Supporting human
rights organisations

Grant-making for human rights organisations

We support the work of your organisation, human rights group, or community defending rights through small grants to develop innovative projects, strengthen your capacities, or to ensure your financial survival.

This programme is especially addressed to groups or NGOs that have limited capacity to approach donors, including those particularly targeted because of the issues they work on, those recently established or not having the possibility to register in their countries of operation, those in need of a timely and flexible response, and those working in remote and isolated areas.

ProtectDefenders.eu implements the support programme to local human rights organisations through its partners UAF, EMHRF, FIDH, OMCT, RSF, PI and PBI

Eligibility and fields of intervention

Call for proposals are either open or will be regularly issued by the partners to cover the following thematic areas

Consolidating operational capacities of local human rights organisations.

ProtectDefenders.eu prioritises funds for operational activities rarely covered by other donors yet important to the medium to long term prospects for Human Rights Defenders, such as:

  • Supporting emerging local initiatives, especially the ones in isolated areas or strengthening human rights defenders protection structures, such as networks or focal points;
  • Providing a lifeline to local organisations that are ‘endangered’ by unexpected and/or grave security, financial, legal or administrative situations

Expanding capacities to implement local innovative activities and projects to prevent and respond to infringements faced by human rights defenders and their organisations, and to advance a human rights agenda. ProtectDefenders.eu supports strategies related to advocacy or public campaigns, capacity building and trainings, documentation and printing of materials, joint development and implementation of protection plans by human rights organisations and networks.

  • Building capacities of local organisations, by allowing them to obtain and/or conduct specific trainings in areas that would assist in protecting them, such as physical and digital security, legal defense, litigation, etc.;
  • Campaigning and advocating for the protection of defenders and to advance a human rights agenda, such as through “academic” visits of special rapporteurs, national, regional and international campaigns or advocacy missions to counter funding restrictions, defamation and the criminalisation of human rights defenders in countries in situations of early warning, and to support initiatives for legal and policy change

Apply for a grant

Shelter initiatives programme

The “Shelter Initiatives” programme contributes to enhance and increase the capacity of shelters and other initiatives for the temporary relocation of HRDs at risk at the local and regional levels.

Its specific objectives are:

  • Providing direct material and financial support to new and emerging shelter programmes to develop and strengthen their capacity to deliver effective temporary relocation through a call for proposals.
  • Providing advice and expertise and facilitating networking opportunities and knowledge-sharing between initiatives.

This programme takes into account the fact that the differences in terms of language, culture, climate, and distance play a crucial role in the decision of some HRDs at risk whether to relocate or not. It thus complements international relocation schemes by supporting those local and regional projects that respond to the needs of HRDs according to the specificities of the local and regional context; thus benefiting from best practices identified by local entities:

Local and regional initiatives are key relocation partners for defenders at risk, thanks to their first-hand contextual information, close relations with actors working on human rights issues in the countries of origin, their ability to react quickly to emergencies, and their expertise in handling in-depth follow-up once the HRDs come back to their country.

The European Union Temporary Relocation Platform

As part of the support provided to human rights organisations, ProtectDefenders.eu coordinates the European Union Temporary Relocation Platform (EUTRP), a network of entities working in the protection of HRDs or with resources to support them. Its main goal is to facilitate coordination and cooperation among actors involved in the temporary relocation of HRDs at risk.

Currently, the EUTRP includes 69 members:

  • 60 non-governmental actors
  • 2 EU institutions
  • 4 national Governments
  • 3 regional/local Governments

The EUTRP is a space to:

  • Provide a collective response to individual cases of HRDs at risk, including cross-checking of references;
  • Provide and receive advice and expertise;
  • Facilitate knowledge-sharing and peer-to-peer learning;
  • Facilitate networking opportunities;
  • Identify fundraising opportunities;
  • Develop research;
  • Capacity-building;
  • Develop joint actions and strategies;
  • Receive and disseminate information related to the temporary relocation of HRDs at risk with key stakeholders;

To learn more about this initiative or to join the EUTRP, contact the Platform Coordination here

I am a defender at risk, which program should I apply to?
Frequently Asked Questions about ProtectDefenders.eu’s grants

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

We mobilise two different types of funding for local organisations:

  • If you are a grass-roots organisation (either a formally registered entity or community or a loose group defending rights), you can apply for funding to strengthen and sustain your activities . The scope of the projects and activities we can cover under the Strenghtening Organisations programme is wide and, among other, we can support emerging initiatives; lifeline support in case of financial, legal or administrative repression; capacity-building projects such as training; or innovative advocacy and campaigning actions.
  • If you are an organisation interested in or running a temporary relocation programme for human rights defenders, you can share your query about funding by contacting us (mail to shelters@protectdefenders.eu).

Additionally, the EUTRP offers non-financial support to organisations involved in activities related with temporary relocation of HRDs at risk. This kind of support includes peer-to-peer learning, networking, or training.

You can apply to the strengthening organizations program either through our secure web form or our downloadable application form.

For other funding opportunities, please contact us directly.

Yes. You can use the downloadable application forms, which can be found above in this section.

The Strengthening Organizations can cover for a maximum of 15,000EUR, with the average grant being 6,000 EUR. However, these values are only illustrative: ProtectDefenders.eu will assess the relevance of the measures on a case by case basis.

Not necessarily. You can send a request and communicate with us in English, French, Spanish, Arabic or Russian.

Only one request per organisation will be processed at a time. If you send several requests, you will be asked to choose which one shall be processed. Also, if you have applied to different programs outside of ProtectDefenders.eu at the same time, please indicate this in your application form.

It is essential that you answer to all questions in the form. Please provide sufficient information to give an understandable overview, however you do not need to include information that is not directly related to the questions or not relevant to the present request.

In our Strengthening Organizations programme, after you have submitted your request, it will be reviewed by the ProtectDefenders.eu secretariat. If it meets the program’s criteria, the case will be forwarded to a consortium member chosen based on the application’s thematic and geographical focus. The consortium member will review the application based on their own eligibility and criteria and conduct the verification process.

When your request has been received, you will receive a confirmation e-mail. If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail within one week, please send another e-mail. Your request has likely not arrived to us.

In order to inquire about the status of your application under our Strengthening Organizations programme, please reach out to so@protectdefenders.eu. Please note that the length of the process to assess an application can vary based on several factors. You will be informed of the outcome of your application as soon as a decision has been taken.

Under our Strengthening Organizations programme, if your request has been rejected, you will be informed of this outcome by the secretariat. If your request has been accepted, you will be informed by the ProtectDefenders.eu member in charge of your application.

Yes, all information that you give is kept confidential. If your request for support is accepted, you will be asked whether the information you have provided shall be kept confidential or can be diffused. You can then choose between the two options.

The Europe Union Temporary Relocation Platform (EUTRP) is a worldwide network of organizations, governments, universities and other kinds of entities involved in the temporary relocation of HRDs at risk. The actions developed by its members are diverse and include:

  • Running a Temporary Relocation Program for HRDs at risk (at the national, regional, or international level)
  • Providing emergency funds to HRDs at risk for temporary relocation
  • Providing funds to organizations and other kinds of entities to establish a relocation program or an emergency fund
  • Offering technical support to HRDs and/or host organizations to submit an application
  • Establishing contact among different actors involved in the relocation process
  • Providing services or capacity-building opportunities to relocated HRDs

ProtectDefenders.eu is the European Union Human Rights Defenders mechanism, which provides different kinds of supports to HRDs and human rights organizations. It is led by a consortium of twelve organisations and its work is facilitated by a secretariat based in Brussels. One of the mandates assumed by ProtectDefenders.eu is the coordination of the EUTRP, and the coordinator of the EUTRP is part of the staff of ProtectDefenders.eu The membership of the EUTRP goes beyond the ProtectDefenders.eu partners.

Yes. Any entity that meets the criteria and complete the proper procedure can become a member of the EUTRP. Please, contact us for any further information.