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How the EU is Addressing Fundamental Rights Challenges in 2023. Targeted Support for Refugees, Tackling Child Poverty and Hate, and Protecting Digital Rights


 The Fundamental Rights Report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) for 2023 provides a comprehensive analysis of the developments and shortcomings in human rights protection across the EU in 2022.

Implications of Aggression against Ukraine on Fundamental Rights

The report delves into the fundamental rights implications of the Ukraine conflict for the EU, highlighting the challenges that emerged. Notably, the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive played a vital role in granting access to work, housing, social assistance, education, and healthcare to those affected. However, the majority of arrivals were women and girls who often had caregiving responsibilities for children or older family members. Addressing these needs, the report emphasizes the importance of targeted support, including affordable and safe housing for women and children, suitable job opportunities to prevent exploitation, integration of children into mainstream education, and comprehensive support for women affected by sexual violence and exploitation.

Statement by FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty

FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty stresses that women and girls are innocent victims of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and commends EU countries for providing temporary protection and support. However, he emphasizes the need for long-term solutions that pay particular attention to women, given the ongoing conflict.

Key Fundamental Rights Issues in 2022

  1. Rising Child Poverty: The report highlights the impact of the pandemic and increasing energy costs, which pushed nearly one in four children into poverty. It calls for the implementation of actions outlined in the European Child Guarantee and urges the allocation of funds to alleviate child poverty, especially among vulnerable households, including single-parent, Roma, and migrant families.
  2. Widespread Hate: Hate crime and hate speech, particularly online, remained concerning in 2022, partially influenced by the Ukraine conflict. The report emphasizes the importance of national anti-racism action plans, with more countries urged to develop concrete measures at local and regional levels to combat racism effectively.
  3. Safeguarding Rights in a Technologically Advancing World: The report addresses the growing concern of protecting fundamental rights as artificial intelligence and digital services expand. It recognizes the EU Digital Services Act as a milestone for strong rights protection and calls for its effective implementation. Additionally, the report emphasizes the need for robust safeguards within the proposed EU’s AI Act.

Proposals for Action and Topics Covered

The report provides actionable proposals and covers various fundamental rights topics, including the utilization of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights by Member States, equality and non-discrimination, combating racism and related intolerance, Roma inclusion and equality, asylum, borders, and migration policies, information society, privacy, and data protection, child rights, access to justice, and the implementation of the UN’s Disability Convention (CRPD).

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