|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (October 2013)|
|Motto||Partners for Justice|
|Purpose||Promote and protect the rights of marginalized populations through capacity building|
|Susan M. Farnsworth|
Global Rights was an international human rights capacity-building non-governmental organization (NGO). Global Rights was founded in 1978, and closed in 2014. It worked with local activists in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to promote and protect the rights of marginalized populations. It provided technical assistance and training to enable local partners to document and expose human rights abuses, conduct community outreach and mobilization, advocate for legal and policy reform, and provide legal and paralegal services.
Global Rights aimed to help local leaders and organizations address human rights abuses and bring their struggles to the attention of regional and international institutions such as the United Nations and Organization of American States, which develop and enforce human rights standards.
Their goals were to increase access to justice for poor and marginalized groups, promote women’s rights and gender equality, and advance ethnic and racial equality. They had special initiatives forlesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights and natural resources and human rights.
Global Rights was governed by a seventeen-member board of directors composed of lawyers, journalists, and academics. It was operated by a 70-member staff, two-thirds of whom worked outside the United States.
Global Rights was headquartered in Washington, D.C. They had field offices located in Afghanistan, Burundi, Morocco, Uganda, and Nigeria. They also ran programs in Algeria, Brazil, Colombia, Tunisia, and in Latin America. The field offices provided training and technical assistance to local NGOs to boost their ability to provide legal and paralegal services and advocate for the basic human rights of the poor and marginalized within their communities.
Global Rights believed local knowledge and expertise are essential to successful administration. Their local partners know the communities in which they work, are familiar with their cultures and traditions, and were already active in promoting the legal rights of the poor and marginalized. Global Rights recognized that long-term, systemic change could occur only if stakeholders themselves were involved. By transferring knowledge and skills to local partners, Global Rights ensured that they could continue work even after their training came to an end.
Gay McDougal was executive director of Global Rights from 1994 toj 2014. She was one of 16 commissioners on the Independent Electoral Commission helping to ensure fair elections after the fall of aparthide in South Africa in 1994. In her time Global Rights has done work in Cambodia helping to address the lack of legal services since the Khmer Rouge killed the bulk of the country's attorneys.