EU Foreign Ministers approve Guidelines to support Human Rights Defenders
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., has welcomed today’s adoption of EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders. The Guidelines were agreed by EU Foreign Ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg chaired by Minister Cowen.
The Minister stated “the adoption of Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders was one of the key priorities of the Irish Presidency in the field of human rights.”
The Guidelines will enhance the Union’s activities in the protection and support of human rights defenders. They provide for interventions by the Union in support of human rights defenders at risk and suggest practical means to provide support and assistance.
Minister Cowen said that, “Human rights defenders have become increasingly active in protecting the victims of human rights violations. However, this has been achieved at a high price: the defenders themselves have increasingly become targets of attacks and their rights are violated in many countries.”
The Minister went on to say that “the EU believes it is important to ensure the safety and protect the rights of human rights defenders. This is the primary purpose of these Guidelines.”
Minister Cowen paid tribute to the contribution of Non-Governmental Organisations to the development of the Guidelines noting, “in the development of these Guidelines we have worked closely with members of the international human rights community, including Front Line : The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Amnesty International.”
A copy of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defender is available on request from the Department of Foreign Affairs