Who we are

ProtectDefenders.eu is the European Union Human Rights Defenders mechanism, led by a Consortium of 12 NGOs active in the field of Human Rights.

Front Line Defenders

Reporters Withouth Borders

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)


ILGA World

Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Rights (UAF)

Protection International

Peace Brigades International

Euro-Mediterranean Foundation Of Support To Human Rights Defenders (EMHRF)

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

DefendDefenders – East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project

Front Line Defenders, Reporters without borders, the World organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH form the Board of ProtectDefenders.eu. The Board is chaired through a six-month rotation system among its four members.

The Secretariat of ProtectDefenders.eu is based in Brussels and coordinates the implementation of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism. Meet the Secretariat:

Laura Battistin
Head of Secretariat
Luciana Peri
Coordinator of the EUTRP - Shelter Initiatives Programme
Tove Lise Falch
Head of Finance
Helena Szczodry
Senior Programme Officer
Javier Roura Blanco
Senior Coordinator, Communication and Reporting
Joren Baillière
Operations Coordinator
Lucía Domínguez Cisneros
Grants Officer, EU Emergency Fund
Isabelle Boittin
Acting Head of Secretariat
Svetlana Kniazeva
Junior Finance Officer
Marie Le Henaff
Junior Programme Assistant

What we do

Our mission is to protect defenders at high risk and facing the most difficult situations worldwide. ProtectDefenders.eu

Operates a permanent and rapid response mechanism to provide urgent assistance and practical support to Human Rights Defenders in danger, their families, and their work.

Manages a programme of temporary relocation for Human Rights Defenders at risk to relocate inside their country, within their region, or abroad in case of an urgent threat.

Supports the creation of shelters for HRDs at risk and coordinates an exchange platform for stakeholders working on temporary relocation for Human Rights Defenders, the EU temporary relocation platform

Provides training, financial support, accompaniment, and capacity-building to Human Rights Defenders and local organisations

Monitors the situation of human rights defenders, including in the field, and advocates for a protection agenda for Human Rights Defenders at local, regional, and international level

Promotes coordination between organisations dedicated to support for Human Rights Defenders, EU institutions and other relevant actors

Learn more about ProtectDefenders.eu

Together with human rights defenders worldwide

You can download our brochure and learn more about our programmes in support human rights defenders at risk



The Turkey project

In consideration of the developments in Turkey creating an ever less enabling environment for human rights defenders, with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu Secretariat, five international organizations working in the human rights field established a grant-making program to provide support to human rights defenders in Turkey. The Comprehensive Support to Human Rights Defenders in Turkey program is funded by the European Union.

The project aims to protect human rights defenders at risk, support human rights defender organizations in continuing to carry out their work while strengthening their domestic and international networks and increase their capacities in documenting human rights abuses, access to justice mechanisms and advocating for a more enabling environment for their work in Turkey.

The project is offering two types of grants in order to meet its objectives and address comprehensively human rights defenders’ needs in the country. Protection grants pay for provisions to improve the security and protection of human rights defenders and their organizations at risk through rapid response measures.

Institutional support grants are designed to support human rights defender organizations in their work with two components. Core funding aims to ensure that human rights defenders can continue their daily human rights work. Grants for projects and/or activities aim to increase the capacity of human rights defenders in a broad range of areas.

For more information about our grant-making programme, please visit ProtectDefenders.eu Turkey website.

Work with us

Find here our latest vacancies and job advertisements

Contact us

Please be informed that we give priority to requests from human rights defenders at risk due to their work. Response times to other types of inquiries and contacts, including requests from individuals who do not qualify as Human Rights Defenders at risk, might take time.

Frequently Asked Questions about ProtectDefenders.eu

Whether you are a potential applicant or have some general questions, you can find answers and information quickly about our support to human rights defenders in the FAQs below

ProtectDefenders.eu is the name of the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism, implemented by a consortium of twelve international non-governmental organisations working in the field of protection for human rights defenders at risk.

ProtectDefenders.eu is financed by and works in synergy with the European institutions when necessary, but it is operated independently and is constituted as its own formal entity with its own mandate.

ProtectDefenders.eu is supported by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which provides for 95% of its funding.

The Consortium of ProtectDefenders.eu was set up to implement the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism, and our membership is not open.

ProtectDefenders.eu has a global mandate and thus operates worldwide. Our grant-making programmes however, may impose different restrictions. Most importantly, we do not provide support to individual human rights defenders that are EU-citizens, nor EU-registered organisations are eligible under our Streghtening Organisations programme. Nevertheless, we do support initiatives taking place in EU countries, such as temporary relocation programmes, advocacy activities, or training.

ProtectDefenders.eu has four different grant-making programmes available for the human rights community. Namely: two individual support programmes, the Emergency support programme and the Temporary relocation programme ; and two programmes for local human rights organizations, the Strenghtening Organisations programme, and the Shelter Initiatives programme.

We also coordinate and animate a formal network of NGOs, governments, and institutions involved in relocation of HRDs -the EU Temporary Relocation Platform

Besides, ProtectDefenders.eu funds training, accompaniment in the field, and capacity-development to human rights defenders and communities, by funding our Consortium’s partner activities and programmes. Similarly, ProtectDefenders.eu contributes to fund our partners’ regular field monitoring work, and field missions such as trial monitoring, fact-finding, or advocacy missions, as well as targeted outreach actions to reach out to those most at risk defenders. Finally, ProtectDefenders.eu’s funding supports the public mobilisation and advocacy work of our partners, which contributes to alleviate the situation of individuals at risk and to call for an environment conducive for the defence of human rights worldwide.

You can subscribe here to receive news and updates about ProtectDefenders.eu’s work.

You can also follow us on:

Job and consultancy vacancies are regularly posted on this section of our website.

Amidst the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking all the necessary measures to maintain the global protection programmes in support of human rights defenders and local communities at risk. ProtectDefenders.eu – the European Union Human Rights Defenders mechanism, remains operational despite the coronavirus crisis. We continue focused on maintaining our support to human rights defenders at risk and taking the necessary measures to safeguard our staff. Some of our activities, however might be impacted. Our emergency support programmes – including the 24/7 hotline, remain available, as well as our funding for human rights organisations and groups operating in repressive contexts. We will continue to receive requests for temporary relocation for at-risk defenders – and their families when possible, in partnership with host institutions worldwide, and we will process them as long as movement limitations in place in part of the world allow.