A new milestone for Franciscans in Europe

Franciscans International is excited to announce the launch of a new regional program covering Europe. We believe that expanding our geographical scope to complement both our global advocacy and the work already done in Africa, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific will add a valuable dimension to our efforts at the United Nations to defend human rights and dignity, promote peace, and demand environmental justice.
FI’s regional programs are driven by the needs of our Franciscan and other partners, working on human rights issues on the local and national levels. If they determine that their work can benefit from raising concerns at the UN, FI provides the technical expertise to develop and implement a sustained advocacy strategy. Over the past years, Franciscans throughout Europe have consistently expressed the desire to do so.
“Sadly, human rights abuses happen everywhere in the world and Europe is no exception,” says Markus Heinze OFM, FI’s Executive Director. “We see daily violations committed against migrants and refugees. European business interests play a critical role in the climate crises and violent conflict again afflicts the continent. Especially in these challenging times, I’m grateful that Franciscans have mobilized the resources that will let them bring the violations they witness and document in Europe to the attention of the UN.”
The position of Europe Program Coordinator will be filled by Eunan McMullan OFM. As a barrister, a former Director of Legal Services in the Office of the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland, and a Friar Minor, he brings a unique expertise to the position. Brother Eunan will use this to both foster new connections between European Franciscans and the UN and effectively shape the required advocacy activities. After an initial mapping of key partners and issues in various European countries, he will work as part of FI’s advocacy team in Geneva to raise these concerns with the relevant UN human rights mechanisms.
“In this year of 2023 we Franciscans celebrate the approval of the Rule of St Francis, which we aim to follow to bring peace to our hearts. Likewise, the rule of law is necessary to establish peace among people and it has been disrespected in many places,” says Brother Eunan. “The goal of this program is to shine a spotlight on the injustices that are occurring and to promote our human rights and seek redress from the relevant bodies.”