EU projects to support human rights and civil society in Sri Lanka

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Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives - Denis Chaibi, Ambassadors of France and Germany and Dr. Deepika Udagama, Chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka at the event unveiling a number of important new projects to support human rights and civil society in Sri Lanka.

Human rights, rule of law and democracy are core values of the European Union (EU). Sustainable peace and stability, long-term development and prosperity cannot exist without respect for human rights and democratic institutions. The European Union actively promotes and defends these values and principles both within its borders and when engaging in relations with external countries.

At the occasion of the International Human Rights’ Day, the EU Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives is proud to unveil a number of important new projects to support human rights and civil society in Sri Lanka. These seven projects are funded under the European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR) and the Civil Society Organizations and Local Authorities (CSO/LA) Thematic Instrument.

The EU will be channeling approximately LKR 813.7 million (EUR 4 million) to the following civil society organizations: ACTED, SRI LANKA CENTRE FOR DEVELOPMENT FACILITATION, Search for Common Ground, Helvetas Intercooperation GGMBH, Chrysalis, Humanity & Inclusion and FAGLIGT FALLES FORBUND FORENING – 3F, who will work jointly with their local partners to promote social rights, women’s empowerment and freedom of expression in Sri Lanka.

These projects will also be instrumental to build the capacities of local communities and stakeholders, including the media, lawyers and women’s rights organizations.

Speaking at the official launch ceremony, the Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Denis Chaibi, stated, “We cannot take human rights for granted. We know the struggles that are still taking place”.

Over the last 10 years, the EU has been funding around 80 projects – for a total value of €25 million – through the European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR) and Civil Society Organizations and Local Authorities (CSO/LA) instruments to support human rights and civil society organizations in Sri Lanka.

This comes in addition to the EU-Sri Lanka bilateral cooperation (approximately €760 million – LKR 123 billion for the last decade) in fields as diverse as rural development, humanitarian aid, reconciliation, governance and public finance management.