« Increasing concerns have arisen during the period, with the growing harassment of human rights defenders, public condemnation of their work, closing of their offices, arbitrary arrests, a lack of fair trials, introduction of laws aimed at hampering the work of NGOs, attacks on the freedom of expression and the use of new technologies to crack down on defenders. In response, the EU has continued to protect those women and men who protect and promote universal human rights. Under the period under review, 46 public statements were issued by the EU, notably on the assassination of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova in Russia, on the arbitrary detention of Roxana Saberi and Abdolfattah Soltani in Iran, and on the trial of Liu Xiaobo in China. The EU continued to support the cases of hundreds of defenders during the human rights dialogues and through dozens of démarches or informal inquiries delivered by the local EU Representatives.
The latest Human Rights Report was presented to foreign affairs ministers on 10 May by Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and chair of the Foreign Affairs Council. The report gives an overview of the wide range of EU activities to promote human rights worldwide, covering the period from July 2008 to December 2009.
Information on EU action towards human rights defenders is available on pages 13, 55, 56, 112, 122-127, 131, 133, 135, 139, 143-146, 149, 151, 159, 170-174
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