The Open Society Foundations fund human rights groups around the world, from global advocacy organizations to smaller national and local groups, that stand up for the rights of all.
2020 Human Rights Movements and Institutions Budget by Region
We are committed to upholding the rights described by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—from civil and political rights, such as the right to free assembly and freedom of speech, to economic and social rights, such as the right to education, food, and housing.
The promotion of human rights informs all our work—and has helped shape our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Human Rights Initiative focuses in particular on challenging impunity and ensuring accountability, tackling discrimination and abusive practices in law enforcement and criminal justice, and defending freedoms of expression, assembly, and association.
In 2010, the Open Society Foundations gave a challenge grant of $100 million over 10 years to Human Rights Watch to support global expansion—the largest single donation commitment Human Rights Watch had ever received.
Many of the human rights groups we and others support around the world have come under attack from increasingly authoritarian governments. From Hungary to Egypt and elsewhere, their courage and commitment inspires our efforts.
We support efforts throughout the world to end human rights abuses linked to government counter-terrorism efforts. This support has included seeking to strengthen overview and accountability for the use of armed drones by the United States and its allies, and challenging the program of illegal rendition and torture of suspects launched by the CIA after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Our work on economic and social rights has included using European rights law to challenge mortgage-related home repossessions in Ireland, and using rights arguments to challenge corruption in Sierra Leone.
Developing a More Just Future
Q&A: Designing for Human Rights
What do architects, designers, and weapons specialists have to offer rights movements around the world? A unique and trailblazing firm is providing an answer, while building new digital tools to resist authoritarianism.
A Victory for Civil Society
European Union Court Rejects Hungarian NGO Funding Law
A ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union has affirmed the vital role of civil society in democratic governance.
Albinism in Africa In Depth
“We Are Tired of Being Ignored”
Following a brutal murder in Mali, one of Africa’s most celebrated artists helped rally a movement to defend the rights of people with albinism, and organized a defiant musical festival unlike anything the world had ever seen.