On 10 December, we celebrate Human Rights Day. This day deserves our attention as it marks the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Today it is more important than ever to recall that human rights are universal and indivisible, and that our efforts to defend them can never stop.
Today is an opportunity to mark what the European Union has done to advance human rights worldwide. This year saw some notable successes. In the middle of a global pandemic, the EU adopted the new EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, which sets out an ambitious roadmap for external action for the next five years. (..)
The establishment of an EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, giving us the power to impose sanctions, with asset freezes and travel bans, on those involved in serious human rights violations and abuses is another tangible step that will further strengthen collective action on human rights. (..)
On the ground, EU Delegations and Member States Embassies supported civil society organisations and human rights defenders, sometimes taking them out of danger, observing trials in many parts of the world from Russia to Colombia and Hong Kong, working on projects that advance the rights of women and girls, persons in vulnerable situations, media freedom and support civil society. The EU and its Member States will promote women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as a priority.
However much remains to be done. Looking to 2021 and beyond, the European Union commits to working alongside its partners to show leadership on human rights issues and to work to strengthen the protection of human rights in a post-COVID-19 world.