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Taking action with the EU The European Union offers several possibilities of action for indigenous peoples willing to make their voice heard in the European institutions. You will find hereafter information about the EU system, and some advices on how to work with the European Union.

Taking action with the EU 


The European Union offers several possibilities of action for indigenous peoples willing to make their voice heard in the European institutions. You will find hereafter information about the EU system, and some advices on how to work with the European Union.

To be a Docip volunteer involves putting one’s skills at the service of indigenous delegates during their participation in the UN arena.

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The European Union

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 Member States established in 1951 and founded on values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

Those values guide the EU action both inside and outside its borders. In fact, it has influence within the territory of its Member States but has also a global impact being an international key player, notably on human rights, development and environment issues.

In this regard, the EU requires that all its development, investment and trade policies respect human rights and it is the largest provider of development aid in the world as it puts respect for human rights at the forefront of its aid granting policy.

Information of EU actors about indigenous peoples human rights violations

It is important to take into account that EU institutions have limited staff compared to the number of topics and the mass of files to be covered. In addition, the EU system operates on the basis of contradictory debate: each stakeholder can participate in the debate to present its position.

Regarding the EU system of human rights, this is the reason why the role of civil society organisations (CSO) as "democracy and human rights watchdogs" is crucial because CSO participate in the debate by informing the EU about and by advocating for the respect of human rights.

Therefore, it is important for you to (1) identify which EU actors are in charge of indigenous peoples-related issues or more specific issues concerning you, and (2) to prepare an advocacy strategy adapted to both the EU system of human rights and the EU agenda. Docip Office in Brussels is at your disposal to support your requests and your work with EU institutions.

The work of doCip in the European Union

The EU works on a large number of fields and of specific issues at global and local levels. It has an influence both on its Member States and on the rest of the world through its partnerships (economical, development, etc.). Therefore, even if your community is not located on the EU territory, the EU might be able to take action to address human rights violations on the ground if there is a link with the EU (eg. a company owned totally or partially by a EU Member State whose actions lead to human rights violations, etc.).

In addition, since the EU applies UN rules in terms of human rights, Docip office in Brussels works in collaboration with our colleagues in Docip office in Geneva for creating a synergy of actions between these two systems of human rights.

What do we do?

Docip Office in Brussels was established to assist and support indigenous peoples in advocating for their rights in the EU.

  1. Information: we work in Brussels to inform you (through Docip's communication channels) about (a) the EU system of human rights, (b) the EU agenda, and (c) the possibilities of action for indigenous peoples to address human rights violations.

  2. Connecting link: we relay information between indigenous peoples and EU decision-makers (when a region or an indigenous community faces serious difficulties, whether in regard to human rights abuses or issues related to development, environment, economic or social situations, etc.)

  3. Support in advocacy: we assist and support indigenous peoples who wish (a) to raise awareness of indigenous peoples issues on the ground, (b) to advocate for the promotion and protection of their human rights, and (c) to contribute with the EU in making indigenous peoples an EU priority.

What can the EU do?

  • The EU requires that all its partners respect human rights.
  • The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) can take your issues into account when exercising their legislative power and can use their moral authority and influence with the media to call attention on human rights violations (whether it is from Brussels or during a mission in your region).
  • The European Commission, as the EU financial power, can put pressure on public or private partners on the ground involved in such human rights violations.
  • The EU maintains diplomatic relations worldwide through its European External Action Service (EEAS) and can put pressure on public or private partners on the ground, notably through the EU Delegation on the ground.
  • The Court of Justice of the European Union may impose penalties on a EU Member State if it does not apply a European rule.

How to take action?

It is crucial to:

  • set up a complete file with information about your community, the context and human rights violations on the ground.
  • identify the relevant EU actors in charge of your issues.
  • make concrete recommendations to the EU, adapted to both the EU system of human rights and the EU agenda.

To this end, Docip Office in Brussels is at your entire disposal at the following e-mail address: eu(at)docip.org. We can support you at all stages and provide you with the relevant contacts, ensure the coordination and the follow-up with EU institutions, as well as during your visit in Brussels.

Emergencies: for human rights and activists in danger

The EU has formal and informal ways of taking action to help human rights defenders in danger/at risk:

  • The EU Parliament can make emergency resolutions denouncing an imminent threat.
  • The EU Commission has small grants to provide immediate financial support to activists in danger.
  • EU staff abroad (EU delegations, MEPs on mission abroad, etc.) may decide to act via diplomatic channels or attract media attention to help the person in danger.
  • NGOs in Brussels can network to take joint action to help the activist.

If you are facing imminent danger, contact the EU delegation in your country and ProtectDefenders.eu. If you need additional information, please send an email to eu(at)docip.org