Human Rights Organisations Based in Washington DC
The capital of the USA, Washington DC is the home of many human rights organisations. Being located in this city-state, created from part of Maryland to be a home of federal government, gives organisations a unique position to directly communicate with many policy makers and leaders of both the United States and other countries. Although most recent population estimates are little above 600,000, almost as many commuters from surrounding areas such as Arlington, Alexandria and Bethesda travel into Washington DC to work.
Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice
The Civil Rights Division is a government body that protects the rights of all United States citizens. In this capacity its primary focus is to enforce the federal civil rights laws of the US, investigate breaches and take legal action against the offending parties. This helps ensure the progressive and egalitarian nature of US society is preserved and precedent is set for the outcome of future civil rights offences.
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Originally created as a private nonprofit organisation to investigate and address racial inequality in the legal system, which has extended to involve discrimination of all kinds. Although headquartered in Washington DC, there are 8 local lawyers' committees in other major US cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The Lawyers' Committee can and does undertake pro bono work on behalf of discrimination victims, but also works to educate the public about the effects of proposed changes to the law, and advocate for fair treatment of all people.
American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU has a long history of supporting civil rights and speaking out against discrimination in the USA. Much of its work is focused on campaigns that educate the public about the history of civil rights issues, current developments in the law and future threats against those rights. There are regional branches of the ACLU all across the USA, with their head offices in New York. By directly being part of court challenges to attempted claims and actions that breach essential human rights, the ACLU stands in the front line defence of civil liberties.
Human Rights First
Human Rights First use the tools of public media and political advocacy to challenge human rights abuses that occur in the United States and abroad. They uphold stated American ideals and put public pressure on groups that ignore them, as well as connecting victims with pro bono lawyer opportunities. They have offices in both Washington DC and central New York to ensure they have access to leaders and decision makers of government, business and media bodies.
As one of the long-standing and renowned humanitarian organisations in the world, Amnesty International has a strong voice, and regularly calls on the community to petition and pressure governments and businesses to change. A large part of their work is researching and documenting human rights abuses so that the individuals discriminated against cannot be silenced, and improvement in their circumstance can be tracked. Offices for Amnesty are located in Washington, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Georgia and California.