The influence of NGOs on the EU’s human rights promotion towards the post-Soviet space

Principal Investigator
EU external relations
Eastern Partnership
Post-Soviet space
Human Rights
2018 - 2022

In challenging the predominant contention that EU foreign policy remains an ‘insulated sector’ predominantly driven by state actors and EU institutions, the project will analyse whether and to what extent human rights NGOs influence the EU’s promotion of human rights in its diplomatic activities, and will assess what factors explain that influence. More specifically, the project will focus on the activities of local NGOs (LNGOs) from Georgia (and the de-facto states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia) and Ukraine (including the Crimean peninsula and Donbas), as the presence of frozen conflicts or contested territories entails serious human rights violations on these territories. Based on extensive qualitative field research, the project will study (1) whether and how LNGOs interact with the EU’s human rights promotion framework; (2) to what extent does their choice of advocating specific rights, cases or broader issues affect the EU’s stand; and (3) whether the (geo)political sensitivity of human rights issues related to conflicts or contested territories generates a mismatch between the LNGOs’ and the EU’s human rights agenda.