Strengthening the capacity of Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries (CoE member states plus Belarus) to implement domestic reforms to bring them closer to the standards of the Council of Europe (CoE) and the European Union in the fields of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
Countries covered: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine
The project provides extensive and substantial expertise on strengthening the capacity of EaP countries’ institutions to implement domestic reforms in the fields of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. This assistance is implemented through such activities as conferences, seminars, working groups, networking, analytical reports and training sessions led by CoE staff and international experts.
The project involves national stakeholders who play a decisive role in the implementation of reforms: parliaments, governmental bodies at all levels (ministries responsible for justice, finance, interior, health, education, labour and social protection, and public administration), public institutions in the relevant areas such as anti-corruption and anti-money laundering, public prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, penitentiary administrations, central and local electoral commissions, ombudspersons, the judicial community, judicial self-governing bodies, legal professionals, the media, local and regional authorities, non-governmental organisations, academia as well as the general public.
Five priority areas of cooperation were identified by the EU and the CoE for the Programmatic Cooperation Framework. Under these five areas, there are 15 sub-themes which lead to 50 country-specific and regional actions.
1. Protection and promotion of human rights:
- strengthening the implementation of European Human Rights standards at regional and national level;
- protecting national and ethnic minorities' rights;
- promoting equality and human dignity;
- promoting human rights education and democratic citizenship.
2. Ensuring justice:
- strengthening the independence and efficiency of justice;
- strengthening constitutional justice;
- promoting penitentiary reforms (from a punitive to a rehabilitative approach).
3. Combating threats to the rule of law:
- fighting against corruption and fostering good governance/fight against money-laundering;
- supporting criminal justice action on cyber crime.
4. Addressing challenges of the information society:
- improving freedom, independence, pluralism and diversity of media;
- strengthening information society and Internet governance;
- enhancing the right to data protection.
5. Promoting democratic governance:
- providing electoral assistance: reforming electoral legislation and practice;
- strengthening institutional frameworks for local governance.