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.
Too often LGBT rights are regarded as a “gay issue” and sidelined as a result. LGBT rights are human rights, period, and we’re working to ensure that the U.S. government advances them abroad. We focus on protecting LGBT refugees, combating violent hate crime against LGBT people, and opposing bans on homosexuality and other discriminatory laws. Photo: AP.
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.
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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.
To provide military leaders a vehicle to advocate counterterrorism policies that respect human rights, we’ve assembled a coalition of more than 50 retired admirals and generals. Because of its pivotal role in altering the national debate over torture, President Obama invited the coalition to stand with him as he signed the executive order banning the practice. We continue to work with the coalition to champion security policies that uphold the rule of law.
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.
Applying our patented enabler strategy to the conflict in Syria, we’re pressing the U.S. government to lead a comprehensive effort to cut off the flow of weapons, supplies, and services to the Assad regime. This low-risk, non-violent approach could degrade the Assad regime enough to curb its ability to wage war and perhaps compel a political resolution. Photo: AP.
So-called “targeted killing” has become central to U.S. counterterrorism efforts. However, there is ample evidence that the program does not comport with respect for human rights and international law. So we’re pressing the U.S. government to make the program more transparent and to bring it onto firm legal footing. Photo: AP.
We champion a free, open, and single internet, free from government interference. Particularly in repressive societies, the internet is a key tool for communication and political organization, and despite the efforts of repressive regimes to hijack it for their ends, it remains essential to human rights activists. 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 the military coalition, President Obama signed an executive order banning torture. Yet the severe damage to the country’s rule of law and global standing remains. We’re pushing for release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture so that a much-needed national reckoning can begin.
It was the U.N. that produced the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the founding document of the modern human rights movement, and despite its flaws, the U.N. still plays an essential role in establishing and enforcing in global human rights standards. We work to shape U.N. resolutions, and we urge the U.S. government to lead on human rights at the U.N. Photo: Getty Images.