EU anti-torture funds not well targeted, auditors conclude

28 Sep 15

Money spent by the European Union on programmes to eliminate torture and the death penalty throughout the world are not well targeted and have limited scope because funding is thinly spread, the European Court of Auditors has found.

The EU works through diplomatic channels and also uses the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) to provide grants to NGOs to work in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the US against capital punishment and other human rights abuses.

Between 2007 and 2013, there were some 180 EIDHR grants totalling over €100m aimed at fighting torture and abolishing the death penalty.

Recipients include the UK-based campaigning group Reprieve, which fights for the abolition of the death penalty in the US and elsewhere, and the Empatia Association, based in Georgia, which works to help and support torture victims.

Last week’s report, EU support for the fight against torture and the abolition of the death penalty, assessed how the funding was allocated and whether sustainable results were achieved.

It concluded: “Projects were often not well coordinated with other EU action, such as development support and political dialogue.

“Projects were generally implemented by motivated organisations with good expertise, but their selection lacked rigour.”

The auditors recommended better targeting of financial resources, better coordination with other EU efforts in this area, improved selection of projects and better performance measurement.

Responding to the report, the European Commission said it was one of the very few donors to give financial support to the fight against torture and capital punishment.

“In many cases, it is the only one. That is why our partner organisations are relying heavily on our support.

“The commission is trying to mitigate the consequences of such a reliance in collaboration with the few other donors in this field in order to ensure as much coordination and coherence as possible.”

  • Judith Ugwumadu
    Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith writes about public finance, public services and economics across Public Finance International and Public Finance. She previously undertook reporting stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express.

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