Republicans and Democrats, religious groups and civil liberties groups, military officers and peace activists, prosecutors and defense attorneys: we’ve worked with all of them at key moments to forge progress and to advance our long-term project of building a broad pro-human rights constituency in the United States. Learn about our coalition of retired military leaders.
Human trafficking has claimed an estimated 20 million-plus victims worldwide—with more than 800,000 victims enslaved each year. And yet, despite significant anti-trafficking efforts over the past decade, the number of modern-day slaves seems only to be growing. We are attacking the scourge of modern-day slavery by providing the U.S. government and other leaders with the tools they need to disrupt the criminals, networks, mafias and gangs that make more than $150 billion a year by exploiting other human beings.
Our Asylum Representation Program, which recruits and trains lawyers to represent refugees on a pro bono basis, is one of the largest and most successful programs of its kind in the country. Its impact could hardly be more profound: liberty instead of oppression, and sometimes life instead of death, for thousands of people. And beginning with the Refugee Act of 1980, which we helped draft, we’ve been at the forefront of all major reforms to the asylum system. Photo: AP.
After 9-11, the U.S government embraced the use of torture, renouncing its global leadership role on this issue. Thanks in part to the work we did in partnership with military leaders and interrogation and intelligence professionals, President Obama signed an executive order banning torture. In time, the landmark Senate Intelligence Committee torture report was released, documenting a program that was far more brutal and widespread than Americans were led to believe. Since then, the Obama Administration and Congress have passed legislation to make loophole lawyering impossible and ensure that our country never tortures again.
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Many countries have instituted blasphemy laws in the name of protecting religious freedom. But these laws are often used to persecute religious minorities and suppress freedom of expression. We press the U.S. government to vigorously oppose them, and why we led a successful effort at the U.N. to oppose a “defamations of religious” measure—a global blasphemy code. Photo: Corbis.
We partner with LGBT and other civil society activists in Russia who are fighting for their rights. Taking our cue from these activists, we urge the U.S. government to emphasize human rights in its diplomacy with Russia, all the more important now that the Putin government has launched a far-ranging clampdown on dissent. Photo: AP.
Across the world, including in the United States, women are disproportionately poor and uneducated, and they face discrimination and gender-based violence. These problems hurt everyone because societies aren’t free unless women are. Whether we’re helping female refugees or partnering with female activists or combating gender-based persecution, we make women’s human rights a priority, and we urge the U.S. government to do the same. Photo: AP.
In both Europe and the United States, xenophobic rhetoric and hate crimes are on the rise. In Europe, xenophobia fueled by far-right parties is part of growing tide of hatred against migrants, Muslims, Jews, and Roma. We press the United States to work to combat hate both at home and abroad, instituting laws and practices to keep xenophobia at bay without violating free speech protections.
Military commissions at Gitmo, now in their third incarnation, are a failed experiment. Structurally shoddy and constitutionally dubious, they have produced few convictions while undermining the rule of law. Federal trials, by contrast, have produced more than 400 convictions of terrorists since 9-11, denied Al Qaeda members the warriors’ martyrdom they seek, and set a standard of justice before the world. Photo: AP.
Due process refers to a fair judicial process, which includes a fair trial, qualified legal representation, and the ability to appeal. We’ve championed the right of due process for activists opposing repressive regimes, and we’ve also led the battle against the military tribunals at Gitmo, which undermine due process. Photo: AP.
After 9-11, Congress authorized military force against those responsible. But the war morphed into an ever-expanding conflict that has enabled human rights abuses. Torture, indefinite detention, unjust military commissions, and legally dubious drone strikes threaten national security as terrorists use them to win supporters and U.S. credibility crumbles. American ideals are a national security asset: the U.S. government best protects Americans when it protects human rights. It’s time to protect national security and fight terrorism in a smart, tailored, rights-respecting way.