October 24, 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter, the document that remains the foundation for the United Nations system. On this United Nations Day, The Advocates for Human Rights rededicates itself to leveraging the strength of the United Nations to work toward a world where every person can live with dignity, freedom, equality, justice, and peace.
The Advocates uses the United Nations to further its mission
The Advocates’ mission is to implement international human rights standards to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. We engage with the UN to amplify the voices of our clients and partners to bring the authority of the UN to bear on governments, pushing them to uphold their responsibility to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights. Click here for a training video that provides an overview of advocacy with the UN’s human rights system.
Our clients and partners equip the UN with a vital tool: first-hand information about pressing human rights concerns. The UN, in turn, uses this information to hold governments accountable. The UN gives them a platform to speak truth to power.
We build our partners’ capacity to engage with the UN
The Advocates works with diverse partners in UN advocacy:
- Clients: Our work providing direct legal services to asylum seekers is life-saving, and we also address the underlying causes of their claims through UN advocacy. When we see patterns of human rights violations that drive people from a particular country to seek asylum, we write reports that draw on their experiences, placing them in a broader context. Our asylum-seeking clients from Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Liberia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Rwanda have contributed their experiences to advocacy focusing on LGBTI rights, gender-based violence, and civil and political rights.
- Diaspora groups: We collaborate with diaspora communities seeking to improve human rights in their country of origin or ancestry. This work includes collaborations with diaspora groups working to improve human rights in Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Liberia, and Vietnam. With them, we’ve engaged in fact-finding and UN advocacy focusing on religious and ethnic discrimination, political freedom, women’s rights, and accountability for torture and extra-judicial killings.
- LGBTI rights: We partner with organizations fighting to end discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia, Russia, and Tanzania.
- Women’s rights: Through our Women’s Human Rights Program, we work side-by-side with partner organizations in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and many other countries to use the UN’s tools to ensure that governments hold people accountable for gender-based violence and provide safety and security to victims of domestic violence.
- Human trafficking and labor exploitation: Building on our work to support victims of trafficking and end labor exploitation, we collaborate with CTUL to bring workers’ voices to the UN.
- Death penalty: We build the capacity of members of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty to report to the United Nations and advocate with UN bodies to work toward abolition of the death penalty.
- The right to protest: We provide training to human rights defenders in the United States and around the world to document crackdowns on peaceful protests and submit complaints to the UN.
This advocacy goes beyond collecting information and submitting written reports. We work alongside our partners to brief UN treaty bodies, lobby delegates to the Human Rights Council, host panel discussions for UN audiences, and lodge formal complaints.
We need your help
As the world celebrates United Nations Day, you can get involved, too! From November 2-10, the United Nations will review the human rights records of several countries where The Advocates has targeted its advocacy: Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Honduras, Liberia, and the United States. At this link you can discover how to get involved by learning more about the process, studying the issues at stake, and following the UN reviews as they happen.
But we also need your help during those two weeks to engage with us on social media. We’ll be live-tweeting the reviews, and you can help us amplify our clients’ and partners’ voices by replying to tweets you like to thank governments that make strong recommendations. Then join us on Facebook live as we debrief with our partners and volunteers after each review.
Amy Bergquist is Senior Staff Attorney with the International Justice Program at The Advocates for Human Rights.