What is RARE?

Together with the Netherlands and Hungarian Helsinki Committees, the Hertie School is connecting 27 leading European human rights defenders in a two-years capacity- and alliance-building programme.
Recharging advocacy for Rights in Europe (RARE) will help form an embryonic 'civic intervention force' operating with a heightened understanding of cross-border spill-over effects and mobilising support throughout the entire European space to buttress resilience.

Why do we need RARE?

If the European Union (EU) wants to remain a global champion of high democratic standards and human rights protection, it must also take action ' at home' within the union itself to protect and fortify defenders of the civic space in countries formerly considered safe havens for human rights work.

An understanding must take root that sees an attack on one civic organisation operating in one jurisdiction as a threat against all others too. National human rights NGOs need to broaden their portfolio and become active advocates vis à vis the governments and parliaments of other European countries as well as multilateral organisations. 


How will we recharge advocacy for rights in Europe?

This initiative will bring solidarity and cooperation into practice. Over the course of nine camps in different European cities (see below) participants will be equipped with the skills, resources and the European network their organisations need to counteract increasingly challenging national operating contexts.

Moreover, the programme offers them a platform for networking, learning from one another and for collaboration on collective European projects. It enhances their organisations’ visibility in the international public sphere and at official (media-covered) occasions and opens up opportunities for joint advocacy campaigns and lobbying. HRDs will develop a joint strategic action plan throughout the duration of the project.


Meet the people behind RARE

Check out their profiles here!

Meet our participants! Watch this video to hear why they decided to join RARE, and why it's the right time for civil society organisations in Europe to grow strong bonds of solidarity and sharpen skills.



RARE @ the EU’s State of the Union (May 2021)

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The fringe event on 'Alliances for better protecting the rule of law and civic space in the EU’ at the European University Institute’s State of the Union 2021 conference on 6 May 2021 looked beyond the legal and political instruments available to strengthen the rule of law, and focused on the supporting architecture for strengthening the rights protection of European citizens. The panellists - the Polish Ombudsman Adam Bodnar, MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Prof. Laurent Pech and Márta Pardavi, RARE course lead - drew on their experience within national human rights institutions, EU institutions, civil society and academia and discussed how transnational initiatives can act and cooperate more effectively to protect civic space.


Meet the course lead:
Márta Pardavi, Civil Rights Defender of the Year 2019.

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For more information on the partners behind this initiative, watch this video documenting the work of Márta Pardavi and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.


This project is funded by: