Human rights: the Netherlands and Ukraine

The Netherlands is your partner in defending human rights.

Please scrool down for information about the 2022 HRF Call for Concept Notes.

Human Rights Tulip

The Netherlands supports human rights defenders. Every year the Dutch government presents an award called the Human Rights Tulip.

Equal rights

The Netherlands works for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It also promotes equal rights for women.


The Netherlands combats human rights violations and promotes freedom of expression, freedom of religion and belief, and internet freedom. Discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race or sex or on any other grounds is not permitted.

Trade and development cooperation

The Netherlands also addresses human rights in its trade and development relationships.

Human Rights Ambassador

The Netherlands has a Human Rights Ambassador and a Human Rights Fund.

Human rights: the Netherlands and your country or region

The Human Rights Fund

General information

Human rights are a cornerstone of the Netherlands’ foreign policy. Human rights are rights that apply worldwide, to all people, in all places, at all times. They are the foundations of a democracy in which every person counts. The Netherlands strives to protect and promote human rights all over the world.

Human Rights Fund therefore helps civil society organisations that work for the cause worldwide.  

Promoting human rights and supporting Ukraine’s policy in this field is a priority for the Netherlands,  because democracies governed by the rule of law provide the most fertile soil for prosperity, stability  and development.

The HRF Programme has been operational in Ukraine since 2010, focusing on promoting freedom of the media, supporting women’s and minority rights, and tackling discrimination.

*Read more about the Netherland’s international human rights policy:  

2022 HRF Call for Concept Notes

The HRF Programme of the Embassy invites NGOs to submit concept notes by 24 December 2021.

It is expected that projects will start after May 1, 2022.

Priority areas:

  • freedom of expression and internet freedom
  • freedom of religion or belief
  • equal rights for LGBTI
  • human rights defenders and space for civil society (including women HRD’s, land and environmental defenders and indigenous groups)
  • equal rights for women and girls
  • International accountability for the most serious crimes


Although there are no geographical priorities, local and regional NGOs are encouraged to apply.

In 2022 HRF seeks to support innovative approaches to promotion, education and protection of  Human Rights within the priority areas. This may include usage of innovative  tools ( social media, film, arts, books)  to assist protection of vulnerable groups, to combat stereotypes and promote diversity and inclusion.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

Be a registered NGO with non-for profit status according to the Ukrainian legislation (Universities, Communal Enterprises and Private Entrepreneurs or other business entities are NOT eligible to apply)

Have an adequate track record, proven management capacity, and expertise in the selected priority areas;

Be in operation for at least one year.

Submission details

The project proposal should be submitted in a standard concept note form, in MS Word format. Each question must be answered in strict accordance with the required maximum of words. The font size cannot be smaller than Verdana 9.  Any concept note not meeting these basic technical requirements will be disqualified without appraisal.

The concept note form can be downloaded from here:

Concept notes should be sent to:

Please write the subject of your e-mail in the following way: 2022 HRF Call / Your organisation’s name.

The project selection will take place by 28 February 2022.  All applicants will be informed of the results by e-mail. The applicants of the selected concept notes will be invited to submit a detailed project proposal for the consideration of the selection committee.

Concept notes should meet the following criteria:

  • Focus on one of the above-mentioned priority areas;
  • Lead to specific, measurable and meaningful results;
  • Not duplicate activities funded by other donors;
  • Be written in proper English. No Google translation will be accepted;
  • The requested contribution should range between UAH 2.000.000 and UAH 3.500.000; The projects that include sub-granting to NGOs in the regions or smaller communities may be supported if the applicant organization has past experience of coordinating re-granting mechanism;
  • Minimum project duration: 12 months
  • Maximum project duration: 24 months;
  • Twinning with Dutch civil society organisations may be considered.

HUMAN RIGHTS FUND PRIORITY AREAS FOR 2022 (detailed description):

Freedom of expression and internet freedom, with a focus on:

  1. Increased access to information, through a free, open and secure Internet
  2. Enhanced safety of journalists worldwide, with a particular focus on female journalists

Press freedom, including a diverse and open media landscape

  1. Freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), with a focus on:
  2. Decreased FoRB-based persecution and discrimination, including for non-religious groups.
  3. (Religious) communities and faith based actors are more tolerant and inclusive.

Equal rights for LGBTI people, with a focus on:

  1. Decreased criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity worldwide;
  2. Decreased occurrence of violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity;
  3. Increased levels of social acceptance of LGBTI people.

Human rights defenders and space for civil society, a.o. with a focus on:

  1. Increased (holistic) security of human rights defenders and CSO’s, with specific attention for women HRD’s and the most vulnerable groups of HRDs such as land and environmental defenders and indigenous groups.
  2. Enhanced legitimacy for human rights defenders at the local, national and international level.
  3. CSO’s are able to address shrinking civic space and influence norms and decision-making

Equal rights for women and girls

  1. Decreased occurrence of all forms of violence against women and girls in public and private life.
  2. Strengthened women’s voice, agency, leadership and representative participation in decision-making processes in public, private and civic sphere.
  3. Reinforced women’s economic rights and empowerment and female entrepreneurship encouraged.
  4. Women’s and girls’ rights protected in crisis and conflict situations and women’s meaningful participation and leadership in peace- and state-building promoted.
  5. Equal rights for women and girls is a cross-cutting theme and should preferably be integrated in all project proposals.

International accountability for the most serious crimes, with a focus on:

  1. Reduced impunity for the most serious crimes, i.e. war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, notably through prosecution and convictions;
  2. Inclusive engagement with victims and survivor groups to help them achieve (criminal) justice for international crimes, either in national, regional or international justice procedures;
  3. Maintained or enhanced independence and effectiveness of international justice institutions.