The European Union has expressed concern over the increasing level of intimidation, violence and censorship that the media and human rights defenders face in many countries around the world.
In a declaration to mark International Human Rights Day on 10th December 2013, the EU said its thoughts go out on this day to all those who are subject to persecution because they defend human rights.
The declaration quotes the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton, as saying that the EU will continue to offer unwavering support for human rights and Democracy, and those who defend them.
In the declaration, the EU said it remains determined to promote the respect for and protection of all human rights of all persons around the world.
According to the EU, this year (2013) marks the 20th anniversary of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, as well as the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action that confirmed the universality of all human rights and led to historic advances in their promotion and protection.
The EU said the Vienne Declaration continues to be a source of inspiration for the EU, which has human rights among its founding principles.
Moreover, the EU added that 10th December 2013 also marks the creation of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 20 years ago.
Therefore, the 28-nations bloc of Europe congratulated the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, for her personal commitment and for the tremendous work done by her office to safeguard human rights throughout the world.
One year ago, the declaration noted, the EU adopted its Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, and appointed our first Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis.
Since then, it said, the EU has focused on ensuring that human rights and democracy are mainstreamed throughout the EU's external action and that the EU has adopted new Guidelines on freedom of religion or belief and on the enjoyment of human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons.
The declaration by the EU High Representative furthered that, the EU will continue its long-standing campaign to ban capital punishment throughout the world.