Quick reminder of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders

January 13, 2012

European Union

Image by erjkprunczyk via Flickr

The European Union Guidelines on human rights defenders were created to help staff in the embassies of EU member states to protect threatened human rights defenders (HRDs). In short they tell EU diplomatic missions to:

  • Produce periodic reports outlining the broad human rights situation, noting specific cases of concern.
  • Take urgent local action when needed and make recommendations for further EU involvement.
  • Prepare local strategies in co-ordination with HRDs, with special attention given to the protection of women defenders.
  • Organise regular meetings between HRDs and missions diplomats
  • Maintain contact with HRDs through receiving them in the missions and visiting their areas of work.
  • Publicly recognise HRDs and their work through use of traditional and new-media methods of communication.
  • Visit, where appropriate, HRDs in custody or under house arrest and attend trials as observers.
  • Raise specific cases with third country governments.
  • Involve HRDs in the preparation, follow-up and assessment of human rights discussions with third country governments.
  • Provide measures for swift assistance of HRDs in danger, including the issuing of emergency visas and the offer of temporary shelter in EU member states.
  • Provide access to financial support where necessary.

Urgent local action can be organised through “local working groups”, of which HRDs should be members.Integral to the Guidelines is a duty to “proactively” support human rights defenders on the world stage through political dialogue and promotion of the UN Human Rights Council and its Special Rapporteurs.  When, for example, the EU President, High Representative for Foreign Affairs or other relevant official visits a country with human rights issues they should seek to meet with HRDs wherever possible and reflect any concerns in their discussions with third country governments.

This is not news but at the beginning of the new year it is good to have a reminder AND REMIND THE EU DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATIVES  of all this laid down in 20 short paragraphs; for full text see: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/GuidelinesDefenders.pdf

3 Responses to “Quick reminder of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders”


  1. […] although they differ a bit in the degree of detail. And there are of course the EU Guidelines.[https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2012/01/13/quick-reminder-of-the-eu-guidelines-on-human-rights-def…] and those of the […]


  2. […] the websites of these countries). There are also some mulitlateral ones such as the EU Guidelines.[https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2012/01/13/quick-reminder-of-the-eu-guidelines-on-human-rights-def…] and those of the […]


  3. […] The EU and Norway – on 18 June 2020 – presented their annual Human Rights Defenders Award in Uganda to Mr. Aimé Moninga, in recognition of his ground-breaking work with male survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and abuse. Although it is a national award and therefoe does not figure in THF’s Digest of international human rights awards [see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest%5D, I always refer to them as they are an example of ‘good practice’ by diplomatic missions [see e.g. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/05/23/two-ugandans-get-eu-human-rights-award-in-uganda/ and https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2012/01/13/quick-reminder-of-the-eu-guidelines-on-human-rights-def…%5D. […]


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