About ELDH

The ELDH is a progressive, non-profit organization, which currently unites lawyers from 21 European countries, who join forces to struggle for

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


  • dictatorships
  • oppression of peoples
  • discrimination
  • racism
  • war and
  • human rights abuses

The ELDH tries to achieve its goals by

  • conferences, trial observations and human rights missions (e.g. in the Basque Country, Colombia, Palestine, Turkey, Western Sahara) are organised
  • prepares legal opinions on issues of international law and human rights as well as on European law
  • publish opinions and letters of protest to raise public and governmental awareness
  • organising solidarity actions and other campaigns

Among the current topics on which the ELDH has concentrated are

  • the European anti-terrorist activities and their impact on human and civil rights
  • the Treaties of the European Union and their effect on democracy, human and civil rights and peace
  • the Immigration Policy of the European Union
  • strengthening international law
  • social and economic Rights in Europe and the Right to Education
  • labour law under pressure from neo-liberal politics
  • data protection and right to information
  • human rights violations in Basque Country, Colombia, Palestine, Turkey, Western Sahara
  • the right of self-determination of peoples, in particular Basques, Kurds, Irish, Palestinians and Saharawis.

The ELDH cooperates with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IVDJ) and other progressive legal 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).

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

ELDH members currently include legal organisations and individual members from the following countries: Albania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Spain/Basque Country, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine


The ELDH is financed by membership fees and and very few donations. Occasionally it has received grants from the European Union. The ELDH is independent of political parties. All members of the Board, including the President and the Secretary General, work on an honorary basis and receive no payment from the ELDH for their work.

Authorised representatives of the ELDH

The president of the ELDH is Professor Bill Bowring, a lawyer in London. He teaches international law and human rights at Birbeck College, University of London.

The Secretary General of the ELDH is Thomas Schmidt.
Trade Union Lawyer, Düsseldorf

Professor Monique Chemillier-Gendreau
Paris (President of the ELDH for the first 8 years) was elected Honorary President. She taught international law at the University of Paris VII, Denis Diderot.

Become a member of the ELDH

Membership of the Association is open to all associations of lawyers of European countries which recognize the Association’s constitution and want to participate in the realization of its goals. Individual membership of lawyers from European countries is admitted under the conditions set out Clause 5. The declaration of membership must be in writing.

© ELDH | EJDM | EJDH 2019