Plan International EU Office response to the Council Conclusions on the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019
Plan International EU Office welcomes the adoption of the Council Conclusions on the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, which will guide the work of the EU on human rights for the period 2015-2019.
Response to the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019
This document sets out Plan International EU Office's response to the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019, adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council in July 2015.
The comprehensive Action Plan reconfirms the EU's commitment to addressing human rights violations in partner countries, and is based on the principles of non-discrimination, gender equality and women’s empowerment and the mainstreaming of human rights in the external aspects of EU policies to ensure better policy coherence.
However, some concerns remain in the areas of leadership and resources, gender equality and girls' rights, and children's rights.
We set out the following recommendations for the implementation of the Action Plan:
- To ensure the Action Plan has the greatest possible impact, updated Human Rights Country Strategies must be aligned to this Plan. This process should be carried out in a fully transparent manner both in Brussels and locally, in line with the commitments made in this Action Plan. Ideally, civil society should have a role in reviewing the template that was used for the previous Human Rights Country Strategies to ensure it permits a comprehensive assessment of the human rights situation of a country: tick box exercises risk being inadequate. The final Country Strategy must be made public and available for all to access.
- Moving forward, relevant funding for external action and development cooperation provided both through thematic and geographic budget lines should support the priorities within the Action Plan. Furthermore, immediate funding is needed – waiting to align funding through the mid-term review process in 2017 is too late for effective implementation of the Action Plan.
- The Action Plan has immediate implications for human resources. It is unclear how the current level of staffing dedicated to human rights could accomplish such an ambitious plan. We would therefore welcome more information on this crucial issue. • Going forward, all impact assessments undertaken by the EU must take into account the full range of human rights issues.
- Regular, transparent monitoring and evaluation must be carried out on the impact of all sections of the plan.
- Lastly, it is key that all efforts towards improving the human rights situation in partner countries are joined up – for example, commitments within this Plan must be aligned to those in other strategies (for example, the revised Gender Action Plan) and other areas of work, such as implementing the SDGs framework.