Puzzling report on human rights and democracy passes in the EU Committee for Foreign Affairs

12 NOVEMBER 2018, STRASBOURG, FRANCE – On Monday evening the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) adopted the Annual report on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter (2018/2098(INI)).

The report aims to implement and update good practices by promoting respect for human rights in all EU’s foreign policies. However, the text adopted contains troubling ambiguities and deficiencies.

In recent weeks World Youth Alliance Europe (WYAE) monitored all discussions regarding this report. We meticulously studied the draft and the amendments presented at first instance. We established a network of collaboration with like-minded Deputies of the European Parliament and partner organizations. We prepared voting recommendations for all Members of the AFET Committee and invited all our European members to send messages to their European representatives in order to improve the content of the report. Finally, we raised concerns about the on-going marginalization of the role of the family as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (§16.3 “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State”).

WYAE supported positive and pro-active amendments defining the practice of surrogacy as adverse to human rights, prohibiting the sale of children according to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (§7) and assessing how abortion should never be promoted as a method of family planning (Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development – ICPD Programme of Action§8.25).

We regret that, through the approval of recommendations no. 24, no. 26 and no. 28, the majority of the Committee’s members decided to diverge from agreed international standards on human rights and international development. The amended text passed with a majority of 41 in favour over 6 against.

World Youth Alliance will continue collaborating with our partners and with Members of the European Parliament to address the problematic parts and significantly improve the report before the final vote, which will happen during the next European Parliament’s plenary session in December.

In the meantime, we invite you to consult our White Papers on Surrogacy, Reproductive Health and Family Planning to gain more insights into these issues.