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Where to get information on projects that deal with victims of human rights violations 2023
New Tactics in Human Rights
The New Tactics in Human Rights Program promotes tactical innovation and strategic thinking within the international human rights community. For human rights advocates, New Tactics offers a number of ways to engage with other practitioners, share tactics and support each other through:
The interactive Web site NewTactics.org brings together an online community of over 3,500 human rights practitioners in more than 130 countries. Users have access to a database of over 200 human right tactics.
Monthly Tactical Dialogues are hosted on a broad range of human rights advocacy topics and Tactical Notebooks offer step-by-step examples of implementing tactics and strategies in promoting human rights, including how the tactic example might be adapted to other situations.
5 Human Rights Organisations in South Africa
Like many countries, South Africa has a turbulent history when it comes to human rights. During the apartheid era, which lasted from 1948-1991, a system of segregation and discrimination against the black population reigned.
In 1994, a few years after apartheid legislation was repealed, the South African Constitution laid out strong protections for human rights. Its effectiveness, however, is often thrown into question.
According to the Human Rights Watch page on the country, South Africa’s dedication to human rights, specifically regarding its foreign policy practice, is unclear.
Issues like police brutality, the treatment of refugees and migrants, and xenophobic violence remain prevalent, while the protection of LGBTQ+ rights is also inconsistent. All that said, human rights activists are doing good work in South Africa. Here are five local organizations:
People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP)
This grassroots non-profit works in Cape Town, South Africa, and focuses on the rights of refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers. Founded in 2007 by Zimbabweans living in South Africa, the organisation was a response to asylum seekers fleeing Robert Mugabe and the xenophobia these vulnerable people encountered.
In the years since, PASSOP became one of the first organisations in the Western Cape to research and respond to anti-immigrant violence in Du Noon, Imizamo Yethu, and other areas.
Their projects include LGBTQ+ refugee advocacy, gender rights, disabled children support, and more. PASSOP fights for the rights of all immigrants, including undocumented ones who lack reliable access to essentials like healthcare and shelter.
PASSOP frequently protests current South African foreign policies regarding immigration, and advocates for change in the Department of Home Affairs.
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR)
Founded in 1979, the Pretoria-based Lawyers for Human Rights began as an organization fighting human rights abuse and oppression under apartheid. When South Africa repealed the system, LHR helped with voter education and election monitoring, so democracy could be successfully established in 1994.
According to their website, they have three main purposes: to be a human rights advocate and constitutional watchdog; to be an international force in developing human rights; and to contribute to improved policies on rights for the disadvantaged.
LHR’s primary work is providing free legal services to both non-national and South African victims of human rights abuses. On their site, they have a list of programs, which include the Mozambican Mineworkers Project; a Penal Reform Programme; Security of Farm Workers Project; and Strategic Litigation Unit.
Centre for Human Rights
In 1986, the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Law established the Centre for Human Rights. It serves as an academic department and an NGO focused on human rights education.
It was one of the few institutions within South Africa to speak against apartheid abuses, and in 1994, it served as a technical adviser during the writing of the Constitution. In 2006, it was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education.
As an academic org, most of its work centers on research and education. The centre has developed influential literature on issues such as the rights of women; people with HIV; indigenous people; and other vulnerable groups in South Africa and Africa at large.
It’s also well-known for its African Human Rights Moot Simulation Competition. The centre connects lawyers, civil servants, and others thanks to its LLM postgraduate law degree in human rights and democratisation in Africa.
Dullah Omah Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance, and Human Rights
Founded in 1990 by Dullah Omar, this institute was originally called the Community Law Centre. It was a major player in negotiations between the National Party government and democratic parties as apartheid came to an end.
In 2015, the name was changed to honor Dullah Omar. It remains an important contributor and advisor on policies regarding human rights. It currently operates under the University of the Western Cape’s Faculty of Law.
The Institute’s work includes publishing articles, books and reports, and holding workshops and conferences. It focuses on issues like children’s rights, criminal justice reform, and women’s rights. At the time of this article, there are 30 doctoral and post-doctoral researchers working there.
The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious, and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission)
This independent chapter nine institution was formed in 2002 under the South African Constitution. Its mandate is to “promote respect” and guard the rights of cultural, religious, and linguistic communities.
These communities are vulnerable and have faced oppression, so the CRL Rights Commission’s job is to protect them by receiving and investigating complaints.
The CRL Rights Commission is comprised of two main programs: research & development policy; and public education & engagement.
The research & development unit’s job is to work with the communities and build up a knowledge base. The public education and engagement unit is to “promote community participation.”
Which organization deals with human rights violations?
1 Amnesty International
Amnesty International is a global movement of more than seven million people who are independent of any type of political ideology, religion or economic interest and who take injustice personally. The movement campaigns for the world in which human rights are enjoyed by all.
The core activities of Amnesty International are research, advocacy and lobbying and campaigns and action.
The organization employs experts who do accurate and facts-based research into human rights violations by governments and other actors. This analysis is, then, used to influence and press governments and decision-makers to undertake the necessary steps to stop or prevent human rights violations.
The organization also employs the methods of campaigns and advocacy through petitions, letters and protests to call for action. In this way, the Amnesty International covers a big spectrum of human rights from seeking the release of political prisoners to protecting sexual and reproductive rights.
2 Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international human rights organization that investigates and reports on abuses of human rights around the world. Currently, it employs around 450 people, mostly country-based experts, lawyers, journalists, and human rights workers who work to protect those at right.
The organization works with and advocates towards governments, businesses and other groups, forcing them to change their policies and laws. To stay independent, Human Rights Watch refuses government and corporate funding. Researchers, who work directly in the field, uncover facts about human rights abuses.
These facts are shared with millions of people through social media every day to gain global reach. The scope of the work of the Human Rights Watch is wide and the organization is highly committed to reaching justice, dignity, compassion and equality for all.
3 Civil Rights Defenders
Civil Rights Defenders was established in 1982 in Sweden as an independent expert organization, with the mission to defend civil and political rights of people and empower human rights defenders at risk around the world.
The organization is currently active in some of the most repressive regions in the world and collaborates with 200 local partners while focusing on innovation and sustainable change.
The organization uses advocacy, litigation, and public campaigns to advance people’s rights globally. Through advocacy, the Civil Rights Defenders provides expertise and support to human rights defenders while holding those in power accountable for their actions.
The organization also actively works on improving people’s access to justice and freedom through increased respect for their civil and political rights.
4 Human Rights Without Frontiers International
Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) is an international non-profit organization that promotes respect for human rights around the globe and advocates for democracy, the rule of law and social justice.
Based in Brussels, Belgium, the HRFW became one of the most active organizations promoting human rights in EU institutions and shaping European policies towards human rights.
At the core of HRWF’s activities is advocacy, which includes activities such as publishing research, sharing information, organizing public events and speaking to political leaders on a particular issue.
The core of the HRWF’s advocacy is are international treaties and covenants, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, that bind its parties to respect human rights.
Therefore, the HRWF is an active participant in several coalitions and networks advocating for the respect of these treaties.
5 Physicians for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an international organization that uses the medical and scientific tools to attract attention to severe human rights abuses and mass atrocities.
It was established on idea that physicians, scientists and other medical professionals own unique skills that would give credibility to investigation and documentation of human rights violations.
The PHR uses its expertise to document mass atrocities, prevent torture, advocate for persecuted medical staff and hold those who abuse human rights accountable.
In its work, the organization focuses on psychological and physical effects of sexual violence and torture, excessive use of force on civilians, the forensic documentation as well as the protection of medical professionals and institutions.
PHR gives voice to witnesses and survivors of human rights abuses and makes sure that perpetrators are accountable for committed crimes.
6 Anti-Slavery International
Anti-Slavery International is an international organization committed to eliminating all forms of slavery and similar practices. It is one of the oldest human rights-based organizations in the world that bases its work on the UN treaties against slavery to influence decision-makers and inspire global change.
The organization holds consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, as well as observer statutes at the International Labor Organization.
It uses its status to raise awareness and campaign against bonded labor, descent-based slavery, forced labor, forced marriage, the worst forms of child labor, the exploitation of migrant workers in conditions amounting to slavery and human trafficking.
It partners with local organizations in the field to understand the local contexts and facilitates access to education, justice and compensation for people freed from slavery.
7 Global Rights
Global Rights is an international human rights non-governmental organization that was established in 1978 in Washington. In 2014, the organization moved its seat to Nigeria and currently works in partnership with local activists in Africa, Asia and Latin America to build the grass root movements that promote and protect the rights of marginalized populations.
The organization works on building capacities of underserved communities and builds platforms for participatory governance. It uses teaching and trains other organizations and coalitions to document and expose human rights abuses, advocate for legal and policy reforms and provide legal services to those in need.
The Global Rights mostly focuses on working on cross-cutting issues such as access to justice, women’s rights, security of human rights and natural resource governance. The focal points of all organization’s programmes are women’s rights, access to remedies and disabilities issues.
8 UN Watch
UN Watch is a non-governmental organization based in Switzerland. It was established to promote the protection of universal human rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and monitor the UN in accordance with its founding Charter. The organization’s vision is a just and strong UN.
The organization is an accredited NGO in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council, as well as an associate NGO to the UN Department of Public Information. It actively participates at the UN Human Rights Council and in this way advance the UN’s mandate in promoting human rights and international peace.
9 European Centre for Minority Issues
The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) is human rights organization that conducts policy research, provides information and documentation, as well as advisory services related to national minorities in Europe. ECMI serves European governments and closely cooperates with the academic community and general public.
The aim of ECMI is to facilitate diversity in all aspects of society. The organization is committed to work for improvement on the issues related to minorities in Europe, as well as raising awareness of minority rights amongst all relevant actors.
The specific purpose of the organization is to provide actors with knowledge and tools that will empower them to exchange views through constructive dialogue to be able to build a peaceful and diverse Europe.
10 International Federation for Human Rights
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is an international human rights non-governmental organization comprised of 184 organizations from 112 countries, active in defending and promoting respect for civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
FIDH operates based on interaction with its member organizations. The organization uses tools such as urgent public and private response, investigative missions, judicial observation, legal defense, political dialogue, advocacy and public awareness campaigns to draw attention on human rights abuses.
Through its network of national organizations, FIDH addresses human rights abuses directed at states, armed opposition groups and multinational corporations. Through these actions, FIDH is committed to helping victims of human rights violations and holding those accountable of committing international crimes to be brought before the court.
11 Human Rights Foundation
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a non-profit organization that promotes and protects human rights on a global level while focusing on closed societies.
The organization follows the principles of all people being entitled freedom to self-determination, freedom from tyranny, the right to speak freely, and to leave and enter their countries. In addition, the organization believes that all people have the right to be free from arbitrary detainment and exile.
The HRF unites people to defend human rights and promote liberal ideals of democracy. It provides platforms for human rights defenders who are making an impact in their communities and ensures that freedom is promoted and preserved around the world.
The HRF focuses its work on the ideals of human rights movement enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
12 Front Line Defenders
The Front Lines Defenders is an independent human rights organization working to protect rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as to protect human rights defenders around the world.
The core of the organization’s activities is providing of security and protection grants to human rights organizations and to individual human rights defenders at risk.
The grants are provided for strengthening the protection and security of human rights defenders to be able to continue their work.
This often covers digital and communication security, legal fees for those who are judicially harassed, medical fees for those who have been attacked, and family assistance for imprisoned human rights defenders.
The part of the organization’s work is also campaigning and lobbying at the international level for the protection of human rights defenders.
The Human Rights Foundation House Foundation (HRHF) is an international human rights organization that supports and empowers human rights defenders and their organizations through Human Rights Houses.
The Human Rights Houses serve as collaborative projects of non-governmental organizations who work together to promote respect for human rights in their countries and abroad.
Organizations that are placed within the Human Rights Houses remain independent and follow their own human rights agenda, but share expertise, solidarity and advocated together on human rights issues.
Thus, the Human Rights Houses are the cores of the HRHF’s work, including advocacy, awareness raising, capacity building and protection. By doing this, the HRHF ensures that human rights defenders enjoy freedoms and are able to carry out human rights works.
The HRHF promotes the fundamental freedoms of assembly, association, and expression, and the right to be a human rights defender.
14 Open Society Foundations
The Open Society Foundation is an international organization that works on building vibrant societies with accountable governments and open participation of all people.
The organization actively works on strengthening the rule of law, respect for human rights, minorities, democratically elected governments and civil society organizations that will keep governments accountable.
It works in every part of the world and places a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people living in marginalized communities.
Every year, the Foundation distributes thousands of grants to groups and individuals who work on promoting tolerance, open debate and transparency.
The Foundation also actively engages in strategic human rights litigation by advocating for positive change towards governments and policymakers.
It takes strong stands on unpopular causes and works in hostile environments. The organization also responds to sudden crises that require immediate funding and shapes its priorities by listening to local and global experts.
15 Freedom House
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors freedom, and advocates for human rights and democracy. Since it was established, the Freedom House has opposed tyrannies around the world and promoted democratic values.
The organization supports human rights defenders to promote open government and defend human rights. It also supports civil society organizations by strengthening their capacities.
This is done through trainings, international exchange programs grant giving and networking activities. In addition to that, the Freedom House also offers its moral support by advocating and providing visible demonstrations of solidarity on behalf of counterparts abroad.
16 Human Rights First
Human Rights First (HRF) is an international non-governmental human rights organization that believes that American leadership is essential in the struggle for human rights.
Thus, the organization’s mission is to pressure the US government and private companies to respect the rule of law and human rights. The HRF demands justice, reform and accountability of those that violate human rights.
The organization focuses on making a difference by protecting refugees, combating torture and defending persecuted minorities.
It partners up with human rights activists and lawyers to tackle these issues and works around the world on harnessing American influence to secure core freedoms. Therefore, the organization conducts campaigns to pressure policy makers in the US to hear about human rights issues.
17 Survival International
Survival International is a human rights organization that campaigns for the rights of indigenous tribal and un-contacted peoples. The organization has more than 50 years of experience in international lobbying and campaigning, mostly focusing on desire of tribal people to keep their ancestral lands.
The organization considers tribal people as ‘’some of the most vulnerable on earth’’. Therefore, it’s goal is change perceptions on misconceptions that are usually used to justify human rights violations.
The organization also publicizes the risks that tribes face from actions of states and corporations. Thus, it actively works in partnerships with tribes to raise their voices on the global stage and help foster their self-determination.
18 International Service for Human Rights
The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) is a non-governmental organization working on promoting and protecting human rights by providing support to human rights defenders, strengthening human rights systems and participating in coalitions for human rights change.
According to the organization, the work of human rights defenders is essential in protecting human rights because they directly contribute to prevention of human rights violations, while strong international and regional levels human rights mechanisms ensure accountability for human rights violations and contribute to change.
Therefore, the ISHR is the most active in strengthening the capacity of human rights defenders and of human rights systems, as well as promoting accountability for human rights violations and securing implementation of human rights law at national levels.
19 Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an international non-governmental organization working for the practical realization of human rights across Commonwealth. The organization works on the police and prison reforms and promotion of access to information.
One of the core activities that the organization implements is monitoring of human rights situation in all 53 countries of Commonwealth, with a special focus on the situation of human rights defenders, compliance of states with international treaties and their performance at the UN Human Rights Council.
The CHRI draws attention to the setbacks and progress in regard to human rights through reporting, research and advocacy
. To achieve its goals, the CHRI advocates on measures to prevent human rights violations by addressing major actors such as the Commonwealth Secretariat, the UN Human Rights Council, civil society and the media. It also works on public education programmes, policy dialogues, research, advocacy and networking related to issues of access to information and justice.
20 Center for Economic and Social Rights
The Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) is an international human rights organization promoting social justice through human rights. The CESR upholds universal human rights of all people, including the right to education, health, food, water housing, work, as well as other economic, social and cultural rights that are essential to human dignity.
The organization fights against extreme poverty and inequality and holds governments and other actors accountable to respect and fulfill human rights.
The organization’s aim is to fulfill two goals-to promote development and socioeconomic policies that reduce inequality and realize human rights and to support civil society groups in their efforts to claim their social and economic rights.
It achieves this by exposing violations of human rights and working with civil society groups around the world assisting them to hold all actors involved accountable for these violations.
21 Minority Rights Group International
The Minority Group International (MRG) is an international human rights organization that works on promotion of rights of minorities and cooperation between communities.
The MRG works in over 60 countries with around 130 partners and campaigns over the world for marginalized ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous people. The MRG makes sure that their voices are heard.
The organization works for recognition of minority rights in several ways. It advocates and lobbies governments and the UN, publishes publications that are valued by academic communities, produces documentary movies on minority issues, and conducts legal cases to protect minorities in accordance with the international law. The MRG’s work, therefore, leads to more inclusive and cohesive societies.
22 The Advocates for Human Rights
The Advocates for Human Rights is an independent nonpartisan human rights organization that envisions a world in which all people live with dignity, freedom, justice, equality and peace.
The organization implements the international human rights standards to protect the rule of law and promote civil society. With a broad network of volunteers, the organization, the organization builds broad constituencies around the world.
The organization works on investigating and exposing human rights such as against women, representation of immigrants and refugees who become victims of human rights abuses. It also trains and assists to groups that protect human rights, as well as using research, education and advocacy to involve the general public in implementation of international human rights standards.
23 Humanity in Action
Humanity in Action (HIA) is an international non-profit educational organization that globally connects students and leaders who are dedicated to promoting human rights, as well as active citizenship and diversity in their respective communities and around the world.
The organization develops professional development programs at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the European Parliament, the US Congress and other important institutions for its fellows, as well as organizes seminars and exchanges creating and supporting the network of its senior fellows and the broader public. HIA educates young leaders on human rights issues and challenges through cross-cultural dialogues and critical history.
24 Protection International
Protection International (PI) was established in 1998 with a purpose of working with grass-roots human rights defenders who are at risk.
The mission of the organization is to “enhance the security and the protection of threatened civil society actors with non-violent means, especially those who fight for their legitimate rights and for the rights of others as they are guaranteed by the international humanitarian law and the human rights conventions”.
The organization provides human rights defenders with training and tools for them to be able to develop and implement protection measures that will enable them to defend human rights freely.
It also reviews existing public policies regarding protection of human rights defenders and contributes to the recognition of human rights defenders as actors of positive social change in the societies.
25 International Society for Human Rights
The International Society for Human Rights (ISHR), together with its national branches of independent non-governmental organizations, base their work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by promoting international tolerance in all aspects of society and culture.
The organization was founded to support individuals who share its philosophy ‘’that the realization of human rights and the improvement of social conditions cannot be pursued through the use of force’’.
ISHR has approximately 30.000 members in 38 countries worldwide. Its main areas of work include support of individuals who are discriminated, persecuted and imprisoned because of their religious beliefs or political affiliation, public relations related to human rights issues and education on human rights issues for those who live in countries that are transitioning to democracy.
How is the community supporting communities affected by human rights violations?
Answer: The community needs to work along with Government and religious organizations, to support the communities affected by human rights violation. The communities work on both profit and non-profit work in case of human rights violation. They also force the Government to take necessary action.
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