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At the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), we believe that when we rise, tyranny falls. Our work would not be possible without the commitment to freedom that is shared by the countless individuals who continually stand against authoritarianism. Activists, dissidents, civil society organizations, and journalists are leading the movement toward a more peaceful, prosperous, and free world by bravely challenging dictatorships – often risking their lives to do so.

More than 4.2 billion people presently live under authoritarian rule. This means that more than half of the world’s population is governed by leaders who flagrantly deny them basic human rights. HRF’s research demonstrates that the rise of authoritarianism is the single largest threat to freedom in our world today, and it is correlated with the progression of other global crises including war and conflict, access to clean water, poverty, and refugee crises.

This is what makes HRF’s work so crucial, and why our mission is uniquely focused on promoting and protecting human rights in closed societies. While many nonprofits focus their efforts on democracies, at HRF we are committed to focusing our time, energy, and resources on the most grievous and overlooked cases of human rights abuses around the world.

2021 marked another consecutive year of declining freedom in the world, but in the face of adversity, our community came together to undermine tyranny. From hosting an in-person Oslo Freedom Forum after a long hiatus, to maintaining our impact litigation team’s 100% success rate, to reaching over $1 million raised to support freedom in Belarus, this past year was filled with milestones in the struggle for freedom.

We are pleased to share our 2021 Annual Report, which reflects on all our victories and achievements this past year, none of which would be possible without your support. As a charitable organization without an endowment, HRF is entirely dependent on the generosity of donors like you in order to carry out our work. We hope that with your help, HRF will be able to expand our efforts and achievements, and continue to promote freedom where it is most at risk for years to come.

With gratitude,

Céline Boustani 
President
Human Rights Foundation

Cover illustration by Lilia Kvatsabaya, Letter to a Political Prisoner.