Policy Paper 13/12/2019

Human Rights & Democracy

In order for the EU’s Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy to achieve its objectives, the following should be focus areas of the EU’s democracy and human rights support activities:

1. Strengthening informative, pluralistic and independent media and boosting the capacity of people to both use and understand information as well as evaluate its trustworthiness.
2. Developing and supporting robust, independent and accessible judicial systems with high professional standards, capable of ensuring the rule of law.
3. Providing support for political parties which aims to strengthen their internal democracy by increasing accountability and transparency alongside strengthening inclusiveness and respect for democratic processes
4. Strengthening the capacity of civil society organisations to work with democratic parties and legitimate bodies of representative democracy, to participate in policy processes and to monitor and hold governments and public institutions accountable.

Finally, the five recommendations for EU leadership on democracy (prioritising democracy, developing a democracy support policy, agreeing on a common definition for democracy support, adopting specific funding rules, and investing in human resources for democracy support) contained in the joint statement signed by all main democracy support actors on 15 September 2019, provide excellent guidance for the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy and will help ensure that its focus on democracy is as strong as its focus on human rights.

All in all, democracy support as a first priority in the EU’s value-based global and foreign policy should provide more focused, bolder support for inclusive and effective democracy in the development cooperation and partnership instruments and programmes.

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