EU announces additional €119.5 million support to democracy and human rights for 2021

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Following the 2021 International Democracy Week, the European Union has announced five actions worth €119.5 million to boost the strong European support to democracy and human rights around the world in 2021.

Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said: “Sustainable development and equal opportunities depend on democracy: strong democratic institutions, social inclusion and participatory societies. With these €119.5 million, we renew our commitment to global democracy. I am also proud that the EU will continue to support the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and to help empower local civil society organisations, democracy activists and human rights defenders, youth and women, around the world.

The EU is fully committed to protecting and empowering individuals, to building resilient, inclusive and democratic societies, and to promoting a global system for human rights and democracy. It will not stand idle in the face of eroding democracy and increasing levels of human rights violations, inequality, intolerance, prejudice and discrimination.

The measures announced today will ensure EU support to civil society organisations, democracy activists and human rights defenders in 116 countries, with particular attention paid to women and youth. They will also help foster political cooperation at the highest level for defending democracy globally.

The funds will contribute to implementing the EU Human Rights and Democracy Action Plan 2020-2024, and country plans under the EU Gender Action Plan III. They will also provide much-needed relief to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR).

Actions announced today in brief

The €5 million for the Democracy Support Alliance will foster data collection and analysis, and strengthen cooperation between the EU and its Member States in the area of democracy and human rights. 

The EU will support the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the human rights pillar of the United Nations, with €4.8 million for its 2021 budget. 

Around €100.8 million will be used to support local civil society organisations, democracy activists and human rights defenders in 116 partner countries. These funds will come from the country allocations under the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe (NDICI), and will be managed by EU Delegations.

The €4 million from the EU’s Human Rights Crises Facility will continue to provide rapid and confidential support to civil society organisations in some of the world’s most difficult, dangerous and unpredictable political situations, where human rights and fundamental freedoms are the most vulnerable and threatened.

The Global Campus of Human Rights, a unique network of one hundred universities, will receive €4.9 million for the academic year 2021-2022. The Global Campus was created by the EU to advance regional and global cooperation in human rights education through seven regional master’s programmes.

Background

The 2021 Democracy Week was a series of events around the International Democracy Day under the theme ‘Stronger Together: Partnerships for supporting democracy’.

Protecting and promoting human rights and democracy, the founding values of the European Union, is a key priority of the EU’s external action and a pre-condition for sustainable development and for building more inclusive, open and resilient societies.

The Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe (NDICI) allocates a financial envelope of €1.562 billion for the period 2021-2027 for human rights and democracy. This is approximately 17% more than the 2014-2020 budget of its predecessor, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).

The areas of action are: (i) advancing the fundamental values of democracy; (ii) the rule of law; (iii) the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights; (iv) respect for human dignity; (v) the principles of non-discrimination, equality and solidarity; and (vi) respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international human rights law.

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