(Brussels, 11 July) The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) initiative, to be endorsed on 13 July, may lead to a serious breach of the EU’s commitments to raise human rights concerns in all bilateral relations, says Amnesty International.

The fact that there is no reference to human rights in the current proposal effectively means that increased cooperation and dialogue will be based purely on commercial and financial terms – unlike the current mechanisms, which have a human rights dimension.

“Has this proposal in part been created to bypass human rights obligations? The total absence of human rights provisions leaves this question open,” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.

“If this is the case, we are facing a dangerous precedent: it not only undermines core principles of the EU’s relations with third countries but openly allows human rights to be sidelined for the sake of business” he added.

In a letter sent to the French EU Presidency Amnesty International raised its concerns and asked that the EU’s commitment to human rights principles in external relations is strengthened rather than weakened in any new initiative.

Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Tel: 32-2-5021499 Fax: 32-2-5025686
Web-site: http://www.amnesty-eu.org