Shaping the future of EU-CELAC relations: SOLIDAR at the CSO Forum in San Salvador

From the 7 to 8 September, SOLIDAR* participated in the EU- CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Civil Society Forum in San Salvador: an event jointly organised by CONCORD and Mesa de Articulación and bringing together civil society organisations (CSOs) from both regions to discuss how to ensure that the promotion and protection of human rights are at the heart of future bi-regional relations. 

Ahead of the Forum, a joint CSO declaration was prepared by CONCORD and Mesa de Articulación called on the EU and CELAC Governments 1) To ensure that the respect of Human Rights and the fight against the causes and effects of climate change are the objectives and guiding principles of any regional partnerships; 2) To strengthen democracy and the promotion of a better balance between human rights, welfare and trade; 3) To promote equitable and solidary bi-regional policies; 4) To promote a greater space for civil society.

During the opening of the Forum, SOLIDAR stressed that future EU-LAC relations should be based on alternatives aimed at transforming the current unsustainable growth-at-any-cost economic model into a sustainable one, in line with the 2030 Agenda's motto to “leave no one behind” and to respect planetary boundaries.

 Indeed SOLIDAR members have a long standing presence in the region, where they work to promote the full realisation of political, civil, economic and social rights through empowering and organising people and collectives at risk of exclusion, discrimination, and harassment.

Based on their work, SOLIDAR members

  • Believe that the fight against inequalities and the promotion of human rights - including labour and environmental rights - as well as support for independent and representative civil society organisations, trade unions, community based organisations and social movements  - should remain at the centre of future EU-LAC relations.
  • Consider that EU and LAC countries should promote the implementation of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) international labour standards, such as the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining (ILO C87 and C98) and social protection for all. Moreover, they should work towards the conclusion of a legally binding UN treaty obliging companies to observe mandatory human rights due diligence.
  • Recall the urgency, for all countries, to elaborate and implement public policies for the protection of human rights defenders and ensure that independent CSOs and trade unions are able to organise and to work freely and safely.
  • Call on the EU and LAC governments to promote a global human rights’ based approach to migration instead of a mere border control and securitarian approach. 
  • Would want to see the EU and LAC governments work towards the full achievement of gender equality, and the empowerment of all women and girls. The bi-regional dialogue on gender equality and equity should be operationalised in appropriate public policies and budgets to guarantee the human rights of women, including sexual and reproductive right.

To find out more about CSOs’ vision for the future EU-CELAC relations, read:

SOLIDAR Network’s vision for stronger and fairer EU-LAC relations as well as the network’s contribution to the EU-LAC Civil Society Forum

*SOLIDAR’s delegation included Alianza por la Solidarid (Spain), OGBL Solidaritè Syndicale (Luxembourg), and SOLIDAR Suisse (Switzerland).