ProtectDefenders.eu has offered life-saving support to hundreds of defenders and enabled several thousands of them to continue their human rights work with more security. It has contributed to addressing emergency needs of HRDs and the pushback against shrinking space for local organisations supported via the different programmes, and to build an enabling environment conducive to better human rights protection and democratic development. Human rights defenders have been better equipped to navigate their work in the face of repression and threats and to pursue their activities for the respect and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the local level.
The unique combination of several strategic interventions including immediate support, financial assistance, capacity-building, strategic communications and advocacy, and outreach has together amplified one another and presents a strong, consolidated and comprehensive approach to supporting human rights defenders. The complementarity and the comprehensiveness of the mechanism have made a remarkable difference by linking individual support to defenders at risk, to building resilience among local communities, while successfully addressing emergency situations and broadening the space for civil society through intensive advocacy.
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Therefore, a higher number of HRDs at risk have been taken away from harm or have been equipped with security skills and tools to protect themselves and their families. ProtectDefenders.eu has also enabled the provision of lifeline support including core- funding to groups and organisations facing increasing restrictions in carrying out their work and even the threat of closure in very repressive contexts. The management of the Temporary Relocation Programme, in coordination with the management of the EUTRP, has also strengthened the leverage for temporary relocation programmes for Human Rights Defenders, increased accommodation capacity and built stronger partnerships.
ProtectDefenders.eu has also successfully reinforced the network of support available for human rights defenders at risk by intensifying the collaboration with multiple stakeholders engaged in the defence of human rights defenders, such as local organisations, international NGOs, and European institutions, in particular the European Parliament, and the European External Action Service.
Lastly, ProtectDefenders.eu has successfully developed, consolidated and multiplied its public visibility and position as a reference for HRDs at risk, and increased its outreach to isolated defenders and those working in the most difficult contexts e.g. rural, WHRDs, LGBTI, indigenous, land/environmental defenders or journalists. This combination of visibility and recognition, as well as the prominent role of ProtectDefenders.eu as an instrument of action and influence, culminated in the organisation of the Human Rights Defenders World Summit in Paris, in October 2018.
Today, ProtectDefenders.eu is fully established and widely recognised as a visible, accessible, efficient and regularly referenced instrument to support Human Rights Defenders at risk worldwide. The EU HRD Mechanism has reportedly amplified, optimised and maximised the support previously provided to human rights defenders, and brought coordination among organisations to a new dimension, both in the daily management of the mechanism and to advance the HRDs agenda at the international level.
These results were made possible thanks to the unified consortium of NGOs, contributing with their own expertise and ensuring coordination and coherence throughout all the programmes. All these elements have laid down the foundation for the continuation of the EU HRD Mechanism and guarantee the ability of ProtectDefenders.eu to deliver practical and efficient support while adapting to new challenges posed by political, social and economic changes and an increasing trend of shrinking space for civil society.