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The Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019 strongly prioritised human rights issues, with democracy mentioned only as a secondary issue in a few of listed actions. However, human rights and democracy are linked intrinsically. Human rights are the core values through which the central political principle of the EU, the respect for human dignity, is implemented. Democracy is a mechanism to organise and manage society built on fundamental freedoms including freedom of expression and information, of assembly and association. In societies where the democratic concept is not used as a basis for the development of structures and procedures of government and political decision-making, there is little chance that basic human rights will be respected.
Democracy is therefore not just a secondary mechanism, which follows on from the existence of basic human rights, but also a precondition for effectively securing basic rights in a society.
Therefore, we call on the EU to highlight the strong linkages between human rights and democracy in its next generation Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2020–2024) and to accord democracy support with at least the same importance as the protection of human rights receives. This would be a basis for more effective und sustainable securing of human rights in most countries.