Human rights as a cross-cutting Issue

The European Union mainstreams the promotion and protection of human rights across all policy fields. For example, EU Foreign Ministers regularly discuss EU strategies and activities regarding topical human rights issues. EU agreements with third countries (e.g. Association and Partnership Agreements) routinely include obligations for cooperation in the field of human rights. Within the EU Common Security and Defence Policy, all EU missions should systematically pursue human rights promotion and protection as part of their mandate. For this purpose, the EU aims at including human rights experts in all EU peacekeeping missions and providing human rights education to all military personnel. The EU is also taking measures to increase the participation of women as well as the integration of women’s rights aspects in peacekeeping missions, in order to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) which foresees the better integration of women in peace processes and missions, as well as measures to better protect women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations. In January 2007, based on an Austrian initiative, human rights were expressly included in the mandates of all EU Special Representatives for different crisis regions. The EU Special Representatives are now required to integrate the situation of human rights, particularly the concerns of women and children, in their work.