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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 8 May 2013

The European Commission to provide an exceptional contribution for Human Rights

European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs has announced the EU will respond to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s urgent appeal to invest more in human rights.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) faces a funding shortfall for the third year in a row. Its budget for 2013 has already been reduced by 12% (about €13 million), a decision which affects its ability to prevent human rights violations, secure their respect, and protect human rights defenders.

In response to this appeal, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) will provide in 2013 an exceptional EU contribution of €10 million covering more than three/fourth of this financial gap.

This exceptional EU contribution will allow the Office to continue its essential work at a time when monitoring, documenting and reporting on the situation of human rights is needed more than ever in various countries.

"We have decided to make this contribution as this UN Office represents the world's commitment to universal ideals of human dignity. Human rights, fundamental freedoms, peace and good governance are common values and a silver thread that runs through the EU's foreign and development policy. We have both the moral obligation and the political will to protect them," said VP/HR Ashton and Commissioner Piebalgs.

"I’m really happy my appeal has been heard by the European Commission," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. "This is a much-needed and extremely welcome increase in the Commission’s funding for human rights. I hope that my call will also be heard by other donors, so that together we can seize the current opportunities we have to improve the human rights of millions of people around the world."

Good governance, in all its components, is vital for an inclusive and sustainable development. The EU Agenda for Change for Development features prominently partners’ commitments to human rights, democracy and the rule of law and to meeting their peoples' demands and needs.


The €10 million will be provided by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), through which the EU aims to provide support for the promotion of democracy and human rights in non-EU countries. Launched in 2007, and endowed with an annual budget of € 150 million a year, the EIDHR is currently supporting more than 2000 projects in over 107 countries.

While it can act as a breath of fresh air and helps the survival of weakened or shattered civil society and protects Human Rights Defenders, the EIDHR also supports democracy and political pluralism, empower disenfranchised groups, defend victims, promote justice, dialogue, mediation, and transparency.

For more information:

Website of the EIDHR:

The EU and Human Rights:

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

Website of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

Contacts :

Alexandre Polack (+32 2 299 06 77)

Maja Kocijancic (+32 2 298 65 70)

OHCHR Spokesperson: Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767)

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