Why Human Rights?

We believe that realizing human rights is the essential first step to building just societies. When people are empowered to pursue their own destinies and have a voice in shaping solutions to problems they experience, they are better equipped to overcome poverty, live with dignity and transform the lives of others.

We strive to overcome deep inequalities and injustices in society that are root causes of poverty and oppression. In addition to addressing immediate needs like food, jobs and healthcare, our grantees in the developing world advocate for people’s essential freedoms—like the right to live without violence, the right to have a say in the laws that govern society and the right to express one’s religion, culture, sexual orientation or gender identity.

While our grantees are defending these liberties and building movements to bring about lasting change in their countries, we’re ensuring that the U.S. government does all it can to advance the rights of millions of people worldwide.

All people are equally entitled to human rights, a concept that is central to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, which was adopted by the United Nations in response to the Holocaust. This modern tenet shares much in common with the Jewish belief that all human beings are created in the Divine image—infinitely valuable and deserving of respect.