on Foreign Affairs report on Human Rights Defenders, which is prepared by Ms Hautala.[:] 

The report takes a critical look at current EU policies in promoting and supporting human rights defenders in third countries and makes proposals on how the EU Human Rights Policy could be made more coherent and effective. In specific, Hautala aims to define an EU strategy based on the new provisions of the Lisbon Treaty. Debate on these matters is all the more vital as there are currently clear gaps and even outright disregard in the EU policies and institutions in this regards.

Furthermore, discussion on EU policies on human rights defenders is timely for the legal landscape in human rights protection has changed in the European remit by the coming into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and the now available ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights by the EU.

Report makes several substantive and operational recommendations. The proposed programme of shelter cities would enable people to live and work in safety from persecution in Europe. The other proposal, prompt delivery of visas and urgency visas for human rights defenders at risk and in emergency situations would effectively enable the EU to remove these people from the risk situations. Another key recommendation of the report is to create human rights focal points into the European Parliament, the European External Action Service and the EU Delegations abroad.