On human rights, the United States must be a beacon. America is strongest when our policies and actions match our values.More
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About Us

  • For more than three decades, Human Rights First has been a clarion voice in defense of human dignity and the rights and freedom of people everywhere.

    — Susan E. Rice, U.S. National Security Advisor
  • I never thought I'd live to see the day when a group of generals was working closely with a human rights group.

    — Vice President Joe Biden
  • Human Rights First's approach is smart, strategic, and principled.

    — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

American Ideals. Universal Values.

On human rights, the United States must be a beacon. Activists fighting for freedom around the globe continue to look to our country for inspiration and count on us for support. Upholding human rights is not only a moral obligation; it’s a vital national interest: America is strongest when our policies and actions match our values.

Human Rights First is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges America to live up to its ideals. We believe American leadership is essential in the global struggle for human rights, so we press the U.S. government and private companies to respect human rights and the rule of law. When they fail, we step in to demand reform, accountability and justice. Around the world, we work where we can best harness American influence to secure core freedoms.

We know it is not enough to expose and protest injustice, so we create the political environment and policy solutions necessary to ensure consistent respect for human rights. Whether we are protecting refugees, combating torture, or defending persecuted minorities, we focus not on making a point, but on making a difference. For more than 35 years, we’ve built bipartisan coalitions and teamed up with frontline activists and lawyers to tackle global challenges that demand American leadership.

Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York, Washington D.C. and Houston. To maintain our independence, we accept no government funding.

Our Campaigns

As we challenge the United States to respect its ideals, our goal is not to make a point but to make a difference—to get concrete results that have a tangible impact on people’s lives. To that end, we conduct campaigns in pursuit of specific goals. And we urge you to participate in our campaigns so that policy makers in Washington hear from citizen-champions of human rights.

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Success Stories

In 2010, Shehrbano Taseer  accompanied her father Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province in Pakistan, to a prison to visit Aasia Bibi, a poor Christian women who had been sentenced to...
Following the attacks of September 11th, the U.S. government authorized torture in the name of fighting terrorism. Not only did the CIA use water-boarding and other “enhanced interrogation”...

Meredith Vieira and Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino present Dr. Denis Mukwege with the 2013 Human Rights First Award.