Remarks by EU Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis

The European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis, key initiator to the Good Human Rights Stories Initiative, expressed his dedication to telling success stories and inspiring others to do the same. “At a time of challenge for the global human rights architecture, the EU has supported the formation of this alliance to counter efforts to undermine the universality and indivisibility of human rights through the spreading of negative practices and narratives, with this initiative which aims to create a fresh positive narrative on human rights in the world.” Describing his journey towards this launch in New York, he said: “Together with the support of EU delegations in the field and with EU Member States, I have over the past 18 months made successful outreach and high-level engagement with all of the partner countries who are here today to express their pride in their own progress in human rights. They have identified best practises which can inspire others in their region and globally as well as embedding positive human rights in their own countries.”

He stressed that the central focus of theinitiative was on promoting “good human rights stories” – identifying, sharing and publicising positive examples which will inspire and create cross-regional alliances on human rights. He underlined that the group was not closed and that the inclusion of more countries in the membership of the group would be possible in future.

“We are now actively working to identify cross fertilisation of the good practises nationally, regionally and globally, including where the initiative can grow and maximise impact. We are also looking at expanding the “Good Human Rights Stories” initiative to encompass other institutions in addition to governments, such as Supreme Courts, businesses, media, culture and sports, and with Civil Society Organisations. ”

On continuing engagement and furtehr spreading the Initiative, EU SR Lambrinidis said: “We are keen to identify inclusive themes for future Good Human Rights Stories events and discussions which we foresee on a biannual basis to deepen the common basis of the initiative, with an emphasis on why human rights are essential elements of sustainable socio-economic development, social and political stability, resilience, peace and security.”

He also urged that “while promoting a positive narrative on human rights, this broad initiative should complement and in no way overshadow the important work carried out by the EU and its member states to address serious human rights violations around the world, through both public and private diplomacy, bilaterally and in multilateral fora. When fully integrated into the European Union’s and EU member state’s human rights foreign policy, the Initiative could provide an additional powerful tool in the EU’s toolbox to promote and protect human rights in the world.”  This initiative could highlight the positive narrative on human rights.