At the occasion of the Human Rights Day I wrote the following foreword to the report ”Delivering on Democracy” on EU’s contribution to the reinforcement of Human Rights. I invite you to read it, as well as the report itslef.
The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, despite its financial limits representing just 0.78 % of EU Official Development Assistance, has led to strategic results and symbolic effects, and has had important influence in consolidating democracy and opening the door to change, bringing a breath of fresh air to pro-democracy activists and defenders.
I can only commend the formidable altruistic work and outstanding commitment of our partners, that turns theory into practice in the field, often to the detriment of their personal well-being and, sadly, often at the risk of their lives. Our engagement is guided by the following principles: First, the Treaty of Lisbon is clear: ‘the Union’s action on the international scene shall be guided by the principles which have inspired its own creation and which it seeks to advance in the wider world: democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity’.Secondly, there is no development without democracy and no sustainable democracy without development. The European Consensus on Development reaffirms that the promotion of democracy and all the intertwined components of human rights, fundamental freedoms, peace, good governance, gender equality, and the rule of law are common values in the European vision of development.
Third, the Arab Spring has recalled to all cynical minds that defending democracy is not just about beliefs and values; it is also about our interests. Democracy is about long-term stability, and respect of the rule of law is an incentive for business and investment. We will, of course, continue, to support democracy in Africa, Eastern Europe, Central and Eastern Asia and Latin America.
The report “Delivering on Democracy” gives examples of cases, projects and results in our support of democracy. Some are small, some of them big. They all confirm that the EU contribution is of use and needs to further help support democracy. We will continue to build on these lessons towards further results and try to do more, better and faster.
To read the three reports published to commemorate Human Rights Day, please visit: http://www.eidhr.eu/library