What is RARE?

Together with the Netherlands and Hungarian Helsinki Committees, the Hertie School is connecting 26 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.

Advocacy brief: An EU strategy for civil society – Recognition, inclusion and protection

Civil society is one of the strongest guardians of European values and an indispensable part of our way of life. For years, we have witnessed increasing threats to democracy, a shrinking civic space and the rule of law backsliding across member states. We need to rethink and transform how the EU connects with its citizens based on an overarching engagement strategy. Civil society in Europe is in danger and needs protection now more than ever. This advocacy brief calls for:

➡ Policy and legislative change at the EU and national levels;
➡ Consistent civil society access to policy debates and processes at the EU level;
➡ Strengthened existing consultation mechanisms; and
➡ Access to sustainable funding.

We urge the European Commission to anchor these four spheres – designed to protect and expand civic space – in an EU strategy for civil society in the form of a Communication, within the remainder of its mandate.

The full advocacy brief can be accessed here.

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 brings solidarity and cooperation into practice. Over the course of nine camps in different European cities (see calendar section) participants are 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 a collective European project. 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 develop a joint strategic action plan throughout the duration of the project.



More about RARE

RARE camps and the people behind the programme: Watch the videos