Thank you for your support in 2010. As I look back on the past 12 months, I’m amazed at what we were able to accomplish with your help in such a difficult year.
Below, you can read more about some of our successes battling discrimination, protecting refugees, and more. But there is much left to do. Next year’s human rights challenges will require new thinking and new strategies. We have ambitious plans for the new year, including:
- Securing accountability for corporations and freedom for “netizens”
- Enacting smart and just counterterrorism policies
- Protecting the human rights of gays and lesbians
- Ensuring that refugees aren’t treated like criminals
- Fighting for religious tolerance while preserving free speech.
Help us achieve these goals together by making your tax-deductible year-end donation to Human Rights First! Thanks to a generous matching grant, if you donate before December 31st, your gift will be doubled, up to $25,000.
History shows that our country is strongest—and most secure—when it respects human rights at home and advances them abroad. Human Rights First aims to see that it does just that. Thanks for supporting us and our mission!
Our warmest holiday wishes,
President and CEO, Human Rights First
Here’s what we’re celebrating as 2010 comes to a close. With your help, we:
Stalled the “Kill the Gays” Bill
Inspired by American antigay activists, legislators in Uganda introduced a bill that would make homosexuality punishable by death. Human Rights First mounted strong opposition to the bill, We worked closely with Julius Kaggwa, a Ugandan LGBT activist, introducing him to President Obama and Secretary Clinton, who both came out strongly against the bill. International pressure is growing to block it.
Took a Stand Against Antisemitism
Antisemitic violence is on the rise in Europe. After we testified before Congress to urge action, the Deputy National Director of the Anti-Defamation League thanked us for being “unique in the human rights community [for] making anti-Semitism a priority as a human rights issue.” That’s what discrimination is to HRF.
Protected the Persecuted
This year marked the 30th Anniversary of the Refugee Act of 1980, which Human Rights First helped pass. Since then, we’ve helped thousands of people begin new lives. This year, our staff and volunteer attorneys provided free legal services worth over $28 million dollars to more than 800 clients. And we continue to win more than 90 percent of our cases.
Challenged the False Dichotomy between Security and Rights
We worked with retired military leaders (the same who stood behind the President last year when he banned torture) to fight fear-mongering and educate candidates running in the midterm elections about national security and human rights. The first Guantanamo detainee brought to the U.S. for trial was convicted in federal court.
Made Sure Corporations Respected Human Rights
Corporate power is expanding—which means companies have more and more potential to undermine human rights, but also to protect them. This year, we launched an effort to bring accountability to corporations. In response, Google stood up to China’s censorship demands, and Microsoft is helping protect NGOs who have been targeted by antipiracy suits in Russia and elsewhere.
Held Private Security Firms Accountable
Private security firms have operated in battle zones with impunity. Most infamously, in 2007 Blackwater employees shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. This year we helped draft a historic Code of Conduct that 58 private security firms have signed. The firms pledged to uphold human rights and undergo rigorous oversight.
Thank you for your partnership in this vital work. I hope you will continue to stand with us.