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Our Mission

We believe that when we rise, tyranny falls.


The Human Rights Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

What differentiates HRF from other human rights organizations is our singular focus on authoritarian regimes.

We consider our mission essential given that today more than 5.7 billion people live under tyranny. That’s 72% of the world’s population in 94 countries from Cuba to Russia to Saudi Arabia to North Korea.

What does HRF do?


We promote freedom where it’s most at risk: in countries ruled by authoritarian regimes. Individuals who suffer under authoritarianism are more likely to: lack food and clean drinking water; lack access to basic education; live in extreme poverty; face war and civil strife; become a refugee; lack freedom of speech and voting rights; and face constant threats of imprisonment, torture, violence, and death.

Grounding our work in a deep commitment to individual liberty, HRF aims to raise awareness about the nature and vulnerability of freedom around the world. In addition to strengthening the work of grassroots activists in closed societies, our programs provide education about what constitutes a free society, why freedom matters, and how freedom is nurtured, developed, and sustained.

How does HRF do this?


By supporting activists and providing them the resources, skills, contacts, and attention they need to make a difference in their countries;

By popularizing the struggle for freedom and democracy, and against dictatorship, and by bringing human rights into the mainstream of global public discussion;

By producing international legal reports, public letters, and op-eds that can influence institutions, policymakers, and the public at large in the direction of better protecting individual rights in countries ruled by authoritarian regimes.

What are the issues that HRF works on?

HRF promotes liberal democracy in countries ruled by authoritarian regimes. Liberal democratic values are best expressed through the rights outlined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is ratified by 173 countries and includes every human being’s…

  • freedom of speech and expression
  • the right to equal treatment and due process under law
  • freedom from slavery and torture
  • freedom of association
  • the right to leave and enter their countries
  • freedom from interference and coercion in matters of conscience
  • the right to acquire and dispose of property
  • freedom from arbitrary detainment or exile
  • the right to worship in the manner of their choosing
  • the right to participate in the government of their country

When was HRF established?

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) was established in 2005, and opened its offices in New York in 2006. HRF was founded with the enthusiastic support of numerous freedom champions who resisted peacefully and were prisoners of conscience under tyrannies of all colors, including Elie Wiesel (under the Nazi dictatorship) and Czechoslovakia’s Václav Havel (under the dictatorship of the Eastern bloc).

Where does HRF have offices?

HRF is headquartered at the Empire State Building in New York. However, HRF staff work from a variety of locations, including Austin, The Hague, Oslo, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Who are HRF’s funders?

Like many other not-for-profit organizations, HRF relies primarily on the generous donations and support of individuals and foundations, who believe in our mission and care about the promotion of freedom and democracy across the globe.

Every single day, our partners are at the front lines fighting for human rights. Help them change the world.