diciembre 12, 2012

EU policies towards southern Mediterranean Countries

 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE “NEW ENP APPROACH” SHOULD MATCH COMMITMENTS

EMHRN RELEASE 10/12/2012

 (Published:  www.euromedrights.org)

 

On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) calls upon the European Union to fulfil the commitments made in its 2011 new European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)[1] and 2012 EU Human Rights Package[2]. This means putting democratisation and human rights – including gender equality – at the heart of its relations withSouthern Mediterranean countries. The implementation of this commitment should concern all countries of the region with no double standards.

The Arab Spring of 2011 has led to major changes in the region. In reaction to this the EU adopted several initiatives aiming to redress past failures and shift emphasis towards building-up democracy. In particular, it issued a Communication on a Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity in March 2011[3] and A New Response for a changing Neighbourhood in May 2011. In this new approach the EU committed itself to setting democracy and human rights at the forefront of its renewed agenda.

One year later, in May 2012, the EU adopted a Communication which assessed the implementation of its new approach[4], as well as a Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity: Report on activities in 2011 and Roadmap for future action which assessed the EU’s concrete actions and listed those to be undertaken by the end of 2013[5]. In 2012, together with these two documents, it adopted the ENP country Progress Reports covering the progress made during the year 2011, based on a new format[6].

In parallel, on 25 June 2012, the EU also adopted a new Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy and an Action Plan for its implementation[7], which provide an important opportunity to strengthen the EU’s engagement on human rights and democracy withSouthern Mediterranean countries in coherence with its new ENP approach.

EMHRN welcomes the strengthened emphasis on democracy and human rights both in the revised ENP and the new Human Rights Strategy[8]However, it is seriously concerned about shortcomings in the policy implementation of the recent ENP package. EMHRN calls on the EU to abide fully to its declared change of policy with its Southern Mediterranean neighbours, and to urgently translate this commitment into consistent support and concrete actions for democratisation, respect of human rights and gender equality. It is crucial – and in the EU’s own interest – that the EU strongly supports democratic forces and processes if it wants to regain lost credibility with the citizens of the region, who aspire to democracy, respect of human rights and a life in dignity.

EMHRN is also seriously concerned that EU achievements foreseen in the May 2012 Roadmap for Future Actionare overly vague and weak on human rights. For example, gender equality has not been included and no concrete actions have been listed.

1. Implementation of the “more for more” policy

The “more for more” principle is the cornerstone of the new ENP. It is an incentive-based approach supporting EU neighbours who are willing to embark on political reforms and respect human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law.

In its May 2012 ENP Communication, the EU reiterated this principle and stated that the new financial European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) will “further strengthen the link between policy and assistance and provide a higher level of differentiation in cooperation with partner countries, reflecting their commitment to universal values, progress in deep democratisation and jointly agreed objectives”[9].

Benchmarks

The EU established benchmarks against which it commits itself to assessing progress and to adapting its level of support: free and fair elections; freedom of association, expression and assembly and a free press and media; the rule of law administered by an independent judiciary and the right to a fair trial; fighting against corruption; security and law enforcement sector reform (including the police) and establishment of democratic control over armed and security forces.

EMHRN welcomes the addition of other benchmarks by High Representative Ashton and Commissioner Füle in a note sent to EU Foreign Affairs Ministers on 3 February 2012: “the respect of other human rights (abolition of capital punishment, freedom of religion, non-discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, non-discrimination of minorities, rights of the child, abolition of torture and degrading punishments)”.

These benchmarks have not yet been consistently applied by the EU when deciding on increasing support or co-operation withSouthern Mediterraneanpartners (examples follow in the text below). EMHRN strongly urges the EU to abide by its commitments and believes that ‘a less for less’ approach should also be part of the EU’s policy tools in the region.

EMHRN also encourages the EU to set out concrete steps in terms of promoting and protecting women’s rights and gender equality. In addition, it calls for the EU to include a clear benchmark on equal participation of women in political, economic and public life and to add a benchmark on the implementation of International Humanitarian Law in conflict situations while giving concrete consideration for related gender concerns in this regard.

Country approach – general remarks

EMHRN welcomes the more consistent language and recommendations for priority actions in the 2012 ENP country Progress Reports covering the year 2011, than in previous years.

However, some reports still have gaps concerning assessment of progress towards human rights and gender equality; the positive general assessment of the developments in some Southern Mediterraneancountries does not reflect the situation on the ground including recommendations of human rights and women’s rights’ organisations. For instance, EMHRN considers that the Progress Report on Egyptshould have much more strongly stressed the grave violations to freedom of assembly during the revolution at the beginning of 2011, which caused around 800 deaths and dozens more during the protests over the course of the year. Another example concerns the lack of mention in the Progress Reports for Moroccoand Tunisiathat unauthorised entry and exit of migrants and refugees continues to be criminalised.

In addition, the EU’s commitment to developing stronger links between the Progress Reports and the “more for more” policy approach still has to be translated into action[10]. Hence, the stated intention in the new 2012EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy to “systematise follow-up of the ENP Progress Reports, including on human rights and democracy, so as to ensure that the “more for more” principle is applied in a consistent fashion across the ENP region”[11] has yet to be implemented.

EMHRN also regrets that adoption of EU local Human Rights Strategies has been delayed by more than a year. It calls on the EU to adopt these and make them public, while ensuring that the ENP Progress Reports draw consistently on these. In addition, EMHRN recommends making these human rights strategies and ENP Progress Reports available in Arabic and communicate them to different stakeholders and civil society organisations who should be engaged in their implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Country approach – specific issues

EMHRN regrets that the new ENP has not been consistently and coherently implemented by the EU so far. The case ofAlgeria,IsraelandEgyptserve as examples.

With regard to Algeria, international and Algerian human rights non-governmental organisations have alerted the EU to the deteriorating human rights situation and lack of real reforms on several occasions[12]. A similarly alarming assessment of the situation has been made by UN bodies[13], in sharp contrast to the EU’s positive assessment that Algeria is one of the countries “making most progress towards sustainable democracy[14]. Algeria is therefore benefiting from additional EU funding through the new EU SPRING programme[15] while the EU started negotiations for an ENP Action Plan with Algeria.

EMHRN believes the EU should implement its “more for more” approach with Algeria on the basis of accurate assessment and concrete progress in policies and practice in the field of human rights, gender equality and democratisation, and not on the basis of procedural steps or declarations of intent by the Algerian authorities. A number of concrete steps in that direction related to fundamental freedoms, impunity, equality between men and women, and on promoting regional civil society co-operation[16], should therefore be achieved before signing an ENP Action Plan with Algeria.

The declared emphasis of the EU to respect human rights and the “more for more” approach in the new ENP has not translated into a shift of policy towards Israel. EMHRN maintains its past concern that although the EU decided to freeze the upgrade of relations with Israel in June 2009, it has continued to deepen its economic and technical co-operation with Israel based on the current ENP Action Plan without requesting any improvement of Israel’s respect to its obligations under International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. The EU recently agreed 60 activities of co-operation with Israel on the occasion of the Association Council on 24 July 2012 despite the persistent and serious violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and violations of the rights of the Palestinian Minority inside Israel. These continued violations were reflected in the EU’s Council Conclusions of May 2012 and in the 2012 ENP Progress Report for Israel. The European Parliament also agreed to enhance co-operation with Israel by approving the Protocol on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products in October 2012, thereby disregarding its human rights concerns completely as expressed in the EP Resolution of July 2012[17].

EMHRN urges the EU to implement its “more for more” policy with Israel by making the opening up of new areas of co-operation with Israel (inside and outside of the current Action Plan) contingent on tangible improvements in Israel’s observance of human rights and IHL obligations towards the occupied Palestinian population, and within its own territory in terms of the rights of the 1.3 million Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel.

EMHRN is also deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Egypt. The demands for social justice, freedoms and dignity that underlay the revolution have so far not been met and human rights violations are serious and systematic in nature. In this alarming context, several negative indicators cast doubt on the genuine will of the Egyptian government to improve respect of fundamental freedoms, human rights and gender equality, ensure accountability for past violations and comply with international standards of human rights[18]. It is under this worsening context that the EU and Egypt have agreed to resume relations and that an EU–Egypt Task Force met in mid-November in Cairo to discuss future co-operation in various fields of activities, in particular business.

EMHRN believes that the EU should have made clear to the Egyptian government that its level and fields of engagement would depend on the level of progress in Egypt with regard to democratisation, human rights and gender equality and be based on an objective and accurate assessment of the situation. This was not done. Indeed, in the conclusion of the Task Force meeting, the EU promised financial support to Egypt without any kind of conditionality. Of particular concern was the fact that the EU’s invitation to Egyptian human rights NGOs for a civil society consultation meeting on the occasion of the Task force was withdrawn due to pressure from the Egyptian authorities.

2. Gender equality

Ensuring gender equality and respect for women’s rights is a crucial element for assessment of progress or set-backs in transition processes towards democracy and respect for human rights. In this regard, the political trends in the Southern Mediterranean region are a cause for great concern. This issue should be at the very heart of current discussions between the EU and its Mediterranean partners and a key element of the EU’s “more for more” policies towards its Southern Neighbours. Accordingly, the EU should urge its Mediterranean partners to address women’s rights and gender-based concerns and make legislation and its implementation conform to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) without reservation. For example, the EU should raise strong public concerns and take principled positions in regard to the absence (or token involvement) of women on transitional reform bodies, and the increasing severity of gender-based violence that threatens hard-won gains.

EMHRN welcomes the positive steps taken by the EU towards promotion of women’s rights, in particular programmes and support to gender equality projects in Southern Mediterranean countries. It also notes with satisfaction the commitment taken by the EU in its May 2012 ENP Communication “to step up its efforts to support women’s rights across the region, ensure that gender equality is mainstreamed into all relevant cooperation activities”[19].

EMHRN also welcomes the EU’s recognition of the special role of women in reshaping both politics and society as a base for the new ENP. Hence, applying the “more for more approach” should be based on real progress in the promotion and protection of women’s rights and gender equality.

However EMHRN is concerned by the fact that the May 2012 ENP Roadmap for future action does not include women’s rights and gender equality, neither in the objectives for building sustainable democracies nor in the objectives for inclusive development and growth. It is also concerned that the issue of women’s rights is not included in the expected achievements by the end of 2013. The EU should align all its ENP policies and actions on gender equality with the new 2012 EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, which includes a targeted campaign on political and economic participation of women with a special focus on countries in transition by the end of 2013.

EMHRN also calls on the EU to integrate actions in the Roadmap that build on the recommendations from women’s rights organisations addressing the era of transition and reform[20].

3. Regional conflicts and International Humanitarian Law (IHL)

EMHRN considers that a crucial element of all conflict resolution efforts is full respect for IHL. IHL is intended to alleviate the effects of armed conflict on civilians in order to avoid suffering and destruction. In this sense, its implementation may also ease the prospects and implementation of post-conflict settlements. EU Member States have an obligation to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions in terms of Common Article 1.

EMHRN commends the EU for having initiated a process to boost the implementation of its IHL Guidelines and welcomes the inclusion of specific actions related to IHL in the 2012 EU Action Plan on Human Rights. EMHRN calls additionally on the EU to ensure proper mainstreaming of IHL in all its external instruments, including dialogues, ENP Progress Reports and Action Plans, and in relevant local Human Rights Strategies.

EMHRN reiterates its concerns that the EU’s new ENP approach does not seriously address the resolution of the Middle East conflict and other conflicts in the region. EMHRN considers that the ENP and EU’s peace efforts should be interlinked and that the new ENP approach should serve the EU’s key foreign policy objective of promoting peace. Hence, when applying a ‘more for more approach’, the EU should take into account conflicting and occupying powers’ respect for their obligations under IHL in determining increase or decrease of support. As mentioned above, the EU should therefore include a specific benchmark linked to respecting IHL in its new ENP policy.

4. Rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees

EMHRN welcomes the EU’s declared commitment to promote and respect migrants’ rights as an integral part of the ENP approach.

While the EU is eager to co-operate with its Southern Partners on the management of migration flows, its main focus continues to be on the prevention of irregular migration flows through joint management and increased externalisation of border controls and re-admission policies with neighbouring countries. There are very few indications of how to safeguard and monitor the migrants, asylum seekers and refugees rights in the implementation of EU policies and in the operations carried out by its agencies, such as Frontex.

For their part, the ‘Mobility Partnerships’ proposed to a few Mediterranean countries put an emphasis on controlling irregular migration rather than offering real mobility to those in the south.  Indeed, possibilities of mobility are only proposed for a very small group of individuals – and then only after extensive criteria have been met by partner countries.  Credibility of the EU’s “more for more” policy rests on offering real possibilities for mobility to citizens in the south and not only a small elite.

Re-admission agreements, in particular, are being negotiated with countries that have a weak record in human rights, weak or non-existent asylum structures, non-compliance with the principle of non-refoulement, and which criminalise both irregular emigration and immigration. With regard to re-admission agreements, EMHRN recalls that Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights ban any move to turn back, return or expel – directly or indirectly – anyone to a country where that person could be executed or subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment[21].

Both the EU’s 2012 Communication on “delivering on a new ENP” and the Roadmap for future actions do not take the rights of migrants and refugees into account and the EU’s new Human Rights Action Plan is restricted to the issue of statelessness and arbitrary detention of migrants.

EMHRN believes that respect for the fundamental rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, men and women alike, must be the prime concern of any dialogue on migration and any future “Mobility Partnership”.

5. Social, economic and cultural rights

An important aspect of the EU’s new ENP approach is the promotion of “inclusive economic development, trade and investment”. The 2012 Roadmap for future action lists the following objectives: contribute to providing growth and jobs, notably for the youth; support small and medium sized enterprises, job creation and training; increase trade through the establishment of the “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas”[22].

Social, economic and cultural rights were strongly emphasised by people during the Arab Spring and their fulfilment is crucial for the future of the region. EMHRN believes that the EU should integrate a clear human rights-based approach in its economic, trade and investment’s relations with Southern Mediterranean countries including the fight of corruption

Hence, EMHRN urges the EU to undertake human rights impact assessments – including gender-based analysis – of its trade and investment relations with Southern Mediterranean countries in line with its new 2012 EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights[23]. The results and recommendations of these impact assessments should be taken into consideration in the development of future economic relations, notably in the establishment of “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements”.

Given the much higher unemployment rates of women compared to men and the fact that poverty hits women harder than men, the EU should also ensure gender mainstreaming of the social, economic and cultural rights aspect of the ENP, including providing jobs and trainings for women.

Ensuring protection and promotion of human rights, including the right to decent work, and fighting corruption should be an integral part of the programmes and projects of the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

6. Involvement of Civil society

EMHRN welcomes the EU’s declared commitment in both the new ENP approach and the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights to establishing a ”genuine partnership with civil society, including at the local level”. It also welcomes the commitment to consult with civil society in the process of drafting a new generation of ENP Action Plans.

Steps in that direction have been undertaken by the EU Headquarters and some EU Delegations on the ground. However, the level of consultation and involvement of human rights and gender equality organisations is far from systematic, inclusive, timely, well-informed and targeted. It is done very differently by the EU Delegations in the region. In specific cases EU Delegations have excluded independent human rights organisations from civil society consultations[24]. EMHRN therefore calls on the EU to restore the credibility it lost before the Arab Spring by fully implementing its approach to civil society in conformity with its above mentioned commitments.

These demands have further substance following the September 2012 EU Communication on “the roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with Civil Society in external relations”[25]. In this document the EU commits itself to promoting the meaningful and structured participation of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and to elaborating “EU Roadmaps for engagement with CSOs at country level”, which “should activate and ensure structured dialogue and strategic co-operation, increasing consistency and impact of EU actions”[26].

7. Recommendations

The EMHRN urges the European Union to:

  • Fully abide by its declared change of policy with Southern Mediterranean neighbours after the Arab Spring and urgently translate its commitments in favour of democracy, rule of law, respect of human rights and gender equality into concrete actions.
  • To concretely implement its commitment to establishing more coherence between its Neighbourhood Policy and its global Human Rights Strategy and Action Plan, especially in ensuring coherence between the geographic and human rights tools such as ENP Action Plans, ENP Progress Reports and local Human Rights Strategies.
  • Demonstrate political will to consistently and coherently implement its “more for more” policy with all countries of the Southern Mediterranean region on the basis of the benchmarks it has defined[27]; to clearly include gender equality, non-discrimination and respect of International Humanitarian Law in this list of benchmarks.
  • Make clear that its level of political, financial and technical engagement will depend on the level of progress with regard to democratisation, human rights and gender equality and be based on an objective and accurate assessment of the situation on the ground.
  • Ensure transparent decision-making processes in the allocation of European Neighbourhood funding and especially SPRING funds, based on progress in policies and practice with regard to democratisation, human rights and gender equality.
  • Ensure that negotiations about new ENP Actions Plans will include human rights, gender equality and democratic reforms as a priority, and ensure that concrete progress in the field of human rights, gender equality and democratic reforms have been achieved before the conclusion of any new ENP Action Plan.
  • Put gender equality at the heart of its actions, not only in terms of programmes and public declarations, but also in terms of concrete political objectives and actions.
  • Implement its new ENP and global Human Rights Strategy approaches in relation to the Middle East conflict and other conflicts in the region, thus ensuring that its human rights and IHL obligations are fully and consistently taken into consideration.
  • Consider respect for the fundamental rights of migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees and address related gender-based concerns as a prime concern in any dialogue on migration and future “Mobility Partnerships”.
  • Undertake human rights impact assessments and gender analysis of its trade and investment relations with Southern Mediterranean countries, in line with its new 2012 EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights, and to take the results into consideration in the development of future economic relations, in particular “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements”.
  • Establish genuine partnership with independent civil society, including registered and unregistered human rights and women’s rights NGOs, notably by setting in place a means of systematic, inclusive, timely, well-informed and targeted involvement of civil society in each Southern Mediterranean country.
  • Prioritise European funding to promote democracy for independent civil society actors in countries where their freedom to operate independently and effectively is the most undermined.
  • Review its “Roadmap for future action” as a matter of urgency and include clear and detailed actions to be undertaken by the EU on human rights, gender equality and democratisation issues.
  • Build on the new format of ENP Progress Reports and strengthen these in 2013, making sure that they reflect an accurate and comprehensive assessment of the human rights situation based on the input of NGOs.

 

 

 

 

[1] European Union, Joint Communication by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission, A New Response to a Changing Neighbourhood; A review of European Neighbourhood Policy, Brussels, 25 May 2011,http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/com_11_303_en.pdf.

[2] Council of the European Union, EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, Brussels, 25 June 2012,http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/131181.pdf.

[3] High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission, Joint Communication to the European Council, the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic And Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, A Partnership For Democracy And Shared Prosperity With The Southern Mediterranean, Brussels, 8 March 2011,http://eeas.europa.eu/euromed/docs/com2011_200_en.pdf.

[4] High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission, Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic And Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Delivering on a new European Neighbourhood Policy, Brussels, 15 May 2012,http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/docs/2012_enp_pack/delivering_new_enp_en.pdf.

[5] High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission, Joint Staff Working Document Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity: Report on activities in 2011 and Roadmap for future action, Brussels, 15 May 2012,http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/docs/2012_enp_pack/pship_democracy_report_roadmap_en.pdf.

[6] European Commission Website, European Neighbourhood Policy – Reference documents,http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/documents_en.htm.

[7] European Union, EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracyop. cit.

[8] Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, Position of the EMHRN in view of the forthcoming review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, and in response to the European Union Communication on “A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean” and the following Conclusions of the European Council, April 2011,http://www.euromedrights.org/files/EMHRN%20Publications/EMHRN_doc_ENP_April_2011_eng_278418288.pdf; Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, EMHRN Statement on the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), 11 October 2011, http://www.euromedrights.org/eng/2011/10/11/emhrn-statement-on-the-european-neighbourhood-policy/; Human Rights and Democracy Network, HRDN response to the adoption of the new EU human rights package by the Foreign Affairs Council on June 25http://www.hrdn.eu/.

[9] High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission, Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic And Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Delivering on a new European Neighbourhood Policy, op. cit., p.17.

[10]“They will represent a tool for applying the incentive-based approach and establishing a stronger link with all relevant aspects of the EU response, including financial assistance”, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission, Joint Staff Working Document, Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity: Report on activities in 2011 and Roadmap for future action, op. cit.

[11] European Union, EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracyop. cit., p.27.

 

[12] For more information, see EMHRN’s report on Lifting the State of Emergency in Algeria: A Game of Smoke and Mirrors, 24 February 2012: http://www.euromedrights.org/eng/2012/02/24/emhrn-report-on-the-lift-of-the-state-of-emergency-in-algeria-reforms-are-a-game-of-smoke-and-mirrors/; See also: EMHRN-CFDA-LADDH-SNAPAP report: “Political reforms” or additional lock on society and politics in Algeria?, 19 April 2012: http://www.euromedrights.org/eng/2012/04/19/algeria-report-political-reforms-or-additional-lock-on-society-and-politics-in-algeria/.

[13] See: Report of the mission to Algeria of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, 12 June 2012 (A/HRC/20/17/Add.1):http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session20/A-HRC-20-17_en.pdf;

Press release of the special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, 4 May 2012: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12110&LangID=E;

Press release of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, 25 April 2012:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12081.

[14] High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission, Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic And Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Delivering on a new European Neighbourhood Policyop. cit., page 4.

[15] The European Union allocated 350 million Euros (2011-2012) to the new Programme SPRING (Support to Partnership, Reform and Inclusive Growth), created in response to the Arab Spring. See:

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/11/636&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en.

[16] As a matter of priority, the EU should call on the Algerian authorities to guarantee freedom of association and union freedoms, respect freedom of assembly and rights to demonstrate peacefully, guarantee freedom of expression, opinion and information, immediately put an end to judicial harassment against activists, repeal the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation and its implementing laws and decrees, establish a genuine process of reconciliation based on truth and justice, take the necessary measures to ensure equality between men and women and issue visas to representatives of international NGOs. For more information, read the Open Letter in view of the negotiations on the EU-Algeria Action Plan in the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy, EMHNR-FIDH-CFDA-LADDH-SNAPAP-RADDH-ACDA, 15 October 2012, (only available in French),http://www.euromedrights.org/fra/2012/10/16/lettre-ouverte-a-loccasion-des-negociations-du-plan-daction-ue-algerie-dans-le-cadre-de-la-politique-europeenne-de-voisinage/.

[17] This is in strong contrast to the European Parliament’s resolution adopted in July 2012, condemning Israeli policies, and stating that the EU’s bilateral relations with Israel must fully consider Israel’s commitment to respect its obligations under International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law towards the Palestinian population. European Parliament, European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2012 on EU policy on the West Bank and East Jerusalemhttp://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P7-TA-2012-0298+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN.

[18] Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-violence Studies, Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and New Woman Foundation, Closed letter: Call for human rights and civil society at EU-Egypt Task Force, 6 November 2012; EMHRN and FIDH Press Release, EU-Egypt Task Force: Why would human right NGOs be excluded?, 14 November, http://www.euromedrights.org/eng/2012/11/14/eu-egypt-task-force-why-would-human-rights-ngos-be-excluded/.

[19] High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission, Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic And Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Delivering on a new European Neighbourhood Policyop. cit., p.19.

[20] These would include ensuring gender equality and non-discrimination based on sex in the constitutions, combating gender-based violence through enacting and executing laws against sexual harassment and laws for protection from domestic violence, ensuring women’s participation in political, economic and public life through mandatory quotas (not less than 30 per cent in view of parity), and abolishing discriminatory articles in personal status law, penal code and others.

[21] Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, Position of the EMHRN in anticipation of the European Council meeting of 24 June 2011, Migrant rights: the big losers in the new European strategy directed at the countries of the southern Mediterranean in transition to democracy? (June 2011),http://www.euromedrights.org/eng/2011/06/22/migrant-rights-the-big-losers-in-the-new-european-strategy-directed-at-the-countries-of-the-southern-mediterranean-in-transition-to-democracy/ and EU Mobility Partnerships with Tunisia and Morocco: Guarantees for the respect of rights must be a prerequisite to any agreement (July 2012), http://www.euromedrights.org/eng/2012/07/04/eu-mobility-partnerships-with-tunisia-and-morocco-guarantees-for-the-respect-of-rights-must-be-a-prerequisite-to-any-agreement/.

[22] High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission, Joint Staff Working Document, Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity: Report on activities in 2011 and Roadmap for future action, op. cit, p. 8.

[23] European Union, EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracyop. cit.

[24] The cancellation of the invitations to Egyptian human rights organisations at the occasion of the EU-Egypt Task Force in mid-November 2012 is the most blatant example thereof, and there are examples from other countries in the region. Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, EU-Egypt Task Force: Why would human rights NGOs be excluded?, 14 November 2012, http://www.euromedrights.org/eng/2012/11/14/eu-egypt-task-force-why-would-human-rights-ngos-be-excluded/.

[25] European Commission, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with Civil Society in external relations, Brussels, 12 September 2012, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2012:0492:FIN:EN:PDF.

[26] Ibid., p. 4.

[27] Including those contained in the February 2012 letter of High Representative Ashton and Commissioner Füle to EU Member States.

 

 

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