European Union

The fight for human rights is a long-term one. In many regions of the world, the situation continues to give cause for concern: in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where mass sexual violence is used as a weapon of war, in Darfur where the international community is still endeavouring to put an end to the acts of brutality being inflicted on the civilian population, in Myanmar which was the scene of brutal repression in September 2007 and where the authorities failed to respond adequately to the humanitarian catastrophe caused by Cyclone Nargis. In Sri Lanka, the civilian population is the main victim of the clashes between the authorities and separatist movements. In North Korea and other countries, authoritarian and repressive regimes are holding on to power with no regard for human rights.

In this year of the 60 th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 15th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and the 10 th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, it is important for us to remember that human rights are universal and cannot depend on the internal affairs of any State, in Europe or elsewhere. All civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are indivisible, interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

To be more effective, the European Union must further strengthen its unity of action. We hope that this report, as well as being a source of information, will assist reflection on how, together, we can further increase the coherence of our action and thus enhance its efficacy.

Bernard Kouchner
Minister for Foreign Affairs of France
President of the Council of the European Union

Javier Solana
High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy
Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union

Benita Ferrero-Waldner
Member of the European Commission responsible for External Relations and European
Neighbourhood Policy

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