Kofi Annan could have been talking specifically about the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where the human rights defenders (HRDs) who are crucial to promoting greater respect for human rights are constantly under attack. So what is the European Union (EU) doing to protect human rights defenders as part of its policy in the DRC? And is the EU, including its member states, implementing its policy Ensuring Protection – European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders in the DRC? Following a mission to Bukavu, Goma and Kinshasa these questions are giving cause for serious concern.