The EU’s work with human rights defenders

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  • 06/08/2014
    522 65744 1 _blank Statement by the Spokesperson on arrest in Azerbaijan Statement by the Spokesperson on arrest in Azerbaijan /statements/docs/2014/140806_01_en.pdf 08/06/2014 08:14:00 08/06/2014 08:14:00 08/06/2014 08:14:00 nulldate 2014080608 <p>European External Action Service</p> 090126248c69f866 N 090126248c69f866 /statements/docs/2014/140806_01_en.pdf 440011 pdf Y /statements/docs/2014/140806_01_en.pdf 2 /statements/docs/2014/140806_01_en.pdf /statements/docs/2014/140806_01_fr.pdf /statements/docs/2014/140806_01_zz.pdf N ID_INTERNAL N N
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  • 23/06/2014
    Council conclusions on the 10th Anniversary of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenderspdf
  • 21/06/2014
    427 65744 1 _blank Statement by the Spokesperson on the release of Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski Statement by the Spokesperson on the release of Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski /statements/docs/2014/140621_01_en.pdf 06/21/2014 20:32:00 06/21/2014 20:32:00 06/21/2014 20:32:00 nulldate 2014062120 <p>European External Action Service</p> 090126248c23dabe N 090126248c23dabe /statements/docs/2014/140621_01_en.pdf 584740 pdf Y /statements/docs/2014/140621_01_en.pdf 2 /statements/docs/2014/140621_01_en.pdf /statements/docs/2014/140621_01_fr.pdf /statements/docs/2014/140621_01_zz.pdf N ID_INTERNAL N N
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The EU’s work with human rights defenders – Cartoon depicting EU umbrella sheltering human rights defenders © EIDHRThe EU’s work with human rights defenders – Cartoon depicting EU umbrella sheltering human rights defenders © EIDHR

Support for human rights defenders (individuals, but also NGOs) is a long-established element of the European Union's human rights policy, and is built on the 1999 UN declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

Human rights defenders are those individuals, groups and organs of society that promote and protect universally-recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms. They seek the promotion and protection of civil and political rights as well as the promotion, protection and attainment of economic, social and cultural rights. They advocate and mobilise by peaceful means – sometimes putting their own lives at risk – to defend the rights of others.

EU support is aimed at providing assistance and protection. A set of EU guidelines on human rights defenders provides an overview of the EU’s role and aspirations, and has been translated into local strategies for EU missions in third countries. The guidelines can have a concrete impact on human rights protection ’on the ground’. They also provide for intervention by the European Union when human rights defenders are at risk, and propose practical means of supporting and assisting these individuals and NGOs.

Support for the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council is another important component of EU policy on human rights defenders. These include the establishment of a UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and regional mechanisms to protect them.

Financially, the EU supports human rights defenders through the EIDHR. Recipients of funding in the past have included a foundation for human rights defenders, a legal NGO focusing on human rights cases, an organisation of reporters raising awareness of human rights and regional organisations defending human rights.