FRA: Fundamental rights protection bodies need more support

Four new reports issued today by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) give evidence that data protection authorities, equality bodies and national human rights institutions across the European Union are in need of additional support.

EMBARGO: 7 May 2010, 12 noon (CET) /PRNewswire/ — The reports reveal that these key players in fundamental rights protection and promotion in the EU often lack resources, are not sufficiently independent or have weak mandates. In addition, some of the most vulnerable groups in society are unaware of their existence; only 16% of ethnic minority and immigrant respondents to the FRA's EU-MIDIS survey were able to think of any organisation offering support to people who have been discriminated against. 82% of EU-MIDIS respondents who were discriminated against in the 12 months prior to the survey did not report their experience anywhere.

It is important to acknowledge that much progress has been made in this area; the bodies established to protect and promote fundamental rights in the EU have enormous potential. But they need to be equipped with the resources, authority and independence to function effectively. People across the EU are very concerned about their right to data protection, for example, but if data protection authorities do not have the power to take action against those who infringe that right, we run the risk that the right becomes meaningless.

Morten Kjaerum, FRA Director


The FRA has released:

For further information, please contact the FRA media team:

E-mail: media@fra.europa.eu
Tel.: +43-1-58-030 - 671
Mob.: +43-664-8858-1511 (Blanca Tapia)

Notes to editors

The FRA has three key functions:
- to collect information and data on fundamental rights;
- to provide evidence-based advice to the EU and its Member States;
- to promote dialogue with civil society in order to raise public awareness of fundamental rights.

Previous FRA reports are available at www.fra.europa.eu