Annual Conference 2020

Building Better Together for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law in Europe – Recognising the Role of National Human Rights Institutions

2 December 2020, 9.30 – 12.30 (CET) — Virtual Event

This autumn marks a milestone for the recognition of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in European policy on human rights, democracy and the rule of law. A number of reports and policy documents at the levels of the EU and the Council of Europe are being launched and adopted, recognising the important role of NHRIs in advancing human rights for all.

In this context, ENNHRI’s Annual Conference 2020 will bring together leaders of European NHRIs with key European policy makers for an online public debate. The Conference will consist of online panels with European policy-makers and civil society revolving around the strategic engagement with and support for NHRIs, for the better promotion and protection of human rights in Europe. It will be preceded by two leadership webinars for ENNHRI members.

Speakers

Subject to confirmation

Caroline Fennell

ENNHRI Chair, Commissioner at Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

Andreas Peschke

 Director-General for European Affairs, Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Michael O’Flaherty

Director, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights

Joachim Herrmann

Member of Commissioner Reynders’ Cabinet

Lotte Knudsen

Managing director Human rights, global and multilateral issues, European External Action Service (TBC)

Birgit Van Hout

Regional Representative for Europe, UN Human Rights (OHCHR)

Christophe Poirel

Director of Human Rights, Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law, Council of Europe

Katarzyna Gardapkhadze

First Deputy Director of OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

Nils Muižnieks

Director of Amnesty International Europe

Programme

2 December 2020

Speakers subject to confirmation

9.30 9.35 

Introduction

Prof Caroline Fennell, ENNHRI Chair

09.35 – 09.45

Keynote Speech

Andreas Peschke, Director-General for European Affairs, Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union

09.45 – 11.10

Panel Debate 1 – Developing impacts from new EU Policies

Michael O’Flaherty, Director, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights

Joachim Herrmann, Member of Commissioner Reynders’ Cabinet

Lotte Knudsen, Managing director Human rights, global and multilateral issues, European External Action Service (TBC)

Birgit Van Hout, Regional Representative for Europe, UN Human Rights (OHCHR)

Moderation: Beate Rudolf, Head of Institution, German Institute for Human Rights

11.20 – 12.15

Panel Debate 2 – Developing Impacts from wider Europe Policies

Christophe Poirel, Director of Human Rights, Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law, Council of Europe

Katarzyna Gardapkhadze, First Deputy Director of OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

Nils Muižnieks, Director of Amnesty International Europe

Moderation: Lora Vidović, Head of Institution, Ombudswoman of the Republic of Croatia

12.15 – 12.30

Closing remarks

Debbie Kohner, Secretary-General of ENNHRI

Leadership Webinars

Ahead of the Annual Conference on 2 December, ENNHRI members were invited to join two preliminary leadership webinars in November.

Leadership Webinars

These webinars for NHRI heads and leaders consisted of one webinar addressing EU internal policies, and one zooming into EU external policies. Discussions revolved around opportunities posed by the newly-adopted European policy instruments and how strategic NHRI engagement at the regional level can leverage change at the national level, including through cooperation with and support from European actors

  • “Creating Impacts from EU Internal Policy on rule of law, human rights and democracy – the Role of and Support for NHRIs ” – 9 November 2020, 9:00 – 11:30 (CET)
  • “Creating Impacts from EU External Policy on rule of law, human rights and democracy – the Role of and Support for NHRIs” – 10 November 2020, 9:30 – 12:00- (CET)

» Download the agenda Webinar 1 

» Download the agenda Webinar 2

» Read the Background Paper

» Read the speakers’ bios

Resources

EU rule of law report and resolution highlight important role of NHRIs

The European Commission has published its first report assessing the rule of law situation in all EU Member States, recognising the important role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and referring to their contributions through ENNHRI.

FRA report: 'Strong and effective national human rights institutions – challenges, promising practices and opportunities'

Waving EU flag

NHRIs are a vital part of the country-level human rights protection system. This report explores relevant developments, challenges to their effectiveness and ways to maximise their impact.

Council of Europe CDDH-INST Draft Recommendation on the development and strengthening of effective, pluralistic and independent NHRIs

The CDDH-INST draft text is a pivotal step for further recognition and strengthening of European NHRIs and their cooperation with the Council of Europe, helping to realise human rights across the region.

Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Recommendation on the need to strengthen the protection and promotion of civil society space in Europe

Council of Europe flags

The Recommendation makes reference to the role of NHRIs as promoters and protectors of civil society space and marks a milestone in the recognition of the role of NHRIs in defending civil society space.

State of the Rule of Law in Europe - Reports from NHRIs

The report provides an overview of trends and challenges in the region and underlines the importance of strong and independent NHRIs in helping drive progress on human rights and the rule of law in Europe.

European Commission monitoring of the rule of law: What role for NHRIs?

NHRIs play a vital role in ensuring robust monitoring of the rule of law in member States of the European Union (EU). Birgit Van Hout of UN Human Rights Regional Office for Europe explains why and how the role of NHRIs in the EU’s new rule of law mechanism matters.

ENNHRI inputs on new strategy for implementing the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

ENNHRI made a submission on the review of the EU’s 2010 Strategy for the effective implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, at the invitation of the European Commission. The submission is based on the insights and experience gained on the Charter’s implementation since ENNHRI’s establishment five years ago, as well as information collected from European NHRIs on the Charter.

ENNHRI inputs on new European Democracy Action Plan

ENNHRI has made a submission to the European Commission on the new European Democracy Action Plan, which aims to tackle key challenges for European democracy, including in relation to elections, media freedom and pluralism, and the fight against disinformation.

NHRI networks advocate for NHRIs as key partners in new EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy

Submission on EU Action PlanIn a submission to the EU, all official networks of NHRIs have formally underlined the importance of including NHRIs as key partners in the new draft EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy. The submission was supported by the Global Alliance of NHRIs and the four regional NHRI networks of Asia Pacific, Africa, the Americas and Europe (ENNHRI).