The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has just released its Annual Report “Fundamental rights: challenges and achievements in 2013”
In its new report, FRA maps out the fundamental rights challenges and achievements that took place over the course of the year and makes practical suggestions about how to ensure people can have their rights better protected in the EU.
FRA’s Annual Report points to the many fundamental rights challenges in Europe today. But it also testifies to the significant achievements that have been made in 2013, says FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. The concrete suggestions we have put forward should help ensure that rights protection across the EU makes further progress. The choices the EU makes now will shape fundamental rights for the years to come. We need to work together to ensure that the laws we have today deliver fundamental rights in practice for everyone in the EU.
Here are a few highlights of the 2013 report:
- FRA surveys on violence and discrimination towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, on violence against women, and on antisemitism all revealed general feelings of fear and high levels of under-reporting among victims, particularly hate crime victims. Greater efforts are needed to strengthen support and protection of victims under the 2012 EU Victims’ Directive.
- The tragic events off the Italian coast of Lampedusa underlined the urgent need for EU-wide action to safeguard the lives and rights of migrants. The European Commission initiative to reduce deaths at sea sets out lines of action to address many of the issues through stronger European cooperation.
- The revelations of widespread data surveillance pointed to apparent weaknesses in the authorities responsible for data protection at European and national level. Significant reforms of the EU’s data protection rules that resulted from the backlash should help strengthen data protection across the EU.
According to the report, in 2013 the EU and its Member States took a variety of important steps to protect and promote fundamental rights by assuming new international commitments, revamping legislation and pursuing innovative policies on the ground. Yet, fundamental rights violations seized the spotlight with distressing frequency: would-be migrants drowned off the EU’s coast, unprecedented mass surveillance, racist and extremist-motivated murders, child poverty and Roma deprivation.
The Focus section ‘An EU internal strategic framework for fundamental rights: joining forces to achieve better results’, looks at how to improve the protection of fundamental rights within EU Member States and the Union they are collectively building.
The 2013 report also features two new chapters, one on Roma integration following the drawing up of the national Roma integration strategies and a second looking at the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and especially its use before national courts as it approaches its fifth anniversary as a binding document.