ELDH is a non-profit progressive organization which presently unites lawyers in 18 European countries, who struggle together


  • human rights and civil liberties,
  • social and economic rights,
  • democracy,
  • the rights of migrants and refugees,
  • the right to development of all countries,
  • peace,
  • equal rights for women and men,
  • minority rights,
  • the right of peoples to self-determination, and
  • the prosecution of war-criminals and perpetrators of human rights violations


  • dictatorships,
  • oppression of the people,
  • discrimination,
  • racism, war, and
  • all violations of human rights


To fulfil its objectives ELDH

  • organises: conferences, trial observations, and human rights missions (i.e. the Basque Country, Colombia, Palestine, Turkey, Western Sahara)
  • elaborates: expert opinions on questions of international law and human rights, and European law
  • publishes: statements and writes protest letters to increase the awareness of the public and of governments
  • organises: solidarity and other campaigns

Among the current themes on which ELDH activities focus are:

  • European anti-terror activities and their impact on human rights and civil liberties
  • the treaties of the European Union and their impact on democracy, human rights and civil liberties, and peace
  • the migration policy of the European Union
  • the enforcement of international law
  • social and economic rights in Europe, and the right to education
  • labour law under the pressure of neo-liberal policies
  • the right to privacy, and right to information
  • human rights violations in the Basque Country, Colombia, Palestine, Turkey, Western Sahara .the right to self-determination of peoples, in particular the Basques, Kurds, Irish, Palestinians and the people of Western Sahara,

ELDH works in partnership with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and also cooperates with other progressive lawyers and human rights organisations such as the European Democratic Lawyers (EDA), the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Trade Unions, Universities, and the European Network against Racism (ENAR).

ELDH was founded on 1 May 1993 in Paris, and is open to lawyers from all European countries.  

ELDH members include lawyers’ organisations and individual lawyers from the following countries

Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain/Basque Country, Switzerland, Turkey  


ELDH is financed by membership fees and donations. From time to time it receives grants from the European Union. ELDH is independent of any political party. All members of the Executive Committee,  including the President and Secretary General, work voluntarily, and do not receive any payment from ELDH for their work.


The President of ELDH is Professor Bill Bowringbarrister in London. He teaches International Law and Human Rights at Birkbeck College, University of London.

The Secretary General is Thomas Schmidt, trade union lawyer in Düsseldorf.

Professor Monique Chemillier-Gendreau, Paris, (former President for 8 years) has been elected honorary President. She taught international law at the University of Paris VII, Denis Diderot. 

Membership application

ELDH can be joined by lawyers’ organisations. Individual lawyers are only admitted if there is no lawyers’ organisation in their country which is already an ELDH member. For more details see the ELDH statute.