Waging Peace.
Fighting Disease.
Building Hope.

Human Rights Program

Our Goal

The Carter Center undertakes activities to support individuals and nations striving to realize the civil and political rights and responsibilities enumerated by the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a growing body of public international law.


Supporting Human Rights Defenders

Courageous and effective activists for the rights of others often face great risks in countries where basic human rights are still ignored. These unsung heroes from countries worldwide gather at the Human Rights Defenders Policy Forum at The Carter Center to address national and global issues affecting the enjoyment of human rights. Discussions are led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and publicized to call attention to shared concerns.


Mobilizing Action for Women and Girls Initiative

Recognizing the powerful influence of religious leaders around the world, the Mobilizing Action for Women and Girls Initiative focuses on the policies and practices of the world's religious institutions and traditional and customary belief systems, with the objective of achieving more equitable treatment for women and girls. Many harmful practices are perpetuated because of discriminatory interpretations of religious texts and teachings. The initiative creates opportunities to advance justice-based interpretations of such texts and to develop curricula and training materials that underscore human rights and gender equality for use by religious and traditional leaders. To learn more, visit the Forum on Women, Religion, Violence & Power.


Strengthening International Human Rights Systems

President Carter was a strong proponent for establishing the post of High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations, and the Center has worked closely with each of the high commissioners. The Center also has endorsed the work of the International Criminal Court and voiced concerns about torture and other critical human rights issues.


Results and Impact 

  • Since 2003, eight Human Rights Defenders Policy Forums have supported the work of courageous activists from around the world.

  • In 2015, the Center launched an online forum to promote the rights of women and girls by connecting activists, hosting roundtable video discussions, highlighting success stories, and serving as a resource library and archive.

  • The Center and President Carter promoted establishment of the post of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and of the International Criminal Court and, in 2006, were instrumental in reforming the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, now the U.N. Human Rights Council.

  • For more than 30 years, President and Mrs. Carter have personally supported thousands of human rights defenders by appealing through letters or in private meetings to heads of state on behalf of those who are persecuted for their courageous work.


The Carter Center is committed to creating a world where every child, woman, and man has the opportunity to live in peace and enjoy good health.

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A commitment to human rights for all people around the world was a founding principle of The Carter Center.