Support for human rights defenders has long been an integral part of the European Union's external policy on human rights. In June 2004 the Council adopted the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, which provide practical recommendations to streamline EU actions in this field.
The Guidelines, which build on the UN Declaration on human rights defenders adopted in 1998, represent the political framework under which financial support is given to defenders through the EIDHR.
Through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human rights (EIDHR), the EU supports human rights defenders against repression and the arbitrary exercise of power, and aims at providing swift assistance to human rights defenders at risk. It also aims at reinforcing their capacities to do their human rights work in the medium and longer term.
The EIDHR provides urgent direct financial or material support for human rights defenders at risk through some of the projects it finances. In addition to this support channelled through our partners, the European Commission manages a small facility to provide ad-hoc grants of up to 10.000 Euro to be awarded to human rights defenders in need of urgent support either by headquarters or by EU Delegations.
The EIDHR currently co-finances projects in support of human rights defenders.