Mon. May 29th, 2023

Brussels, 27 February 2023

Around the world, non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are at the forefront supporting those who are most in need. They are at frontline delivering humanitarian relief, documenting human rights abuses and violations, and advocating for climate justice and gender equality.

As we mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on this World NGO Day we pay tribute to civil society’s crucial role in upholding universal principles enshrined in this Declaration.

The work of NGOs fosters democracy, everywhere around the world. Their role is crucial to monitor and curb the abuse of power and for holding states accountable for human rights violations.

Yet, in many parts of the world, including in Europe, governments use legislation to restrict civic space, limit the activities of NGOs and their access to resources.

Human rights defenders put their lives at risk doing their job. They face threats and violent attacks, including killings.

This threatens the existence of civil society and ultimately undermines peace, sustainable development and the realisation of all human rights.

Under international human rights law, States have the duty to respect, protect and promote a safe and enabling environment for civil society. NGOs and human rights defenders must be empowered to carry out their essential work without fear.

The EU will continue to stand side by side with NGOs around the world and use all its instruments to protect, support and empower civil society organisations and human rights defenders.

Human rights defenders are not alone. The European Union will continue standing up for human rights and for their champions.


In the first two years of the implementation of NDICI-Global Europe instrument, we estimate to have committed approximately €3 billion to support human rights, democracy and civil society actors globally. This includes a new global €50 million initiative to systematically monitor and support an enabling environment for civil society, as well as a new phase of support for the Protect Defenders mechanism, with a €30 million envelope for 2022-2027. Since 2015, the mechanism has supported more than 58,000 human rights defenders.

Source – EEAS


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