European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights

Legal basis: Regulation (EC) No 1889/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on establishing a financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide. It replaces the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).

Objectives: This instrument complements the various other tools for implementation of EU policies on democracy and human rights, which range from political dialogue and diplomatic manoeuvres to various instruments of financial and technical co-operation, including both geographic and thematic programs and the Instrument for Stability. Five distinct objectives have been identified for the period 2007-2010:

  1. Enhancing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in countries and regions where they are most at risk;
  2. Strengthening the role of civil society in promoting human rights and democratic reform, in supporting the peaceful conciliation of group interests and in consolidating political participation and representation;
  3. Supporting actions on human rights and democracy issues, including on human rights dialogues, on human rights defenders, on the death penalty, on torture, and on children and armed conflict;
  4. Supporting and strengthening the international and regional framework for the protection of human rights, justice, the rule of law and the promotion of democracy;
  5. Building confidence in and enhancing the reliability and transparency of democratic electoral processes, in particular through EU Election Observation Missions.

Assistance granted under this Regulation may take the following forms:

  • Projects and programs;
  • Grants to finance projects submitted by international and regional inter-governmental organizations;
  • Small grants to human rights defenders;
  • Grants to support operating costs of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratization (EIUC);
  • Contributions to international funds;
  • Human and material resources for EU election observation missions;
  • Public contracts.

The instrument has been granted a budget of € 554.4 million for the period 2007-2010. Assistance is implemented through:

  • Strategy papers, defining the Union's priorities, the international situation and the activities of the main partners;
  • Annual action programs based on strategy papers and their possible amendments;
  • Special measures which are not provided for in the strategy papers and which may be adopted by the Commission;
  • Ad hoc measures so that the Commission can make small grants to human rights defenders responding to urgent protection needs.

The Commission is assisted by a human rights and democracy committee. The Commission presents in an annual report the progress made in applying the assistance for businesses measures under this Regulation.

Eligible partners: Applications may be made by any national or resident of an EU Member State, acceding country or member of the European Economic Area.

  • Civil society organizations;
  • Public and private sector non-profit organizations;
  • National, regional and international parliamentary bodies, where the proposed measure cannot be financed under a related Union external assistance instrument;
  • International and regional inter-governmental organizations;
  • Natural persons, where their help is necessary for achieving the aims of this Regulation.


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