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European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR)

Launched in 2006, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) replaces and builds upon the European Initiative (2000-2006). Its aim is to provide support for the promotion of democracy and human rights in non-EU countries.

What does it cover?

The key objectives of the EIDHR are:

  • Enhancing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in countries and regions where they are most at risk;
  • 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;
  • Supporting actions in areas covered by EU Guidelines: dialogue on Human rights, human rights defenders, the death penalty, torture, children and armed conflicts and violence against women;
  • Supporting and strengthening the international and regional framework for the protection of human rights, justice, the rule of law and the promotion of democracy;
  • building confidence in and enhancing the reliability and transparency of democratic electoral processes, in particular through monitoring electoral processes.


The EIDHR instrument can grant aid where no established development cooperation exists, and can intervene without the agreement of the governments of third countries . It can support groups or individuals within civil society defending democracy as well as intergovernmental organisations that implement the international mechanisms for the protection of human rights. Work with, for and through civil society organizations gives to the EIDHR its critical profile.Assistance under EIDHR complements other tools which are used to implement EU policies for democracy and human rights. These range from political dialogue and diplomatic initiatives to various instruments for financial and technical cooperation, including the Development Co-operation Instrument and ENPI. It also complements the more crisis-related interventions of the Instrument for Stability.

How much money is available?

For the period 2007-2013 the EIDHR has a budget of €1.104 billion Assistance may take the following forms:


Based on the new Financial Regulation, the EIDHR includes the possibility under certain circumstances to finance not only registered organisations, but also non-legal entities. It furthermore provides the possibility of "re-granting" meaning that in order to enhance human rights in situation were they are most at risk, civil society organizations in charge of the project implementation can award small grants to other local organizations, non-legal entities or individual human rights defenders.

Who is eligible for funding?

The entities eligible for funding depending on the specific objectives of each action/call for proposal are:

  • civil society organisations;
  • public- and private-sector non-profit organisations;
  • national, regional and international parliamentary bodies, where the proposed measure cannot be financed under a related Community external assistance instrument;
  • international and regional inter-governmental organisations;
  • natural persons, where their help is necessary for achieving the aims of the EIDHR.


Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top