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News EU foreign ministers back human rights-based approach to all development cooperation

20 May 2014

EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels yesterday for the Foreign Affairs Council on Development, have reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to promoting all human rights, whether civil and political, or economic, social and cultural, in all areas of its external action without exception, as part of working towards a rights-based approach to development cooperation, encompassing all human rights.

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The action is in line with the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy and the Council Conclusions on Democracy Support in the EU’s External Relations, “The implementation of a rights-based approach to development cooperation should be based on the universality and indivisibility of human rights and the principles of inclusion and participation in decision-making processes; non-discrimination, equality and equity; transparency and accountability. The application of these principles should be central to EU development cooperation, thereby also ensuring the empowerment of the poorest and most vulnerable, in particular of women and girls, which in turn contributes to poverty reduction efforts,” said the Council conclusions.

The Council stressed that coherent political and policy dialogue with all relevant stakeholders at the country level is a key element of the implementation of the rights-based approach to development cooperation. It also highlighted the importance of continued support for the efforts of partner countries to strengthen their capacity to fulfil their human rights obligations, in adherence to the underlying principles of the rights-based approach.

The Council stressed the need for continued EU support for human rights defenders, capacity-building of local civil society organisations and promoting a safe and enabling environment in both law and practice that maximises their contribution to development. Being closer to citizens and interacting with civil society, local authorities also play a crucial role in the effective implementation of a rights-based approach.

Moreover, the Council underlined that investment and business activities in partner countries should respect human rights and adhere to the principles of corporate social and environmental responsibility and accountability.

The Council conclusions affirmed the EU’s commitment to continue to support the integration of human rights issues in EU policy formulation and advocacy on the global agenda, in particular, its commitment to ensure a rights-based approach encompassing all human rights in the post-2015 framework, in line with its Conclusions on an overarching post-2015 agenda. (EU Neighbourhood Info)

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Council conclusions on a rights-based approach to development cooperation, encompassing all human rights

Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid website

The EU and human rights

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