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Human rights and the rule of law are core values of the European Union. They are embedded in the Lisbon Treaty, and are reinforced by the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which the EU adopted in 2000 and which became legally binding when the Treaty of Lisbon came into force in 2009.

Adherence to human rights principles constitutes the foundation and basic prerequisite for peace, security and prosperity, and the EU is fully committed to promoting and defending them both within its borders and in its relations with outside countries. For the EU, human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, and are a silver thread that runs throughout its internal and external policies and activities, since not only are the EU human rights obligations binding, but also their promotion is important for other objectives, such as security, development, economic participation and social inclusion. EU support in the sensitive areas of counter-terrorism, the fight against organised crime, and increased cybersecurity may have certain human rights implications, including the risk of inadvertently fostering human rights violations, or even of being held directly or indirectly accountable for certain abuses, and hence relevant safeguards must be incorporated in actions. At the same time, the protection of human rights and provision of security are not conflicting goals but complementary and mutually reinforcing objectives. Indeed the duty of States to protect individuals is itself rooted in international human rights obligations. Recent years have seen the development of various operational guidance papers and related tools, to ensure that EU cooperation respects and promotes human rights and fundamental freedoms.

This Guidance and accompanying tools are intended to provide a comprehensive practical framework on how to incorporate human rights safeguards in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of EU external actions in the realm of counter-terrorism, the fight against organised crime and the promotion of cybersecurity, in line with the requirement set in the Regulation establishing the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), and the relevant provisions of key EU policy documents.

Download the Guidance here:

Human Rights Guidance Tool (ENG)

Orientations operationnelles sur les droits de l’homme (FR)

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