First of all, we would like to bring to your attention the increasingly difficult context in which Human Rights organizations are operating worldwide. On the one hand, as Hina Jilani, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Human Rights Defenders, has been highlighting in most of her reports since 2001, the effect of 9/11 and other similar events around the world has drastically changed the terms of reference in international politics which has resulted in widespread questioning and consequent stigmatisation of human rights work, thus increasing the vulnerability of HRDs. On the other hand, the global efforts towards reaching the Millennium Goals to reduce World Poverty have been characterized by a non-inclusive attitude towards Human Rights, making political as well as financial support progressively more difficult to find.

In this context, and as a genuine initiative to mainstream the protection of HRDs, PBI has been facing increased difficulties in keeping its issues on the international agenda, with the result that our capacity to protect the lives of human rights defenders under threat is being constantly challenged. We would like to invite the EU to take this issue into special consideration and to integrate it in whatever way possible into its analysis, policy-making and action around the world.