About us

Who are we?

Human rights give us the tools to build the lives we want to live, and the communities we want to live in.

The Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties) is a watchdog that safeguards the human rights of everyone in the European Union. Our team is made up of experts in human rights and communications. We work closely with our network of members in Brussels and across 18 EU countries. We are registered as a non-governmental organisation in Berlin and have a presence in Brussels.


What is our purpose?

We believe that everyone in the EU should be able to enjoy and use their basic rights and freedoms. The EU has a lot of power and influence over what happens in EU countries. Because of this, we try to influence the EU to do three things.

First, when the EU makes laws and policies, we want the EU to leave our freedoms intact. Second, when governments or corporations threaten our rights, we want the EU to step in and protect us. Third, we want the EU to use its powers to make it easier for everyone to use their rights.


How do we do it?

We collaborate with our network of members and use four different tools to influence the EU and national governments to uphold everyone’s rights.

First, we use advocacy. This means we use our expertise to explain to people working in the EU institutions and national governments why and how they should uphold human rights.

Second, we help our members litigate. That means we give our members expertise on EU law to use in court cases, and we help our members take cases simultaneously in different EU countries.

Third, we use public mobilisation. We talk directly to you, the public, about the problems we’re working on so you can spread the word and help us put pressure on the EU and national governments to solve them.

Finally, we use capacity building on communications. That is, we train our members and other organisations to talk about human rights in a way that is easy to understand and persuasive.


Where does our funding come from?

Liberties is a young NGO, registered under German law in January 2017. We are supported mainly by Foundation donors whose mission and visions align with ours, including Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE), Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation and the Oak Foundation. We actively seek funding from a diverse range of sources to ensure our sustainability. Relying on many sources of income helps us to maintain our independence.

We take an ethical approach to fundraising, which means we are not only following national and international laws and regulations, but also adhere to ethical standards in our funds seeking activities. The nature of Liberties’ activities demands that it be influential, and its identity must reflect its values of a credible, effective and engaging organisation. Taking an ethical fundraising approach is the foundation that allows Liberties to realize its values. We must aim to minimize dependency on any single source of funding and maximize both the level of funding and the diversity of funding sources. Our recently adopted Ethical Fundraising Policy guides all our fundraising efforts.


We do not accept funding from government entities, agencies, or other bodies owned or controlled by them, regardless of whether they are presented as independent. This decision is based on the actual or perceived possibility that government funding conditions may promote policy preferences and bring undue influence on the programmatic goals and mission of Liberties.


How will your donation effect change?

Your donation will help us become stronger, louder and more sustainable. Unlike grants from foundations that are often supporting only a specific project or activity, your donation will directly support the core vision of Liberties: the full implementation of human rights in the European Union. Your donation boosts the strength of our activities, giving us the possibility to respond to new threats to your civil liberties.



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