European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) was established in 2007 by the Council Regulation (EC) No 168/2007. The purpose of the Fundamental Rights Agency is to provide independent, evidence-based assistance and expertise on fundamental rights to EU institutions and Member States. The Agency is an independent EU body funded by the Union’s budget.
The Fundamental Rights Agency assists EU institutions and governments of Member States in questions pertaining to fundamental rights especially in the following areas: discrimination, access to justice, racism and xenophobia, data protection, victims' rights and rights of the child.
The Fundamental Rights Agency is headed by a Director and it has a Management Board, Executive Board, Scientific Committee of external experts and four thematic departments. The current Director is Michael O'Flaherty from Ireland. Finland`s member in the Management Board of the Agency is Professor Tuomas Ojanen (University of Helsinki) and his alternate is Chief Specialist Leena Leikas (Centre for Human Rights). Research Professor Martin Scheinin (British Academy Global Professor at the University of Oxford) is a member of the Scientific Committee.
FRANET, a multidisciplinary research network consisting of national experts from each Member State, has functioned under the auspices of FRA since 2011. The network is tasked with collecting data and doing research on fundamental rights issues in Member States. In Finland, the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University and the Finnish League for Human Rights currently form the national focal point of FRANET.
Furthermore, FRA maintains close links with national government authorities in the Member States through its network of National Liaison Officers.