EU Advocacy

The Counter-Islamophobia Toolkit launch event at the European Parliament, Brussels, September 2018, organised by IHRC.

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Since 2016, the IHRC EU Office coordinates IHRC advocacy activities with the EU Institutions, including the European External Action Services, European Parliament, European Commission and EU Delegations.

IHRC advocacy work in the EU currently focuses on three main strands:

– Campaigning for the release of the political activists and human rights defenders e.g. Sheikh el-Zakzaky

– Protecting migrants’ rights in Southern European Countries

– Combatting Islamophobia in Europe

The action is pursued through the following activities:

  • Follow-up of the policy developments on a number of issues that related to anti-discrimination, anti-racist, counter-terrorism, media laws and regulation at the EU and national levels
  • Reinforcing existing networks (network-strengthening and community-building activities) of human rights and civil society networks in Brussels and across Europe.
  • Presenting IHRC and its positions on a number of policy areas to International and European stakeholders at an institutional and civil society levels.
  • Writing position papers, briefing documents, press releases, research, newsletters to be promoted and disseminated in relevant EU arenas.
  • Advocating on behalf of individual case of human rights activists to the EU officers as laid down in the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, e.g. raising cases with national authorities, observing trials, visiting detained human rights defenders.

More details can be found on via the links below and across the IHRC website.


In December 2015, in Zaria (Nigeria), the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Sheikh el-Zakaky and his wife Zeenah were arrested following the violent attacks carried out by the Nigerian Army that targeted Islamic Movement members. The brutal killing spree resulted in the deaths of at least 1000 unarmed civilians, including three of their sons of hundreds more injured. The victims of the attacks reported the use of widespread force and cruelty as well as acts of looting, arson, mutilation, mass graves, torture, rape and other inhumane acts committed by the Nigerian army. Since then, numerous people are still missing or detained, including the Zakzakys.

IHRC calls on the EP, EEAS and the International Criminal Court to make use of the full range of instruments at their disposal to assertively urge the Nigerian government to wholeheartedly respect the freedom of conscience and expression of its citizens throughout the country. Specifically, IHRC demands for:

– a resolution demanding the unconditional release of Ibrahim Zakzaky, his wife Zeenah Ibrahim and all the remaining Islamic Movement supporters;

– the full compliance of all trials and judicial proceedings with the rule of law and international and regional standards;

– the release and fair treatment of prisoners.

Combatting Islamophobia in the EU:

The EU institutions should play a leading role in shaping policies to fight Islamophobia. The IHRC-EU team works to influence key decision-makers to ensure that EU policies combating anti-Muslim hatred have a far reaching, positive impact on the lives of those most affected.

Our work spans numerous policy areas including employment, hate crime, hate speech, institutional islamophobia, security and counter-terrorism law, islamophobia in the media.

IHRC contributions at the EU level include:

– Meeting with the special representative for Muslim communities for the S&D, Green and GUE/NGL Political Groups in the European Parliament

– Engaging with the European Parliament’s Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI) and various Committees in the Parliament


Since 2000, over 75,000 people have perished on cross-border migration routes worldwide, whereas from 2013 to date over 20,300 fatalities have been recorded on the Mediterranean route, 82% of whom drowned in the Central Mediterranean route, which has obtained the tragic record as ‘the deadliest route in the world’.

The large influx of migrants has brought with it the sprouting of ferments of moral breakdown and barbarization in the already fragile hosting countries, which legitimize a pervasive environment of hate against the ‘others’. Hatred, brutality and hostility have become the new normal in the web and the public spaces to different extents in almost every EU country.

IHRC aims at monitoring and advocating migrants’ rights from their crossing in the Mediterranean Sea to their integration paths in the hosting countries, and the upheaval of the EU Dublin system.

IHRC Material

  • Reports on Islamophobia
  • ICC Reports and Updates
  • Report on Italy



EU Documents:

Some of the relevant steps taken by EU institutions in the past include:

Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on racism and xenophobia 

Victims’ Rights Directive 2012/29/EU

The 2008 Equal Treatment Directive, still pending for approval by the Council.

Racial Equality Directive

Audiovisual Media Services Directive