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.
Advancing Human Rights at the Grass Roots
An important corollary to global issues in human rights is the Carter Center'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, the Center assisted a review of the fairness of national mining contracts in this poverty stricken, but mineral-rich nation.
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.
The human rights defenders initiative currently focuses on the role of religion in advancing human rights of women. Through partnerships with activists, leaders, and scholars, the initiative will help to advance recognition and respect for the equal rights of girls and women worldwide.
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
- The Carter Center's work to improve accountability and transparency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's industrial mining sector resulted in government decrees on mining information transparency, an increase in the disclosure of mining contracts and tax revenues, compensation paid to local communities impacted by mining operations, and wider accessibility of critical mining information through creation of the Congo Mines website (www.congomines.org).
- The Carter Center and its local civil society partners played a leading role in establishing the first independent National Human Rights Commission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Since 2003, seven Human Rights Defenders Policy Forums have supported the work of courageous activists from around the world.
- 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.