Boats in the Mediterranean

Rights & Justice

Demanding Dignity for All

Europe’s response to irregular migrants and asylum seekers is in crisis, and continues to cause unnecessary harm and death. A new approach should be grounded in reality, not politics.
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Just south of Lampedusa island, the Italian Navy transfers 219 migrants to their ship. The migrants include Pakistanis, Syrians, Moroccans, Nigerians, and Nepalis who had left the coast of Libya with smugglers the night before. The Navy ship was operating as part of Italy’s “Mare Nostrum” project, searching for boats with migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The Open Society Foundations work to advance fair treatment of migrants and refugees.

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Image credit: © Carlos Spottorno/Panos Pictures
Graphic illustration of a police officer

Health

Arresting the Spread of HIV

In many countries, HIV rates are climbing among sex workers and people who use drugs. But a novel approach to law enforcement is changing this, and may prove as critical to HIV prevention as a condom or clean needle.
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In many countries, HIV rates are climbing among sex workers and people who use drugs. One of the main reasons is that they are criminalized. Too often sex workers and drug users are forced to choose between protecting their health and staying safe from police harassment or arrest. But a novel approach to law enforcement is changing this, and may prove as critical to HIV prevention as a condom or clean needle. Through partnerships with HIV experts and community groups, police such as those in Kyrgyzstan, depicted above, are playing a critical role in the fight against HIV.

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Image credit: Adam Rogers
Goodbye My Chechnya

Governance & Accountability

Caught in the Aftermath

As Chechnya struggles to rebuild in the aftermath of conflict, photographer Diana Markosian documents young women’s struggle with new, repressive laws.
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Students attend a gym class at School No. 1 in Serzhen-Yurt, Chechnya. After enduring the horrors of two wars, young Chechen women like these are now confronted by a period of peace marked by increasing oppression. This image is part of a series by photographer Diana Markosian, who aims to show how girls and young women are navigating their transition into adulthood in this context, and to honor their strength amidst the challenges they face.

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Image credit: © Diana Markosian/Reportage by Getty Images
Teacher giving instruction to students.

Education & Youth

Sharing Tools for Transformation

Everyone deserves to have choice in their lives. Advocates like Elizabeth Kamundia are building societies in which people with disabilities participate equally and with full respect for their human rights.
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Elizabeth Kamundia, an Open Society scholarship recipient, taught a seminar at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy. The center is one of only a handful in academic organizations in Europe dedicated to the study of disability rights, and it is the only one with a dedicated program focusing on international disability law. The Open Society Foundations are working to include disability rights in more law schools’ curricula.

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Image credit: © Andrew Testa/Panos Pictures for the Open Society Foundations
Incarcerated men in a truck.

Media & Information

Visualizing Human Rights

We honor the brave and difficult work that photographers undertake to document complex social and political issues around the world.
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Every morning dozens of men and boys from the Pademba Road Prison in Freetown, Sierra Leone, are taken to court. This does not mean that they will be judged; it may be years until their trials end. Some youth may spend several years in Pademba Road Prison before receiving a sentence. In his series “Juveniles Waiting for Justice,” photographer Fernando Moleres tells the story of young men and boys confined in an adult prison, as a deeply flawed justice system takes over and determines their fate.

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Image credit: © Fernando Moleres

Home

Improve Lives.

We help protect and improve the lives of people in marginalized communities.

Think Broadly.

As we work to advance open society values, we learn and share our expertise.

Open Society Voices

Over six years after the Open Society Foundations launched the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, the initiative is spinning off as an independent organization.

The law criminalizes any mention of "nontraditional sexual relations”—unless it’s hate speech, which will be perfectly legal.

Events

Dec
10

Asi Burak, president of Games for Change, presents an overview of the latest case studies, trends, challenges, and success stories in the growing field of digital games designed for social impact.

Nov
12

Representatives from a coalition of rights-based organizations discuss their call for a new approach to United Nations drug policy.

Work Locally.

Our network of programs and regional foundations addresses key issues.

Programs

The Public Health Program works to strengthen the capacity of marginalized populations to advocate for better health policies and practices. We also push for greater government accountability in health care.

The Information Program works to increase access to knowledge, empower civil society groups, and protect civil liberties in the digital environment.

The International Migration Initiative seeks to address systemic exploitation, discrimination, and violence against migrants at every stage of their journey.