On Friday 19 January the EESC, in partnership with its Liaison Group, hosted the launch of a report prepared by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which warns of a shrinking space for civil society action to fight for the respect of human rights in the EU.
The report "Challenges facing civil society organisations working on human rights in the EU", highlights some troubling difficulties increasingly encountered by EU civil society organisations in carrying out their work. It divides them roughly into several areas:
- Legal restrictions that can range from difficulties in setting up an organisation to those relating to freedom of association, peaceful assembly, expression and information.
- Obstacles blocking access to resources, especially structural and long-term financing;
- Stigmatisation and attempts to discredit them, as well as physical and verbal attacks against activists, instead of a protected environment in which to carry out their activities;
- Difficulties in positively influencing legislation and policy-making as recognised legitimate players.
The report concludes that, in order to provide strong support for the protection, promotion and full exercise of human rights, there is an urgent need to put all the suggestions given by the FRA and other EU bodies, such as the EESC, into practice, and to strengthen the effectiveness of CSOs within the EU. (mr)