Following an overall decline in global funding for democracy and human rights in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the Swedish government has decided to increase its official development assistance (ODA) for actors promoting and protecting human rights and democracy during the pandemic. Sweden plans to increase its funding to this sector by SEK39 million (US$4 million); its total funding for democracy and human rights will now total SEK116 million (US$12 million).
Sweden's Minister for International Development Cooperation, Peter Eriksson, explained: "In this day and age, when we see states using the pandemic as an excuse to curtail democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, we are increasing support for civil society and its capacity to operate, not least in vulnerable environments."
The largest beneficiary — the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) — will receive an additional SEK25 million (US$3 million) in core support for its activities. Funding for the OHCHR now totals SEK90 million (US$10 million). Other beneficiaries include the European Endowment for Democracy, Independent Journalism Center in Moldova, Civil Rights Defenders Emergency Fund, and Varieties of Democracy at the University of Gothenburg.