Human Rights at the Heart of the European Integration and UN Sustainable Development Goals
East meets West Expert Series
An Expert Conversation organised by the Europe-Asia Centre, Brussels
In 2012, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the EU on the grounds that the organisation had advanced peace in Europe. When awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said its decision was based on the stabilising role the EU has played in transforming most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace. The EU’s most important achievement, according to the committee, has been “the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights.
Human rights are also at the heart of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as in the absence of human dignity we cannot hope to drive sustainable development. Human Rights are driven by progress on all SDGs, and the SDGs are driven by advancements on human rights.
The COVID-19 has even more highlighted the need for a more human-rights centric approach on the global scale. The crisis caused by the pandemic has been fuelled by deepening poverty, rising inequalities, structural and entrenched discrimination, and other gaps in human rights protection. Only measures to close these gaps and advance human rights can ensure we fully recover and build back a thriving world that is better, more resilient, just, and sustainable. End discrimination of any kind: Structural discrimination and racism have fuelled the COVID-19 crisis. Equality and non-discrimination are core requirements for a post-COVID world.
H. E. Ivan Bizjak, Former Director General of Justice and Home Affairs, Council of the European Union, Slovenia
Mr Matic Gajsek, Deputy Director, Europe – Asia Center, Belgium