Nonviolent action is increasingly used by diverse groups around the world to demand
human rights, advocate for justice, establish democracy and insist on transparency and
accountability in governance. It can serve as an alternative to violent struggle for people
facing oppression, undercut the power of extremist and militant armed groups, and
contribute to regional security and stability. This study argues that international support
for nonviolent movements can be vital, but needs to be based on an understanding of
the movement itself, its strategy, circumstances and needs. It must be an extension of,
not a replacement for, local strategically-planned nonviolent resistance, and should be
informed by close consultation with grass-roots nonviolent movements about what is
welcome and appropriate. The authors propose that more should be done to make EU
programmes less state-centred and to encourage ‘democratisation-from-below’, by
supporting the independent organisational capacity of civil society.