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Human rights defenders [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for human rights defenders.


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If you care about human rights and you want the EU to support human rights activists around the world you might be interested to know about the ways the European Union upholds and safeguards human rights standards as part of its external action.

Empowering women power, human rights and labor day concept with strong fist hands and world map background

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The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is aimed at preserving values such as democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and respect for human dignity. One of the programme’s priorities is to support for human rights and human rights defenders in situations where they are most at risk. Between €200 and 250 million or 20‑25 % of the overall EIDHR budget for 2014 to 2020 has been allocated for funding and providing support for human rights defenders.

The EIDHR provides support for human rights defenders through local programmes, especially when it comes to the rights of vulnerable groups. The EIDHR also provides material and nonmaterial support for numerous human rights defenders, for example psychological assistance, relocation due to immediate risk or training workshops to overcome security challenges. After identifying activists in danger or stress, a platform of national, regional and international organisations committed to programmes for the temporary relocation of human rights defenders arranges temporary shelter for them providing protection and capacity-building opportunities.

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