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World NGO Day: EU is mobilising all tools to support NGO workers, human rights defenders, and journalists worldwide

“Civil society plays a crucial role as the voice for the most vulnerable, contributing to robust democracies and accountable governance. However, they continue to work in an increasingly restrictive and hostile environment in many parts of the world,” said EU High Representative Josep Borrell in a statement dedicated to World NGO Day on 27 February.

He noted that NGO workers, human rights defenders, and journalists are increasingly threatened and attacked, “often with impunity”.

The EU high official reminded that the work of civil society is often stigmatised through “foreign agent” laws or other legislative and administrative measures that impede the legitimate activities of NGOs. 

“The use of excessive force against peaceful protesters hinders democratic participation. The EU strongly condemns attacks on freedom of association and peaceful assembly,” said Borrell.

He added that the EU is mobilising all tools at its disposal to counter these trends, providing substantial financial support to civil society. The EU System for Enabling Environment (EU SEE), launched in 2023 with €50 million, monitors and promotes civic space in 86 partner countries.

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