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Parliament calls for high-level EU human rights envoy with strong mandate

Parliament called on the Council on Wednesday to appoint a high-level envoy with an international reputation, tasked with raising the EU's human rights profile worldwide, to the new post of EU Special Representative for Human Rights created in line with its repeated demands. The Foreign Affairs Council is expected to appoint the new envoy at the end of June.

Mandate

This envoy must have a strong, independent and flexible mandate, which should not be too narrow, says Parliament in a recommendation adopted on Wednesday by 567 votes to 32, with 80 abstentions. It should reflect EU human rights policy and cover areas that include strengthening democracy, international justice, humanitarian law, abolition of the death penalty, freedom of expression, gender issues and children and armed conflict.

The EUSR for Human Rights will be expected to engage with the UN, chair high-level human rights dialogues and lead consultations with third countries on human rights issues, says the recommendation.

Qualifications

The candidate must have extensive experience and a proven track record in the field of human rights and be well known on the international stage, says Parliament. The mandate should be renewable every two and a half years and Parliament should be consulted as part of the renewal process.

MEPs also call for sufficient funding and staff to be allocated to the new EUSR. They insist that the nominee for the post should attend a hearing at Parliament and that the EUSR should report regularly to Parliament on the human rights situation in the world.

Next steps

The appointment of the EU Special Representative for Human Rights and the establishment of his/her mandate is formally a Council decision based on a proposal by the EU High Representative. The appointment is expected at the Foreign Affairs Council on 25 June, as part of the so-called human rights review package.


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