The world is rapidly changing and new challenges are arising, including universal rights.

The European Union will never ever give up on its commitment to protecting and supporting human rights and democracy, moreover in times of the Covid-19 pandemic. On the contrary.

The EU takes now the lead globally, with the adoption today of the third Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy.

The Action Plan is a five-year roadmap setting the priorities of the EU and a strong signal about the political commitment of the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, the European Commission and the EU Member States to defend EU principles as well as agreed international norms and principles. “EU leadership on human rights and democracy is needed more than ever”, said Borrell.

his Action Plan identifies priorities around five mutually reinforcing lines of action:

  1. Protecting and empowering individuals;
  2. Building resilient, inclusive and democratic societies;
  3. Promoting a global system for human rights and democracy;
  4. Harnessing opportunities and addressing challenges posed by new technologies.
  5. Delivering by working together.

Under each strand of action, the Plan sets concrete objectives to:

  • Keep the respect of human rights, democracy and the rule of law at the heart of responding to the pandemic and supporting the global recovery;
  • Work towards the worldwide abolition of the death penalty;
  • Support and protect human rights defenders and their legal representatives, and address the impact of their work on their families;
  • Combat discriminatory laws, policies and practices, including the criminalisation of consenting same-sex relations;
  • Develop tools to detect and respond to early signs of closing civic space and democratic backsliding, including the use of digital technologies and counter-terrorism measures;
  • Support the development of child-friendly justice systems for all children;
  • Establish a new horizontal global human rights sanctions regime to tackle serious human rights violations and abuses;
  • Refine electoral observation methodology to monitor and assess the use of social media and other digital technologies during election campaigns;
  • Promote the accessibility of technologies for persons with disabilities.

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