Repressive governments are pursuing a backlash against democracy and human rights, diminishing civic space and creating a chilling effect for those working to promote and protect human rights. Civicus Monitor lists 108 countries as Obstructed, Repressed, or Closed and shows a serious downward trend for freedom of assembly, association and expression.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) and individual human rights defenders (HRDs) have been directly affected. Instead of being recognized as essential actors for the democratic functioning of society, the legitimacy of the work of CSOs is being questioned and CSOs subjected to smear campaigns. This is true both outside and inside the EU.

The 51 member organisations of the Human Rights and Democracy Network (HRDN), of which PI is part, consider that the European Union’s commitments spelled out in Article 2 and 21 of the Treaty remain fully relevant. The EU institutions and its member states must guide the negotiations of the future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) in a direction that reinforces human rights through the EU’s internal and external financial instruments.

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