NEW YORK - February 19 - For many Americans, human rights work is something that happens beyond the borders of the United States. A new Ford Foundation publication presents thirteen case studies that tell a different story.
Close to Home: Case Studies of Human Rights Work in the United States, examines the work of U.S. organizations that are using traditional human rights tools-such as fact-finding, litigation, organizing and advocacy-to reduce poverty, promote workers' rights and environmental justice, abolish the death penalty and end discrimination. Together the case studies shed light on the emerging human rights movement in the United States.
"Human rights laws and principles represent the highest aspirations that the world's nations-including the United States- have set for themselves," said Bradford Smith, vice president for Peace and Social Justice at the Ford Foundation. "This report highlights efforts to transform these aspirations into a reality for all Americans."
Close to Home provides activists, funders and policy makers with new points of view and valuable tools for seeking positive social change in their communities. The report illustrates the value that the use of human rights brings to the struggle for social justice in the United States: a powerful affirmation of human dignity, a broad and unifying framework of rights, a set of international laws and mechanisms to demand justice, and a range of additional strategies to translate human rights into concrete improvements in people's everyday lives.
"We hope this report will contribute to the on-going discussion of the role international law and multilateral institutions should play in U.S. policies and will expand support for the growing movement to bring human rights closer to home," said Larry Cox, Ford Foundation's senior program officer for human rights.
The report is edited by Larry Cox and Dorothy Q. Thomas, former director of Human Rights Watch's women's rights program. It is available online at Ford Foundation's website (http://www.fordfound.org). Visitors to the site may also request print copies of the report.