Lone wolves are fine, and many do good work for human rights, but most people find the work is easier and they are more productive when they get together with other people who care about human rights and coordinate their efforts. Below is information about a few, mostly international, human rights organizations whose work I know personally and which I can vouch for. I either belong to or have done work with and for every organization mentioned on this page.
Don't take my failure to mention an organization here as an indication I feel something is wrong with it -- there are a lot of groups I've simply had no time to work with and therefore know little about. If you want to search a long list of such organizations and resources for something on a particular topic or focused on a particular region or country, feel free to proceed directly to the Human Rights Resources Page.
I have been a member of Amnesty International for over sixteen years. It's the oldest, biggest human rights group, and of this list the group most focused on individual, local human rights activism. Because AI stays strictly out of politics and avoids getting involved in issues outside its rather narrow mandate (area of concern), people from all sorts of political and religious backgrounds are members and work together. Most new human rights activists looking for a group to join need read no further -- this will probably be your best choice.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation was founded to promote and extend the concept of civil liberties to on-line communications. While the EFF is a U.S.-based group whose main focus is on U.S. law, it has a number of "sister organizations" in other countries. I've found its work solid, thorough, and extremely important to the future of Cyberspace. If you are knowledgeable about the Internet and Cyberspace (computer professionals, netizens, etc.), this will be a good group for you.
Human Rights Watch, founded in 1978 as Helsinki Watch, is a coalition formed by a number of independent regional human groups. They are perhaps the best human rights researchers in the field at present -- their reports are extremely thorough, carefully written, and backed by impressive amounts of detail and numerous sources. If your interest in human rights work leans primarily towards research and documenting conditions in various parts of the world, and if you are interested in becoming a professional in this field, this is your group. Unlike Amnesty International and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, though, Human Rights Web is not equipped to handle volunteers. You can either be a financial supporter or get into Human Rights work as a profession. :)
Peacenet is not a human rights group itself, but rather the first and largest computer network for activists in peace, human rights, and related issues. Peacenet is run by the Institute for Global Communications (IGC), an activity of the Tides Foundation, a San Francisco-based non-profit trust. It is a member of the Association for Progressive Communications, an international coalition of networks for peace and human rights activists. This is a good group for the hard core, on-line activists. The conferences here are far more extensive and specific than anything on the Internet.
Created on July 20, 1994 / Last edited on January 25, 1997
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