Comprehensive support to
human rights defenders in turkey



Due to excessive number of applications received, the project Comprehensive Support to Human Rights Defenders in Turkey decided to close the call for applications for the institutional support grants to human rights defenders in Turkey. Secretariat will not accept institutional support grant applications received any later than 04 May 2020, 17:00 o’clock CET.

The project received a great interest in its grants program. We are thankful to every human rights defender organisation that reached out to the project seeking support to continue and extend their crucial human rights work in Turkey.

Protection Grants Programme will continue to accept applications as usual until the official end date of the project, 31 January 2022.

For requests to improve the security and protection of individual human rights defenders and organisations, please apply directly to Front Line Defenders, who manages the protection grants of the project.

For guidelines and secure online grant application form, please visit Front Line Defenders website by clicking here.

The European Union (EU) awarded funds for a three-year grant-making programme to support human rights defenders (HRDs) in Turkey. In this scope, five international organizations actively working in the human rights field have formed a Consortium to implement the programme with the support of Secretariat.

The Turkey project is aiming to protect human rights defenders at risk, support human rights defender organizations in continuing to carry out their routine work and advocating for a more enabling environment for their work in Turkey.

Human rights defenders can be individuals, registered civil society organizations and unregistered groups or initiatives who can use financial support for their human rights work.


The project has an objective to provide a comprehensive support to protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in Turkey through various grants.

The grant-making mechanism has two main components :


Protection grants pay for provisions to improve the security and protection of human rights defenders and their organizations at risk through rapid response measures.

Scope of protection grants include, but not limited to :

  • improving physical security of an organisation or individual, digital security and communication security;
  • supporting legal fees for HRDs who are being judicially harassed;
  • paying for medical fees for HRDs who have been attacked or who have suffered a medical condition as a result of their peaceful human rights activities;
  • providing family assistance for imprisoned HRDs or family members who are at risk because of a HRD’s activities.

Protection grants are allocated by Front Line Defenders. By clicking here, you can reach the relevant page on Front Line Defenders’ website and get more information about the application process.


Institutional support grants (1) to support human rights organisations to keep carrying out their activities (2) to strengthen their domestic and international networks, (3) to improve their capacity in documenting human rights abuses, access to justice and advocating for a more enabling environment for human rights defenders in Turkey.

Institutional support grants have two components as core funding and funding for activities/projects.

Scope of core funding includes activities to develop human rights initiatives and to sustain their work. Proposals can include a wide range of activities such as to build and maintain a stable office (office equipment and furniture, rent, physical office maintenance with its inner and outer parts, security measures and equipment, utilities, repairs etc), staff related costs (such as new recruitment and recruitment for expansion, project related or temporary staff, maintaining existing staff etc), digital or software, information security, website and social media design expenses (such as website/mobile site/smart-phone application purchase and upgrades, multimedia integration and upgrades etc), administrative and operational costs, translation and interpretation, publications and other costs (such as transportation costs in international and domestic levels, audit, evaluation and report producing costs etc) etc.

Scope of the funding includes activities related to advocacy or public campaigns, community building, trainings, documentation, joint development and implementation of protection plans by human rights organizations and networks, etc. More specifically, proposals can include advocacy missions and activities to sensitize policy makers, practitioners, professionals, public campaigns and awareness raising about human rights; research and investigation, trial monitoring, monitoring human rights violations and data collection activities; legal actions and costs such as litigation and legal assistance etc; media and communication activities; outreach activities (including coalition building work with other human rights defender actors, for increasing the engagement of community members etc); solidarity and collaboration activities (actions that support strengthening human rights defender organizations and initiatives, actions to support communities at risk or on topics prioritized in the specific objective, actions that help strengthen strategic cooperation with allies, support to innovative projects etc); strategic planning and organizational development activities; fundraising, development and marketing activities.

Proposals can cover one-off events/activities, or a series of activities and projects both at domestic and international level, seminars (internal capacity building, retreats, certificate programs etc); conferences; training and workshops (for the team of the organization, for a target group, in or for cooperation to create a training, for building capacities of local organizations etc); field missions (outreach, networking, research/investigation, exploration etc); publications (leaflets, booklets, posters, flyers, reports, articles etc in paper and blogging, broadcasting, article etc in digital).

Institutional support grants are allocated by the Secretariat

You may read guidelines for grant applications to have more information about eligibility criteria, eligible activities, steps to follow to submit an application and evaluation process.


Since we closed the call for applications on 4 May 2020, we are not receiving new applications.

To apply for a grant, applicants can:

(1) submit an application online by filling out our secure web form. To reach the secure web form, click here.

(2) If you prefer to download and fill the form, you can apply via e-mail. In e-mail applications, both application form and budget proposal template should separately be downloaded and filled. You can apply by sending both completed forms via e-mail to

You may read guidelines for grant applications to have more information about eligibility criteria, eligible activities, steps to follow to submit an application and evaluation process.

If you have submitted a valid application, it will be reviewed by Turkey Consortium board members. Secretariat can get in touch with applicants to ask follow-up questions.

Turkey Consortium board members meet every three months to review applications. Therefore, depending on the time of your application, a decision will be made about it in a maximum of three months’ time.


You can write to us for questions about grants and the application process

ABOUT PROTECTDEFENDERS.EU is the European Union Human Rights Defenders mechanism, established to protect defenders at high risk and facing the most difficult situations worldwide. Led by a Consortium of 12 NGOs active in the field of Human Rights. provides a stable, comprehensive and gender-sensitive EU support to individuals and local actors who strive to promote and defend human rights worldwide. is committed to reaching Human Rights Defenders working in remote areas and countries where it is particularly dangerous to work in human rights defense. It also focuses on defenders who are especially targeted, including women human rights defenders, defenders of LGBTI rights, land and environmental rights defenders, economic and social rights defenders, defenders of minorities, lawyers, and those fighting for freedom of expression and association. is supported by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which provides for 95% of its funding.


Consolidating operational capacities of local human rights organisations. prioritizes 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 Defender 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 organizations, and to advance a human rights agenda. 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 organizations and networks.

  • Building capacities of local organizations, 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 criminalization of human rights defenders in countries in situations of early warning, and to support initiatives for legal and policy changes.