On 12 November, The European Humanist Federation (EHF) attended the conference “Making the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights a Reality for All”, organised by the European Commission, the Finnish Presidency of the Council and the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). The conference was the occasion to celebrate the 10 years of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which granted the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights binding character.
The EHF shares the conference’s aim to make rights a reality for all. We maintain that the principle of secularism is an effective guarantee for an effective realisation of fundamental rights while ensuring equality, solidarity and social cohesion in a diverse Europe.
The opening session of the conference included the interventions of Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice and Vice-President Designate for Values and Transparency; Anna-Maja Henriksson, Finnish Minister of Justice; and Michael O’Flaherty, FRA Director. They stressed that, although the Charter is a huge progress, much remains to be done to ensure that rights are guaranteed not only on paper but also in everyday life. The EHF supports Commissioner Jourová’s pledge to put the human dimension at the heart of EU policies.
Following the introductory session, panel discussions with members of national human rights institutions, ombudspersons, judges, lawyers, academics, human rights defenders and other representatives of civil society gave varied insights into the daily use of the Charter and its huge potential to improve fundamental rights protection in the EU.
The conference stressed the crucial role of civil society to make the Charter more effective.