Joint NGO statement on the rule of law in the EU

On March 11 Social Platform co-signed together with NGOs part of the Human Rights and Democracy Network a statement ahead of the European Commission Communication on safeguarding the rule of law in the EU. Together we called on the College of Commissioners in their discussions to express their support for a Communication that embraces Article 2 TEU as a whole, and places the imperative to prevent and remedy human rights abuse at its core.

'Over the past year, several calls have been made by European institutions and civil society alike urging the European Union (EU) to better safeguard its founding values. These include Council conclusions, resolutions from the European Parliament and calls from civil society.'

'We are particularly concerned that the current debate within the Commission seems to favour a restrictive approach that would limit the scope of the forthcoming Communication to the rule of law in its narrow interpretation, disregarding the other values listed in Article 2 TEU, most notably respect for human rights.'

'Respect for human rights is at the core of any democratic society based on the rule of law. As such, any debate on safeguarding the latter cannot ignore the former without failing in its objective. By confining its work to a narrowly defined rule of law mechanism that leaves out human rights, the Commission’s response is bound to fail to grasp the full dimension of the ‘rule of law’ crises it aims to contain, and overlook the fact that, in most cases, human rights violations are an inextricable part of the problem and remedying them a vital part of the solution.'

'Finally, we believe that to make the most of the opportunity, the EU should develop a comprehensive internal human rights strategy, drawing inspiration from the landmark adoption in 2012 of an EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, whose aim is to orient the Union’s external action while renewing the EU’s commitment to respect and promote human rights across all its policies and ensure coherence between its external and internal action in this field. Such a strategy should bring together all existing instruments with a view to enhancing the EU’s capacity and action to preserve, enforce and promote respect for human rights in its member states.'

Read the full statement (PDF)

The following NGOs signed the statement:

Amnesty International – European Institutions Office
European Network against Racism (ENAR)
FIACAT – International Federation of ACAT (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture)
FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)
Open Society European Policy Institute
Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA)
Social Platform