European Union


European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR). The areas it covers include strengthening the role of civil society in promoting human rights, supporting the peaceful conciliation of group interests and in consolidating political participation and representation, and supporting actions in areas covered by the EU Guidelines - including human rights defenders, violence against women, the death penalty, torture, children and armed conflicts.

The EIDHR provides funding in various ways:

EIDHR Small Grant for HRDs at Risk

The emergency fund for human rights defenders at risk provides direct small grants of up to 10.000 euros to human rights defenders – both individuals and organisations - who are in need of urgent support, which may take any form considered necessary, for example to cover the fees for the legal representation of defenders, to cover medical expenses, emergency funding for organizations in financial difficulties.


Competitive calls for proposals

The EIDHR also awards grants for projects through competitive calls for proposals. These grants are normally awarded to organizations legally registered with the authorities, but in some cases will be awarded directly to non-registered groups. In addition, in some circumstances, organizations in charge of the project funded can award small grants to other local organizations, non-registered groups or individual human rights defenders. Therefore, if you aware that there is a call for proposals, even if you do not wish to apply directly or on your own, you may wish to find out if there are any organizations with which you can collaborate on a project. These calls for proposals may be launched either by

  • The EU delegations on the ground (see the website for the delegation in your country or you can make enquiries of the delegation's focal point for democracy and human rights), or
  • The European Commission headquarters in Brussels, advertised on the EuropeAid website.


EuropeAid is the development and cooperation arm of the EU.For information on available funding, go to 'Calls for proposals and procurement notices'. Click on 'Advanced Search'. Under 'Programmes' select the area your organisation is interested in - Human Rights, Environment etc. Under 'Type' tick 'Grants'. Under 'Status' tick 'Open' or 'Forecast'. Select the region or country under 'Geographical Zone' and then click 'Search'.

As well as the EIDHR, EuropeAid finances other initiatives, although many of these are targeted at governments. Its website gives general information on how it operates.