Human Rights Day: 5 Organizations in New York City Making a Difference

Sunday, December 10 is Human Rights Day. This yearly, international observance commemorates the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration is a powerful document that proclaimed, in 1948, the inalienable rights that we each are inherently entitled to as human beings. NYXT is proud to further the cause of human rights, in our diverse city and worldwide, by highlighting the incredible work of NYC organizations making a difference.


1. Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is an NYC-based, non-government organization that promotes human rights and justice worldwide. Since 1978, more than 400 Human Rights Watch members have gathered facts, engaged in impartial reporting and advocacy, and brought media exposure to human rights conditions worldwide. Their extensive coverage in local and international media enables Human Rights Watch to meet with governments, the United Nations, regional groups, and corporations to fight for policy changes and support practices that promote human rights and justice.

Watch below: LGBT Violence in Russia


2. United Nations Joint SDG Fund

On September 25th, 2015, United Nations countries adopted a set of 17 goals that aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. As an inter-agency initiative, the Joint SDG Fund works across the United Nations system and supports programs in 22 countries with a $70 million budget. Money from the Joint SDG Fund is put to direct use in combating poverty and in promoting government and grassroots organizations working to achieve goals like gender equality, education, clean water, and the elimination of hunger.

Watch below: Fighting Malnutrition in Ethiopia


3. Open Society Foundation

Founded by philanthropist George Soros in 1979, the Open Society Foundations are a family of offices and foundations that fund and shape programs around the world that promote tolerance, justice and equality. The OSF Human Rights Initiatives support advocacy groups with financial grants and legal backing and provide a public platform for messages of diversity, government accountability and peaceful dissent and protest.

Watch below: Embrace the Ideas We're Afraid to Talk About


4. New York Anti-Trafficking Network

New York Anti-Trafficking Network is a team of human rights advocates made up of lawyers, social workers, and policy advocates working to change our laws and policies on human trafficking. NYATN highlights that human trafficking is an issue that exists worldwide, which we can begin to address through services and policy changes here in the US and NYC; thousands of men and women and over 2,200 children are victims of sex and labor trafficking annually in New York City. NYATN chooses a human rights-centered approach every day to amplify the voices of survivors rather than “rescuers,” letting the needs and rights of often-marginalized survivors take center stage.

Watch below: Human Rights


5. New York Civil Liberties Union

The New York Civil Liberties Union is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization that believes all New Yorkers are entitled to inalienable legal rights including freedom of speech, religion, and the rights to privacy, due process, and equality before the law. The NYCLU represents ordinary people who have experienced injustice and have decided to fight back: “men and women, rich and poor, gay and straight, black, white and brown, young and old, religious and atheist, able-bodied and living with a disability, citizens and immigrants.” As a network of lawyers, policy advocates, and community organizers, the NYCLU works across social, ethnic, and religious barriers to stand up for the rights of everyone.

Watch below: Boxed In


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognized that “the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.” While that ideal is not yet a reality, becoming a more informed citizen is the first step toward combating human rights abuses and discrimination, both at home and around the world. NYXT’s partners are fighting to raise awareness, shape policy, and bring tolerance and justice to us all. Learn more by visiting our content partners and find events by them and other NYC organizations by checking out our Events Calendar.



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