Human Rights Based Impact Assessment: the European Commission
In 2004, the Commission started the process of
assessing the impact of its EIDHR programming activities with IHRN
contributing Karen Kenny, in an advisory role. This process is
on-going, and involves identifying human rights based indicators for
the specific EIDHR objectives and developing guidance for their use in
practice by both EC officials and applicants for funding.
In May 2001, the EC approved a specific Communication on Human Rights and Democratisation in Third Countries
providing a series of strategic guidelines for the European Commission.
It also introduced the practice of multi-annual programming for the
‘European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights’ (EIDHR).
The Communication identifies a number of ways in which the Commission can act effectively:
Promote coherent and
consistent policies in support of human rights and democratisation:
between Commission policies; between those policies and other EU action
- especially the Common Foreign and Security Policy; and between EU and
Member States policies - especially as concerns the mainstreaming of
human rights through development, and other, assistance.
higher priority to human rights and democratisation in EU relations
with third countries and take a more pro-active approach in political
dialogue, trade and external assistance.
a more strategic approach to the EIDHR, matching these programmes with
EU commitments on human rights and democracy. The Communication
identifies four ‘thematic areas’ in which the EIDHR should devote most
of its resources: i) democratisation, good governance and the rule of
law; ii) abolition of the death penalty; iii) torture, impunity,
international tribunals; and iv) Racism, xenophobia and discrimination
against minorities and indigenous peoples. Twenty-nine ‘focus
countries’ were identified, while flexibility was also retained to
respond to urgent needs. EIDHR provides approximately 100 such grants
to organisations – governmental, inter-governmental and
non-governmental each year.