World NGO Day: ‘Human rights defenders are not alone’, says Josep Borrell
February 27, 2023

World NGO Day: ‘Human rights defenders are not alone’, says Josep Borrell

The EU will continue to stand side by side with non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) around the world and use all its instruments to protect, support and empower civil society organisations and human rights defenders, said EU High Representative Josep Borrell in a statement dedicated to World NGO day. Each year World NGO Day is celebrated on 27 February.

Borrell mentions that NGOs are at the forefront, supporting those who are most in need: “They are at the frontline delivering humanitarian relief, documenting human rights abuses and violations, and advocating for climate justice and gender equality.”

Borrell adds that the NGOs role is crucial to monitor and curb the abuse of power and for holding states accountable for human rights violations.

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

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

In the first two years of the implementation of its NDICI-Global Europe instrument, the EU has  committed approximately €3 billion to globally support human rights, democracy and civil society actors. This includes a new universal €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 addition for 2022-2027. Since 2015, the mechanism has supported more than 58,000 human rights defenders.

“Human rights defenders are not alone. The European Union will continue standing up for human rights and for their champions,” concludes Borrell.

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