A year of human rights activism and global campaigning was announced by the High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini. It will bring together the European External Action Service and EU countries under the banner "#EU4HumanRights". The aim is to raise the profile of the work of the EU and its member countries on human rights around the world.
"The EU has a longstanding commitment to the universal protection and promotion of human rights. With the #EU4HumanRights initiative, we want to raise the level of EU's engagement and to encourage a broad-based public discussion on human rights in the EU's foreign policy," Mogherini explained.
The EU's Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, said that human rights are and will remain a core part of what the EU is and what the EU does. The ''human rights year'' will highlight the EU's common ownership of these values and our common work to realise them''.
#EU4HumanRights will encourage a wide-ranging discussion on human rights in the EU's foreign policy, reaching out to the public as well as stakeholders from politics, diplomacy, media, business, art and civil society.
This initiative will feed into the implementation of the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019) adopted on 20 July 2015. It will thus increase common ownership and commitment of all stakeholders into all the challenges and individual actions identified in the five areas of the Action Plan.
This year marks some important milestones in the human rights world, including the 10th anniversary of the UN Human Rights Council and the 50th anniversary of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
It is also the first full year of the implementation of the new EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy.
Human rights events across Europe
Human rights events across Europe in all 28 EU countries will be encouraged with the topics being part of the "EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy" adopted by Foreign Ministers last summer.
These events will cover the five priority areas identified under the new Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy which include:
1. boosting ownership of local actors (support to National Human Rights Institutions, government authorities, parliaments, the judiciary and civil society),
2. addressing human rights challenges (with an emphasis on freedom of expression, freedom of religion, torture and death penalty, gender equality, children's rights, non-discrimination, Economic, social and cultural rights and business and human rights
3. ensuring a comprehensive human rights approach to conflicts and crises (with an emphasis on conflict prevention, transitional justice, international humanitarian law and accountability)
4. fostering better coherence and consistency in EU's policies (with an emphasis on trade, migration, counter-terrorism, development cooperation and impact assessment)
5. a more effective EU human rights and democracy support policy (with an emphasis making the best use of EU tools and financing possibilities and better communicating EU's work on human rights and democracy).
The events will be organised by the member countries themselves, on topics of their choice,,under a common EU umbrella with the hashtag #EU4HumanRights