Human Rights Foundation

Human Rights Foundation

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a non-profit organization that works on “defending human rights and promoting liberal democracy in the Americas.” [ [ Mission.] Human Rights Foundation. Retrieved 10 December 2006.] The Human Rights Foundation was founded in 2005 by film producer Thor Halvorssen. Its offices are in New York City.


The Human Rights Foundation maintains that although current debates about whether it is possible to define universal economic and cultural rights are useful and important, those debates tend to divide those who would otherwise be strong allies in the struggle for rights. Its definition of human rights sidesteps those debates, focusing instead on the essential ideals of freedom of self-determination and freedom from tyranny.

Accordingly, the Human Rights Foundation adheres to the definition of human rights as put forth in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976), believing that all individuals are entitled to the right to speak freely, the right to worship in the manner of their choice, the right to freely associate with those of like mind, the right to acquire and dispose of property, the right to leave and enter their country, the right to equal treatment and due process under law, the right to be able to participate in the government of their country, freedom from arbitrary detainment or exile, freedom from slavery and torture, and freedom from interference and coercion in matters of conscience.

In particular, the Human Rights Foundation seeks to sustain the struggle for liberty in those areas where it is presently under threat.

According to a 2005 article by a conservative news website, the foundation ideologically emphasizes property rights and free markets as the basis for human freedom and criticizes traditional human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for undermining capitalism.Cite web|url=|title=Human Rights Groups Accused of Undermining Capitalism|accessdate=2007-06-18|publisher=Cnsnews|year=2005-11-16|first=Sherrie|last=Gossett]


The Human Rights Foundation operates on the basis of transparency. It is willing to make public all of its research and claims to be open to accepting new information and criticisms that might undermine its positions. [ [ HRF's Transparency.] Human Rights Foundation. Retrieved 10 December 2006.]


The Human Rights Foundation published four reports in November 2006, all case studies of human rights violations in Venezuela. [ [ Reports.] Human Rights Foundation. Retrieved 10 December 2006.] HRF is also in the midst of starting university campus branches willing to support and sponsor events concerning HRF's mission, to support freedom in the Americas. The first campus to begin a branch of the Human Rights Foundation is George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

The Human Rights Foundation screened its documentary film "The Sugar Babies: The Plight of the Children of Agricultural Workers in the Sugar Industry", at Florida International University on June 27th, 2007. The documentary about human trafficking of Haitians in the Dominican Republic drew protest from both Dominican government officials and from the Fanjul family, one of the largest beneficiaries of the human trafficking depicted in the film, with a sugar empire that dwarfs the U.S. Sugar Corporation. [ [ Sugar Babies Screening.] Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 11 July 2007.]

International Council

The International Council of the Human Rights Foundation includes former political prisoners Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Armando Valladares, Ramón José Velásquez, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu, as well as law professor Kenneth Anderson, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, former Estonian prime minister Mart Laar, political commentator Álvaro Vargas Llosa, and public policy professor James Q. Wilson.


External links

* [ Human Rights Foundation website]
* [ Full text of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights]

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