Think EU-MED

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Does the Union for Mediterranean lack of an human rights agenda?

Amnesty International raises concerns about the agenda of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) initiative.
The new Union might bypass human rights as there is no reference to human rights in the current proposal. According to Amnesty International the increased cooperation and dialogue will be based purely on commercial and financial terms. Unlike the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership which put an emphasis on the human rights dimension, the EU is maybe taking out this paragraphs to avoid problems with the partner states.

If the fact is right that the EU bypasses human rights "we are facing a dangerous precedent: it not only undermines core principles of the EU’s relations with third countries but openly allows human rights to be sidelined for the sake of business," said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.

In a letter sent to the French EU Presidency, the Amnesty International EU office demand from the EU’s external relations initiative the following:

"-Reaffirm the EU's commitment that human rights principles govern all EU external relations
-Ensure that the EU holds to its commitment to systematically raise human rights concerns in all bilateral and multilateral dialogues, to mainstream human rights into all external policy areas, and to fully involve civil society
-Develop human rights monitoring mechanisms within the Union for the Mediterranean, to examine human rights concerns in all countries, in order to address the current human rights deficit"

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