A commitment to human rights for all people around the world was a founding principle of The Carter Center. These include civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights and freedoms enumerated in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Center's Human Rights Program undertakes a range of activities to strengthen such rights as the bedrock of peaceful and just societies.
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 annually at the Human Rights Defenders Policy Forum at The Carter Center to discuss national and global issues affecting the enjoyment of human rights, such as the state of U.S. commitments to human rights and the impact of the war on terror. Discussions are led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In addition, for more than 20 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.
Read more about the Center's work to strengthen the roles of African human rights defenders.
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. In 2006, President Carter and other Nobel Peace Prize laureates were instrumental in reforming the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, now the U.N. Human Rights Council. The Center also has endorsed the work of the International Criminal Court and voiced concerns about torture and other critical human rights issues.
On Feb. 16, 2010, The Carter Center and the Brookings Institution's Managing Global Insecurity Initiative convened human rights advocates and experts from 10 countries to evaluate the impact of the U.N.'s human rights system on their work. Learn more about this event.
Advancing Human Rights at the Grass Roots
An important corollary to global issues in human rights is the program's work to help nations meet specific human rights standards and support citizens who monitor and advance human rights at the ground level. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Center's Human Rights House provides training and networking resources to local human rights groups and, at the invitation of the Congolese government, assisted a review of the fairness of national mining contracts in this poverty stricken, but mineral-rich nation. The Center also has opened offices in Israel and the Palestinian Territories to monitor and report on human rights abuses. Read more about the Center's work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Palestinian Territories.
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