Human Rights Initiative
The Human Rights Initiative seeks to increase the impact of groups around the world that work to ensure that people can exercise their rights.
We support a diverse array of human rights groups around the world, from grassroots and issue-focused groups to national and global advocacy organizations.
The Human Rights Initiative is committed to investing in the ongoing transformation of the human rights movement, which in many parts of the world faces a daunting and sometimes dangerous pushback from powerful political forces.
We recognize that groups and individuals cannot realize their rights through the law alone. We support groups that pursue new approaches, such as using artistic and creative communications, to engage new supporters and allies as well as to connect with new audiences.
Our work focuses on the following:
- Building the power of the human rights movement to adapt and ensure its resilience to advance rights now and in the future: We invest in activism that includes communities to help transform the movement; fosters protection and joint action across geography, issues, and disciplines; and upholds human rights activism in the face of a growing politics of fear.
- Challenging impunity and executive overreach: We support groups to bring accountability for grave crimes, to ensure due process rights, and the right to life, liberty, and freedom from torture.
- Building alliances and networks to protect activism: We consider the creation and maintenance of space for civic activism as paramount to a robust, effective human rights movement. We support groups that protect freedom of expression, assembly, and association and that use the power of networks to support and protect human rights defenders.
- Ensuring civil society’s capacity to mobilize against intolerance and exclusion: Elevating the voices of those who face discrimination, including people with disabilities, LGBTI people, racial and ethnic minorities, and marginalized women, is crucial to combatting laws and policies that seek to exclude people based on who they are. We support groups that can join together across identities to foster stronger movements for equality.
- Investing in diversity and innovation: To best support a complex and dynamic human rights infrastructure, we prioritize new voices and innovative approaches. We help activists to use technology, identify new allies and advocacy targets, and engage more thoughtfully with social movements.
For Grant SeekersFellowship
Open Society Youth Exchange Fellowships
Justice for All
Q&A: A Different Approach to Disability
Gerard Quinn, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of People with Disabilities, explains how he’s using his office to boldly push for a more inclusive world.
Q&A: How Marriage Equality Won in Costa Rica
By emphasizing love, equality, and authentic storytelling, advocates for same-sex marriage in Costa Rica were able to overcome a challenging public opinion environment and achieve a landmark victory for LGBT rights.
A More Open Future
Q&A: In Kyrgyzstan, a Small Investment Can Make a Big Difference
Using accessible and innovative approaches such as music, dancing, street theater, and more, rights advocates in Kyrgyzstan are doing the grassroots-level work that is essential for a healthy civil society.