The Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) of the European Union (EU) affirmed its commitment to supporting the work of the United Nations human rights bodies during its meetings in Brussels on 15 February 2016. Recognising the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the EU FAC discussed its priorities ahead of the 31st Session of the UNHRC. These priorities were outlined in its conclusions published here.
Given the resumption of the death penalty by several countries, the EU supports the resolution on the moratorium on the death penalty at the UN General Assembly. The FAC has committed to highlighting human rights violations around the world such as mass executions and the use of capital punishment against crimes committed by minors, specifically in Saudi Arabia. Looking forward to 2016, the EU will strive to ensure the integrity and independence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The conclusions urged the practical realisation of the International Covenants on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and on Civil and Political Rights by the signatories of the agreements, including Bahrain.
It calls on all states to facilitate and permit the work of the UN’s Special Procedures and to commit to the work of the Universal Periodic Review. The FAC also urged cooperation with civil society and those defending human rights on the ground, condemning the judicial and violent persecution of human rights defenders. The promotion of freedom of expression and religion without discrimination will also be objectives of the FAC. It stresses the importance of the implementation of all human rights objectives via the 2030 Agenda, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
ECDHR welcomes these conclusions and looks forward to the implementation of the principles and objectives expressed therein.