Repressive governments are pursuing a backlash against democracy and human rights, diminishing civic space and creating a chilling effect for those working to promote and protect human rights. Civicus Monitor lists 108 countries as Obstructed, Repressed, or Closed and shows a serious downward trend for freedom of assembly, association and expression.
Civil society organisations (CSOs) and individual human rights defenders (HRDs) have been directly affected. Instead of being recognised as essential actors for the democratic functioning of society, the legitimacy of the work of civil society organisations is being questioned and CSOs subjected to smear-campaigns. This is true both outside and inside the EU.
In this context, the 51 member organisations of the Human Rights and Democracy Network (HRDN) consider that the European Union’s commitments spelled out in Article 2 and 21 of the Treaty remain fully relevant. The EU institutions and its member states must guide the negotiations of the future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) in a direction that reinforces human rights through the EU’s internal and external financial instruments.
Specifically the HRDN calls on the EU institutions and Member States to:
- Oppose the merging of the EIDHR within a single External Financing Instrument
- Preserve and reinforce the EIDHR instrument
- Mainstream human rights and democracy and support to civil society through other instruments
- Ensure targeted support to human rights work within the EU
In this context HRDN urges the EC to create a funding instrument to support civil society organisations working on human rights in EU member states.
Read the full statement here.