On 25 June 2012, the Council of the European Union adopted a Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy with an Action Plan for putting it into practice.
This is the first time that the European Union has had a unified Strategic Framework for this vital policy area, with such a wide-ranging plan of action for its implementation.
The key messages of the Strategic Framework are:
- Human rights throughout EU policy
- Promoting universality of human rights
- Pursuing coherent objectives
- Human rights in all EU external policies
- Implementing EU priorities on human rights
- Working with bilateral partners
- Working through multilateral institutions
- The EU working together
The Strategic Framework builds on the joint Communication entitled ‘Human rights and democracy at the heart of EU external action – towards a more effective approach’. This was adopted by the European Commission on 12 December 2011 following a proposal by Catherine Ashton. It was in turn the result of a lengthy process of consultations, dating back to the informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) at Cordoba in March 2010.
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