Human rights took centre stage on 28 May 2018, when the Council adopted the EU’s 2017 annual report on human rights and democracy in the world.
The 2017 report describes the actions of the EU in promoting and protecting human rights, including through its global network of delegations.
2017 marked a year of opposition to civil society, with infringements of the rights of freedom of association and peaceful assembly on a global scale. The report provides examples of environmental rights defenders being targeted and killed whilst advocating against environmental degradation. The report states that the EU countered this backlash by organising bilateral human rights dialogues, providing financial support and creating an enabling environment for NGOs and human rights defenders to carry out their important work.
The EU also updated their guidelines on the protection and promotion of the rights of the child, signalling a milestone in the EU’s global work on this matter.
In addition, the EU developed new initiatives to counter attacks on the universality of human rights, by highlighting and promoting best practises already adopted by other countries around the world. The EU also worked to support worldwide electoral processes, citing the Gambia as an example of a country with which the EU worked to uphold a democratic transitional government.