The EU and human rights in Russia

The EU is committed to the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms all over the world. The EU regards the full respect of human rights as vital to the long-term social and political stability of any country.

Supporting Russia’s transition to an open society based on the rule of law and the respect for human rights is central to EU-Russia relations. The EU is committed to promoting human rights in Russia in a sustained and constructive manner.

The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)

In many countries around the world, non-governmental actors are working with dedication and bravery, often in difficult conditions, to help ensure the effective protection of human rights and the advancement of democracy. Direct work with such organisations is a priority for the European Union.

The European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights was created by the European Parliament in 1994 to support both the activities of civil society working for human rights and democracy and the efforts of international organisations. It was renamed the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) in December 2006.

The EIDHR has the following aims:

  • To enhance respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms where they are most at risk and to provide support and solidarity to victims of repression and abuse;
  • To strengthen the role of civil society in promoting human rights and democratic reform, developing political participation and representation, and supporting conflict prevention;
  • To support the international framework for the protection of human rights , the rule of law and the promotion of democracy;
  • To build confidence in democratic electoral processes through the further development of electoral observation and assistance.

Since its launch in Russia in 1997, the EIDHR has supported over 330 projects.

What are EIDHR projects?

EIDHR projects are implemented by Russian and European non-governmental, non-profit-making organisations. The European Commission allocates between 100,000 EUR and  300,000 EUR to each project, selected within national calls for proposals, and up to 2 Mio. EUR to each project within regional/global calls for proposals. Usually the grant beneficiary must part-finance at least 5% of the project costs from its own funds or from a grant awarded by another donor. Projects have duration of between 12 and 36 months.

How EIDHR projects are selected?

National calls for proposals are being launched by the Delegation of the European Union to Russia once a year. They are announced and advertised on the Delegation’s website. Each time a call for proposals is issued, priority topics and areas of work are indicated. Any non-governmental organisations that want to carry out a project in these areas are invited to apply. The Delegation selects the applicants based on objective and transparent criteria, which are also published on its website.
Regional/global calls for proposals are being launched by the European Commission in Brussels .


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