Human rights defenders are essential to democracy. Yet, the intimidation of human rights defenders in the European Union has become a serious problem and the implications for democracy are profound. Decision-makers at all levels have a responsibility to protect civic space in the European Union, writes Birgit Van Hout.
Agreements with governments that do not intend to respect the principles laid down in the texts are just cynical tools that undermine an international order built on trust, and the current Cuban government is a case in point, write Manuel Cuesta Morúa and Erik Jennische.
MEPs face a crucial decision. Will they take heed of the global outcry from the climate strikes, or will they water down key financial regulation to tackle environmental and human rights abuses, ask Rachel Owens and Lis Cunha.
Every day goods produced by European companies abroad enter the internal market, tainted by serious human rights violations. Things will not change unless Europe moves to change them, argue Heidi Hautala and Jude Kirton-Darling.
EU leaders must show that they take Roma rights and anti-Roma discrimination seriously. That means recognising their cultural identity and contribution to Europe, truth and reconciliation, argue a group of political leaders and campaigners.
The EU should be aware of plans to amend the Egyptian Constitution that could extend the power of the President indefinitely, showing the true intentions of an authoritarian state, writes Wahid Al-Asmar.
By talking only to the Cuban government, and ignoring civil society groups, the EU is allowing the Cuban state to continue its programme of repressing democracy and human rights, write Ariadna Mena Rubio, Rosa Maria Payá and Erik Jennische.
The EU has long frowned at China’s action in Africa for not requiring respect for human rights as a condition for aid and thus promoting a Chinese-inspired authoritarian Africa. But in recent years the EU is not better, writes Fabian Wagner.
Some argue that we should tread carefully and refrain from asking too much in terms of human rights from the Vietnamese, because if we do so we could end up pushing Vietnam into China’s orbit. But this doesn’t hold, writes Jude Kirton-Darling.
Russia’s possible return to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe would mean that even institutions created to defend European values are no longer able to do so, writes Volodymyr Yermolenko.
Morocco has made significant progress on a number of human rights issues since the revision of its Constitution in 2011 and the creation of the National Council of Human Rights (CNDH) in 2012, but the EU must continue using its soft power to help Rabat take up other sensitive issues, writes Willy Fautré.
According to a 2015 Eurobarometer survey, around 12% of people in Europe consider themselves at risk of discrimination. In fact, any person in Europe could potentially fall victim to this injustice, write Birgit Van Hout and Tena Šimonović Einwalter.
European leaders should treat the Egyptian election as the meaningless exercise it is. Instead of congratulating the President's coronation, they should instead make a renewed effort to voice their disagreement with his style of government, writes Anthony Dworkin.
Nearly two centuries have passed since the famous New York women’s march. Today, women and society itself, need policy-makers that live up to their obligations, make business enterprises respect human rights, and grant victims of abuses access to justice, write Claudia Saller and Adriana Espinosa.
Europe cannot turn a blind eye to the Human Rights abuses occurring in third countries, unless we rewrite the mandates of the functioning of the EU institutions and the Treaty, writes MEP Tomáš Zdechovský.
The Council of Europe (CoE) could become the first European institution to lift sanctions imposed on Russia for annexing Crimea and military aggression in Eastern Ukraine. This would be a major blow to democratic values on the European continent, write Volodymyr Yermolenko and Sergiy Sydorenko.