Human rights and democracy
The European Union believes that democracy and human rights are universal values that should be vigorously promoted around the world. They are integral to effective work on poverty alleviation and conflict prevention and resolution, in addition to being valuable bulwarks against terrorism. Having come into force on 1 January 2007, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is the concrete expression of the EU's intention to integrate the promotion of democracy and human rights into all of its external policies.
The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Strategy Paper for the period 2011-2013 was adopted on April 21st 2010.
Annual Action Programmes, regulations and reports
The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Annual Action Programme 2010 was adopted on 18 March 2010. It consists of 15 Action Fiches allocating €143,994,000 and concerning all 5 Objectives of the EIDHR Strategy Paper 2007-2010.
Democracy and Human rights is funded through geographic programmes and thematic instruments:
- geographical instruments: the implementation of the policy at national and regional level is supported by the European Development Fund (in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries), the Development Co-operation Instrument (in Latin America, Asia and South Africa), and the European Neigbourhoud & Partnership Instrument (in the neighbouring regions),
- thematic instruments: mainly through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, which works with and through civil society organizations in countries where there is no direct cooperation with the government; but also through other thematic instruments.
Democratisation is a gradual and continuous process, which needs to take into account a country’s socio-economic and cultural context. Each country and society is free to choose and develop its own model, in a locally driven process, but those models must be consistent with universal human rights principles as expressed in relevant international and regional conventions.
The European Commission promotes the democratisation process in partner countries through three main instruments:
- political dialogue: to encourage partner governments to integrate democracy and human rights into their development plans and identify opportunities for EC assistance to contribute to those objectives;
- mainstreaming democratic values in all EC development instruments: such principles as political participation, representation, accountability, transparency and equality are integrated in the planning, design, implementation, and monitoring of policies and programmes. Moreover, in the formulation of other policies, any negative effect on democratisation must always be avoided;
- specific financial and technical assistance programmes, focusing on four key areas: promoting fair, free and transparent electoral processes; strengthening the institutional and organisational capacities of parliaments; promoting an independent and professional media; and encouraging pluralistic political systems.