|This article relies on references to primary sources. (October 2013)|
|Motto||Partners for Justice|
|Purpose/focus||Promote and protect the rights of marginalized populations through capacity building|
|Location||Afghanistan, Algeria, Brazil, Burundi, Colombia, Congo, Morocco, Nigeria, Peru, Sierra Leone, Uganda|
|Executive Director||Susan M. Farnsworth|
Founded in 1978, Global Rights is an international human rights capacity-building non-governmental organization (NGO) that works side by side with local activists in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to promote and protect the rights of marginalized populations. Through broad-based technical assistance and training, they strengthen 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. Over their 34-year history, Global Rights has worked in scores of countries to help local leaders and organizations to address human rights abuses and to lift their struggles out of isolation and onto regional and international stages, where institutions such as the United Nations and Organization of American States develop and enforce human rights standards.
At the core of their programming is a deep commitment to increase access to justice for poor and marginalized groups, promote women’s rights and gender equality, and advance ethnic and racial equality. In addition to this, they have two special initiatives—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex rights and natural resources and human rights—that allow them to explore new program areas while targeting populations that fit within their core programming.
Global Rights is governed by a seventeen-member board of directors comprising senior lawyers, journalists, and academics and operated by a 70-member staff, two-thirds of whom work outside the United States.
How They Work
Their headquarters in Washington, D.C. oversees their network of five field offices, located in Afghanistan, Burundi, Morocco, Uganda, and Nigeria. Through them, Global Rights also runs programs in Algeria, Brazil, Colombia, Tunisia, and at the regional level in Latin America. Their headquarters and field-based staff collaborate closely on program design and implementation. Their field offices, in turn—staffed almost entirely by nationals— identify and establish partnerships with promising local nongovernmental organizations and provide training and technical assistance to them over the long term 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 is unique among U.S.-based international human rights organizations in that they have a long-term field-based presence in the countries in which they operate and work on the ground to build local capacity. They work this way for two reasons. First, they believe that local knowledge and expertise is essential to successful administration. Their local partners know the communities in which they work, are familiar with their cultures and traditions, and often are already active in promoting the legal rights of the poor and marginalized. Second, Global Rights recognizes that long-term, systemic change can occur only if stakeholders themselves are involved. By transferring knowledge and skills to local partners, Global Rights ensures that they can continue work even after their training has come to an end.