European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR)

European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR)


In 2014, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) No 235/2014 establishing a financing instrument for democracy and human rights worldwide for the period 2014-20, replacing and building upon the EIDHR (2007-2013) and the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (2000-2006).

The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is a thematic funding instrument for EU external action aiming to support projects in the area of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy in non-EU countries. This instrument is designed to support civil society to become an effective force for political reform and defence of human rights.


The EIDHR is considered as a unique tool due to its specific features and represents a key added-value to the EU policy toolbox, being complementary to other EU external assistance instruments.

It offers independence of action, as it cooperates directly with human rights defenders and local civil society organisations without the need for approval of national authorities. It has the ability to address sensitive political issues (such as death penalty, torture, freedom of expression in restrictive contexts, discriminations against vulnerable groups) and can respond to emerging and complex challenges, due to its high flexibility in terms of implementation modalities.

The EIDHR has a global scope and can intervene anywhere outside the European Union, operating worldwide at national, regional or even international level, both in developing and non-developing countries.

The specific objectives and priorities of the EIDHR for the period 2014-2020 are the following:

Objective 1 – Support to human rights and human rights defenders in situations where they are most at risk.

Objective 2 – Support to other priorities of the Union in the field of human rights

Objective 3 – Support to democracy.

Objective 4 – EU Election Observation Missions (EOMs)

Objective 5 – Support to targeted key actors and processes, including international and regional human rights instruments and mechanisms.


To achieve its objectives, the EIDHR provides various types of support, including inter alia:

  • Grants to local civil society organisations (CSOs) and Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) under the EIDHR Country Based Support Scheme (CBSS) using the standard EU call for proposals (CfP) process. Such grants are awarded, managed and monitored by EU Delegations in partner countries.
  • Grants to CSOs and HRDs through ‘Global’ calls for proposals (directly managed by DG DEVCO headquarters in Brussels), which are launched every year to support specific human rights priorities.
  • Emergency grants to HRDs at risk under the EIDHR Emergency Fund for HRDs at risk  , which allows the headquarters or the Delegations to channel modest-size emergency grants of up to 10,000 Euro.
  • Direct and confidential grants under the Human Rights Crisis Facility to CSOs and HRDs in recognised crisis situations
  • Targeted actions identified in the Annual Action Programmes to support key actors.


The EIDHR has a strong focus on civil society organisations. Refer to Article 11 of Regulation (EU) No. 236/2014 for the comprehensive list of eligible actors for funding under the EIDHR.

The EIDHR includes the possibility, under specific circumstances, to finance projects from non-registered organisations.


The budget for the current EIDHR amounts to €1,332.75 M for the period 2014-2020. This represents an increase of approximately 21% compared to the 2007-2013 budget.


  • The Practical Guide explains contracting procedures for EU external aid contracts financed by the EU general budget (Budget) and the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

    Consult PRAG

  • E-learning course on the Practical Guide. Do you want to know more about EU external action procedures? See our self-learning distance course on contractual procedures.

    e-Learning PRAG

  • e-Calls PROSPECT is the electronic system developed by EuropeAid to facilitate the submission of applications for call for proposals.

    e-Calls PROSPECT

  • Potential Applicant Data Online Registration database contains information on organisations applying for European Commission grants in the field of external assistance.

    e-Calls PADOR

  • Delegated Cooperation, Cooperation with partner countries and with international organisations, Co-financing and Management Modes.

    Consult DEVCO-Companion

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