Burning themes
up to 28
Panel debates
connect.reflect.act talks
over 650
Human rights school competitors
Side events


Rights, Respect, Reality: the Europe of Values in Today’s World

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Building a strong fundamental rights culture 

The Fundamental Rights Forum 2016 comes at a critical moment when our human rights resolve is being tested. Europe is being challenged to find urgent responses to the continuing refugee crisis, persistent discrimination and exclusion, as well as mass intrusion into the privacy and personal data of everyday people throughout Europe. This is why we have chosen these three themes for the Forum 2016.

Rights, respect, reality: the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Europe of values in today’s world, provides the bedrock for addressing contemporary challenges and a source of promising practices to better protect and promote human and fundamental rights across Europe and beyond.

Awareness of human rights is growing, thanks in part to the EU’s very own bill of rights, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Such momentum needs capturing. For example, policy makers should reinforce the implementation of our strong policy and legislative human rights framework; business should stimulate the growing interest in corporate social responsibility, and inclusive sustainable growth; and rights holders should be empowered to participate fully in life.

The Forum was created as an inclusive and innovative platform to draw in contributors including leading experts, policy makers and practitioners from all walks of life. The Forum will be engaging and interactive to involve and capture the views of all contributors. This includes the use of connect.reflect.act - Talks, panel debates, participant voting, participatory workshops, lively debates from speakers with opposing views, and a market place of ideas where organisations can come and display their work.

Based on the principle that a multi-stakeholder, systematic and futureoriented approach is vital to ensure everyone in the EU can enjoy their fundamental rights, the Forum encourages all actors to strengthen the protection and promotion of fundamental rights across the EU.

Key facts „

  • Three burning themes: inclusion, refugee protection, the digital age „
  • Four clusters: innovation for fundamental rights, rights-based governance, empowering rights holders, fundamental rights-compliant sustainable growth „„
  • Three and a half days of engaging discussions and inspiring debates (also web streamed) on the contemporary situation of fundamental and human rights „
  • Up to 28 workshops, 6 panel debates, 10 'connect.reflect.act - Talks' about good practices, pressing challenges and innovative solutions „„
  • Networking with over 650 contributors from over 28 countries „„
  • Over 130 visionary speakers and international experts „„
  • One human rights competition for school children „„
  • Many concrete ideas to strengthen future protection and awareness of fundamental rights

What will the Forum offer? „

  • Strategic dialogue and the exchange of cutting-edge knowledge, out-of-the-box thinking and good practice „„
  • New partnerships between decision makers, experts and practitioners „„
  • Commitments to fundamental rights „„
  • Support networks and knowledge hubs to tap into „„
  • Lasting impact as FRA will support the follow-up and aims to reconvene the Forum periodically


The Forum will focus on how the three themes of inclusion, refugee protection, the digital age are connected, taking the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, as the starting point. For example, those building an inclusive society need to involve those working to protect migrants and refugees. Similarly digital policies can have an impact on migration and inclusion policies, and vice versa.


Each day will look at the themes from a different perspective:

  • 20/6 Innovation for fundamental rights: How can we find practical solutions to raising awareness of fundamental rights in the EU, using digital technology, and human rights expertize? How can we enhance culture of human rights in our cities, schools and communities? How can we maintain cohesive and human rights empowering societies as cities evolve?
  • 21/6 Rights-based governance: What are the policies, structures and laws that are working well, or are still needed, to help promote and protect fundamental rights? How can the process of governance respect rights more?
  • 22/6 Empowering rights holders: What can be done to help raise awareness of fundamental rights as a means to empowering rights holders and young people? How can we enable disadvantaged groups to participate fully in economic, social, civil and political life?
  • 23/6 Fundamental rights-compliant sustainable growth: Sustainable growth can only happen when rights are promoted. What does this mean for Europe? What role should fundamental rights play in the European Semester? What do the sustainable development goals mean for the EU? What role can, and should, business, and others, play in making fundamental rights a reality for all?

Key outcomes

The principle output of the Forum will be a set of conclusions, to be issued in the form of a Chair’s Statement. It will summarise milestones of the Forum such as keynote speeches and panel discussions, and will then chiefly focus on the key findings of the discussions. The findings will be accompanied by action points for international organisations, EU institutions, national governments, regional authorities, business leaders, and civil society. These are steps that need to be taken in order to improve respect for fundamental rights in the areas of inclusion, refugee protection and the digital age until the next Fundamental Rights Forum.

Due to the limited capacity of the venue, participation is upon invitation only. Participants were selected to represent the broadest possible range of fundamental rights concerns as well as geographical variety.

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