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Democracy Defenders

The EU and Human Rights

Support for human rights defenders is one of the major priorities of the EU external policy in the field of human rights. Human rights defenders – who sometimes put their life at risk to defend and promote fundamental human rights – are key agents of change in their own society.

In order to streamline EU actions in this field, in 2004 the EU adopted Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders. The guidelines translate into concrete terms the assistance and protection given human rights defenders. Since 2004, the EU has taken a series of measures to translate the guidelines into action. Drawing on prior experiences, the guidelines were reviewed and a revised version of this document was approved by the EU in November 2008.

At the local level, the EU Delegation to Türkiye together with the EU diplomatic missions in Türkiye adopted an "EU Local Strategy to Support and Defend Human Rights Defenders in Türkiye" in 2011. It was updated in 2012 and 2015 (Focal points were updated in 2016). This strategy was drafted with input from Turkish Human Rights Defenders (HRDs). It provides operational guidelines for EU Missions to implement the EU's Guidelines for Human Rights Defenders, notably with regard to the provision of effective support for HRDs as well as the monitoring of the situation of HRDs in Türkiye. In the framework of this strategy, regular meetings take place every year with EU missions and HRDs and NGOs, and a liaison officer has been appointed in order to secure local assistance when needed.

In addition to the Guidelines, financial support for human right defenders is also provided under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). €22.16 million have been allocated toward this aim for the period of 2011-2013. €37.5 million has been allocated toward this aim for the period of 2014-2020.

For assistance or more information about the local strategy, please contact: 

EU Focal Point on Human Rights & EU Liaison Officer for Human Rights Defenders

  • Ms. Sema Kılıçer, Political Officer, EU Delegation to Türkiye

EIDHR Aspects of Work with HRDs

  • Ms. Eser Canalioğlu Çınar

Gender Focal Points:

  • Ms. İpek Seda Geçim

Correspondent for persons with disabilities :

  • Mr. Mehmet Caner Demir

For assistance or more information about Roma integration and Roma rights:


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