European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA): Fundamental Rights Report 2019

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is the EU’s centre of fundamental rights expertise. It is one of the EU’s decentralised agencies and helps to ensure that the fundamental rights of people living in the EU are protected. Fundamental rights set out minimum standards to ensure that a person is treated with dignity.

The year 2018 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2019 reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern. It provides a compact but informative overview of the main fundamental rights challenges confronting the EU and its Member States.

This year’s report dedicates its focus chapter to the interrelationship between the human and fundamental rights framework and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of Member States’ and the EU’s internal policies. It focuses on the SDGs related to reducing inequality (SDG 10) and promoting peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16). It highlights the importance of collecting disaggregated data on hard-to-reach population groups to develop evidence-based, targeted and rights-compliant policies that help empower everyone, particularly those most at risk of being left behind.

In 2018, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU was in force as the EU’s legally binding bill of rights for the ninth year. It complements national constitutions and international human rights instruments, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). As in previous years, the Charter’s role and usage at national level remained ambivalent. National courts did use the Charter. Although many references to the Charter were superficial, various court decisions show that the Charter can add value and make a difference. This was, however, far from systematic and appeared to be the exception rather than the rule. Moreover, governmental policies aimed at promoting application of the Charter appeared to remain very rare exceptions, even though Article 51 of the Charter obliges states to proactively “promote” the application of its provisions.

The Fundamental Rights Report 2019 covers several titles of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union:

Equality and non-discrimination
Racism, xenophobia and related intolerance
Roma integration
Rights of the child
Asylum, visas, migration, borders and integration
Information society, privacy and data protection
Access to justice including rights of crime victims

The Report also presents FRA’s opinions on these developments that provide evidence-based, timely and practical advice on possible policy responses for consideration by the main actors within the EU

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