International Human Rights Advocacy Groups
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The primary emphasis of many of the organizations listed here is to advocate on behalf of victims
of human rights violations. These violations may include war crimes,
torture, slavery, denial of basic needs for survival, ethnic discrimination or denial of self-determination (e.g. apartheid). Almost all countries in the world today have
ratified the principle international treaties of international human rights and
humanitarian (armed conflict) law. In the case of grave breaches, there is no statute of limitations
for prosecution of the perpetrators and they may be apprehended in any country they visit, even if
they are government officials.
However, the laws are only as good as their enforcement. In addition to the more recently formed international tribunals, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights oversees this huge task of enforcement. Eleanor Roosevelt was instrumental in giving birth to the U.N. commission, along with the Frenchman Rene Cassin, who received the Nobel Peace Prize for authoring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
(Regional bodies like the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights also exercise
jurisdiction, as do many national courts.)
Today, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights draws considerable attention from
governments, many of whom are anxious to minimize their liability for violations. Their
delegates engage in damage control lobbying each year at the sessions in March and August,
held at the U.N. offices in Geneva. It is only thanks to the efforts of nongovernmental organizations (NGO's ), along with a few socially conscious governments, that resolutions continue to be adopted condemning human
rights violators. Although progress through the committees moves slow, such
resolutions occasionally lead to action by the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council.
For instance, U.N. intervention in the war in El Salvador, during the 1980's, led to an end to that
conflict when rebelling factions became part of the government. The Commission also played a role in
bringing about an end to apartheid in South Africa, and had in recent years pressed for an end to
crippling economic sanctions targetted against the civilian population of Iraq. In this last endeavor,
the commission failed, and sanctions were only lifted after the U.S. invasion. In the case of genocide
in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Darfur, as well as Israel's occupation of Palestinian region, the
commission has been woefully ineffective in stimulating any action.
The U.N. Commission on Human Rights official website contains a searchable database of reports, resolutions and other documents relating to its activities
Scroll down for complete listings.
International Advocacy Groups and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's)
Association of Humanitarian
African organizations Compiled
Committee for the Protection of
Center for World
Formerly the Fourth World Documentation Project.
Coalition for the International Criminal Court -
Sponsored by a network of 2,000 NGO'S.
Doctors Without Borders / Medecins Sans Frontieres
Worldwide medical relief organization.
Cultural Survival Defending indigenous cultures.
Gendercide Watch Based in Mexico.
Global Fund for
Human Rights First Formerly Lawyer's Committee for Human
Human Rights Watch
International Educational Development - Humanitarian Law Project
International Federation of
Human Rights Leagues - FIDH Based in Paris.International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
International Peace Bureau
MADRE Women's advocacy and support organization.
Minnesota Advocates for Human
The National Network for Immigrant and
Refugee Rights - NNIRR
Including extensive links to Guatemala and Columbia support groups.
Physicians for Human
Physicians for Social
Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition - TASSC
Trafficking in women and children: various websites
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Women for Women International Innovative group that provides resources to women in the former Yugoslavia, Africa and South America.
See also International Development,
Disaster Relief Organizations,
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American Friends Service Committee Philadelphia based headquarters of the Quakers.
Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean
International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity Coaltion of Catholic development groups based in Belgium.
Jubilee USA Religious coalition working to eliminate third world debt.
Religious Task Force on Central America and Mexico
Washington D.C. based advocacy group supported by a coalition of churches.
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Simon Wiesenthal Center Leading Jewish advocacy organization.
World Council of Churches
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Groups with a Country-Specific or Regional Focus
Revolutionary Assoc. of the Women of Afghanistan - RAWA Provides education to women and reports on human rights crimes.
Afronet - InterAfrican Network for Human Rights and Development.
AllAfrica.com organization links
Al-Haq Online Palestinian NGO.
Arab Association for Human Rights Supporting the Palestinians.
Human Rights in Algeria Based in Germany.
Ahmadi Muslims Fighting Persecution The Ahmadis are the subject of government sanctioned discrimination in Pakistan.
Center for Rehabilitation and Abolition of Torture
Canadian Friends of Burma
East Timor Action Network
East Timor is in Indonesia.
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network - EMHRN
Haiti - National Coalition for Haitian
Human Rights in
Guatemala Human Rights Commission, USA
Promotes human rights in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Hong Kong Committee on Children's Rights
Israeli and Palestinian Human Rights Groups
Kashmir Canadian Council
La Liga Mexicana por la
Defensa de los Derechos Humanos
HURPEC - Human Rights in Nepal
Rights Action for Mexico, Central America and Peru
Public Interest Law Initiative
Focus on Central Europe and Central Asia.
Peru - Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos -
Coalition of 47 organizations.
SPUR - Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights in Sri Lanka
See also Resistance Movements and Solidarity Groups
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Human Rights organizations From Historyguy.com
University of Minnesota
Human Rights Library
Select "links" on home page. Their database is huge!
Women's Human Rights Organizations
From the University of Minnesota
Human Rights Library.
Derechos NGO Directory
Links in spanish and english.
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