Why a Fundamental Rights Forum?

Global threats are eroding human rights progress and commitments.

This is despite 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the EU’s very own Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The EU and its Member States are struggling to find effective answers to problems people face. Security concerns, economic worries and changing global migratory patterns are fuelling worries. In addition, the blurring of facts with fiction and mounting fears in public debate are feeding growing polarisation and ‘othering’. Populist movements are exploiting all this for their own gain. As a result society is being fragmented with some groups increasingly feeling separated, excluded and marginalised.

People in the EU risk losing their sense of belonging to the societies they live in and the values on which the EU is built. That said the 2017 EU Citizenship report shows that Europeans expect more to be done to promote common values. The Forum will be a catalyst to (re-) discover the means to ignite in our societies a passion for fairness, justice and equality.

The Forum is a unique space for dialogue on the pressing human rights challenges in the EU. Leading global and European voices from politics, human rights, international and regional intergovernmental organisations, civil society, faith communities, the arts, business, trade unions and others meet in Vienna to engage in new conversations and shape critical human rights agendas.

What can I expect from the Forum 2018?

The Forum promotes problem-solving through interactive work methodologies, hands-on workshops and a series of ‘open sessions’.

There will be workshops, inspiring talks, panel debates with people from different walks of life. Participants can engage in a ‘Living Library’ and try out innovative tools in a ‘Virtual zone’.

A global network of strategic high quality partners will help shape the programme. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals will be promoted throughout the Forum acknowledging how they can drive inclusive and thriving societies. They will serve as a reminder of how the EU fits into the global community. Young people inclulding children will meaningfully participate at the Forum.

So what will the Forum create?

The Forum will lead to concrete and sustainable initiatives by and with policy makers, civil society, faith communities, the arts, academia, business, trade unions and others. For example, the Agency will work with EU Member States holding the EU Presidency from 2018 to bring innovative ‘promising practices’ to complex discussions on the EU policy agenda. The Forum will invite Members of the European Parliament to inspire them for the 2019 European Parliament election campaigns.

The Agency will present the Forum’s evidence-based advice to the European Commission to help them prepare for the new legislature as the new European Commission takes office in the second half of 2019.

The results from the workshops and panel debates, will also provide a solid basis for action by local, national, European and international human rights communities.

How can I follow the event?

Due to the capacity of the venue, participation is upon invitation only. To ensure lively and engaging discussions, FRA will select a broad range of fundamental rights concerns from around the world which you can follow live. We will also keep the website updated with blogs, video recordings and more. And don’t forget to follow the debate online #RightsForum18!

Keep in touch!