what was at stake
green position
what we achieved
what we did not achieve

EU policies in favour of human rights defenders

Human rights defenders (HRDs) are persons who act alone or with others to promote or protect human rights by peaceful means.

Showing day-to-day commitment and often risking their own lives in the process, they play a crucial role in protecting and promoting fundamental human rights.

HRDs outside the EU are often threatened, harassed or unjustly imprisoned.

Thanks partly to continued pressure from Parliament, support for HRDs has long been an element of EU human rights policy, but the Union has no locally adapted strategies to support them.


What was the Greens' position?

The Greens believe it is vital to adopt a coherent, systematic approach for protecting, supporting and promoting HRDs.

In our view HRDs are best served by locally adapted strategies.

The definition of such strategies and their implementation requires the presence of qualified staff in EU Representations in third countries.

We also believe that EU visa rules should be amended to enable HRDs to find temporary protection in the EU if necessary.


Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?

Most of our key demands were successfully carried through the negotiations.

The adopted text makes a number of practical recommendations, e.g. regarding the appointment of an EU human rights focal point officer in each EU Representation abroad and the drafting of local strategies to support HRDs.

Furthermore, it recommends regular, close interaction between EU diplomats and HRDs.

Our suggestions regarding the development of a coordinated policy on issuing emergency visas and a European Protection and Shelter Programme were also accepted, as was our proposal to create an alert system to be shared between EU institutions and all other protection mechanisms.

Finally, we managed to include a commitment to consolidate Parliament's collaboration with HRDs.


Which points did the Greens lose?
Generally speaking, the Greens were satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations.

Procedure:Own-initiative procedure


Lead MEP:Heidi Hautala (GREENS/EFA)

Green MEP responsible:Heidi Hautala


Staff contact:Raphael Fisera (Email)
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