Human Rights Grantmaking Principles

Human Rights Grantmaking Principles – these principles are intended to help funders align their grantmaking practices with human rights values. They were developed by Ariadne – European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights, Human Rights Funders Network (HRFN), and Philanthropy Advancing Women’s Human Rights (PAWHR) in consultation with our members, peers funder networks, and representatives from civil society organisations that receive human rights funding.


In 2019, Ariadne, in collaboration with HRFN and PAWHR set up a funders advisory committee and embarked on a journey to identify guiding principles for human rights grantmaking. For us, this journey meant that we had to be introspective and honest with ourselves about what it means to be bold and just in the field of philanthropy. We are pleased to launch these Human Rights Grantmaking Principles (auf Deutsch, en Français, en Español) which reflect the contributions of approximately 300 human rights contributors including funders and activists from over 40 countries.

Without a doubt, we currently face considerable challenges to protecting and advancing human rights, and ensuring that human rights laws and frameworks are relevant for people’s lived realities and our evolving political, social, economic, and cultural contexts. This, however, has not meant that the demand for human rights has declined – quite the opposite.

Today we are seeing strong demand for human rights witnessed by mass protests in places like the U.S., Hong Kong, Russia, Lebanon, Brazil and Mauritius where people are calling for their rights to be restored, respected, and protected. While human rights movements are struggling in these challenging times, this moment presents an opportunity to shift the power to those who can build a better future. This remains true for the human rights philanthropic world.

It is not a coincidence that the launch of these principles is happening in this critical moment. If we are to make the most of the opportunities in front of us, we need to invest more in aligning grantmaking practices with human rights values, which is the very intention of these principles.

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Publication date: September 2020