09 Nov 2021

ENNHRI inputs into roadmap on EU package against abusive litigation targeting journalists and rights defenders

In a new submission, ENNHRI calls on the EU to protect NHRIs faced with strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs), while also supporting their work to protect other human rights defenders dealing with similar threats.

ENNHRI welcomes the development of the anti-SLAPP initiative under the wider European Democracy Action Plan. It stands ready to cooperate with the European Union to protect human rights defenders and civil society in the EU, including activities linked to the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the rule of law instruments. 

ENNHRI recommends the EU to:

  • include explicit reference to NHRIs as rights defenders in the legislative proposal to ensure consistency with EU policies;
  • cover legal harassment, such as SLAPPs, targeted at NHRIs, and put forward uniform safeguards which should offer protection to all those engaging in public participation including rights defenders;
  • create and maintain a mechanism in the EU for rights defenders to report attacks, register risks, map trends and activate timely and targeted support;
  • recognise and support the role of NHRIs in countering attempts to silence pluralistic public debate and protect journalists and other rights defenders;
  • ensure synergies and complementarity of the SLAPP initiative with the policies on the rule of law and fundamental rights;
  • further support ENNHRI’s role to enable NHRIs’ across the EU to address SLAPPs.

This ENNHRI submission provides a basis for a more detailed submission to the formal consultation of the initiative, which is due end of the year.

» Read the full submission.