Top human rights groups and global networks: A primer

By Amy Lieberman 01 July 2011

A woman and a man hold up a banner by Amnesty International. Photo by: Richard Potts / CC BY

The basic principles of human rights are ancient, but it’s only in the last 50 years or so that human rights organizations have begun to pop up.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, includes education, health care, food and many other areas of focus for the international development community. It’s no wonder, then, that aid groups are increasingly framing their work in the context of human rights, whether they advocate for sex workers’ rights or help boost primary school attendance. Highlighting human rights can broaden the scope and appeal of global activism and advocacy campaigns – and it may help secure funding at a time it is increasingly difficult to come by.

Here are some of the largest and most influential international organizations and networks focused on the promotion of human rights.

Human rights groups

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About the author

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Amy Lieberman

Amy Lieberman is a journalist based in New York. She has reported on migration, health and gender from the UN Headquarters, in addition to nine countries, including Cambodia, Colombia, Mexico and Nepal. Her work has appeared in TheAtlantic.com, The Christian Science Monitor and World Policy Journal, among a host of other news outlets. She is a Master of Arts candidate in politics and government journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.


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