Economic and social advancement is sustainable only when people can participate freely and actively. Civil and human rights are under pressure in many places, however. Many people's room for manoeuvre is being drastically restricted. People who stand up for their rights and those of others face exclusion and put their lives at risk. HEKS/EPER therefore empowers, networks and protects people and grassroots organisations that non-violently defend co-determination and rights. HEKS/EPER helps local people better understand their rights and encourages dialogue between population, government and business sector at the local, national and international levels.