Human Rights Movements and Institutions
The Open Society Foundations fund human rights groups around the world, from global advocacy organizations to smaller national and local groups, that stand up for the rights of all.
2020 Human Rights Movements and Institutions Budget by Region
We are committed to upholding the rights described by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—from civil and political rights, such as the right to free assembly and freedom of speech, to economic and social rights, such as the right to education, food, and housing.
Concern for human rights informs all our work. Our Human Rights Initiative focuses in particular on challenging impunity and ensuring accountability, tackling discrimination and abusive practices in law enforcement and criminal justice, and defending freedoms of expression, assembly and association.
Our in-house legal arm, the Open Society Justice Initiative, also seeks to expand and protect human rights through strategic litigation before both regional tribunals and the human rights committees of the United Nations.
In 2010, the Open Society Foundations gave a challenge grant of $100 million over 10 years to Human Rights Watch to support global expansion—the largest single donation commitment Human Rights Watch had ever received.
Many of the human rights groups we and others support around the world have come under attack from increasingly authoritarian governments. From Hungary to Egypt and elsewhere, their courage and commitment inspires our efforts.
We support efforts throughout the world to end human rights abuses linked to government counter-terrorism efforts. This support has included seeking to strengthen overview and accountability for the use of armed drones by the United States and its allies, and challenging the program of illegal rendition and torture of suspects launched by the CIA after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Our work on economic and social rights has included using European rights law to challenge mortgage-related home repossessions in Ireland, and using rights arguments to challenge corruption in Sierra Leone.
Albinism in Africa In Depth
“We Are Tired of Being Ignored”
Following a brutal murder in Mali, one of Africa’s most celebrated artists helped rally a movement to defend the rights of people with albinism, and organized a defiant musical festival unlike anything the world had ever seen.
Building Better Institutions
How the United States Can Support Armenia’s Fledgling Democracy
The people of Armenia have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact sweeping anticorruption and criminal justice reforms. Here’s what U.S. policymakers can do to help.
What Is Illiberal Civil Society?
Throughout much of the former Soviet Union, reactionary forces are using the tools and methods of civil society in order to attack people’s rights, weaken democracy, and roll back progress.