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Legal Reform & Policy Advocacy

The Advocates was established in 1983 on the premise, as Margaret Mead famously stated, that a small group of individuals can change the world. The Advocates has thrived because of our common belief that we all, regardless of occupation, age, sex, race, nationality, or religion,  can have a hand in changing the world. Throughout our first quarter-century, The Advocates has developed deep substantive expertise while remaining responsive to the ever-changing needs for human rights advocacy in our world.

Death Penalty

More than a decade ago, The Advocates adopted a formal commitment to oppose the death penalty worldwide.  In the United States, the capricious and arbitrary administration of the death penalty results in an enormous need for competent lawyers to assist death row inmates with their post-conviction appeals. The Advocates' Death Penalty Project was organized in 1991 to recruit Minnesota attorneys to respond to this need. The Project also provides education and advocacy on death penalty issues.

Legal Reform - Women's Rights

The Advocates for Human Rights works for the advancement of women's rights and the end of the worldwide problem of violence against women. The Advocates has provided leadership around the world on legal reform on violence against women. This includes consultation with local non-governmental organizations in drafting laws, assistance in lobbying for passage of those laws, and training for legal professionals in implementation of the laws. Advocates in countries around the world, including those in the U.S., have access to the best training materials and technical assistance resources to hold their governments accountable for protecting women's human rights through our Stop Violence Against Women website.

The Women's Program works around the world, in the U.S., and in Minnesota.

Public Awareness Campaigns

The Advocates for Human Rights is dedicated to raising awareness about important human rights issues in the United States.  As part of our work, we conduct public awareness campaigns on immigration, economic rights, and torture.  We encourage you to become part of our campaigns!  Read about the issues involved, download the campaign materials, and start educating others about these important issues.

U.N. Advocacy

The Advocates holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations and participates in numerous United Nations and regional human rights mechanisms. The Advocates recruits, trains, and integrates professional volunteers into our international advocacy work. The Advocates' United Nations advocacy includes: making oral and written statements to charter-based bodies such as the Human Rights Council; participating in UN review of compliance with human rights treaties through shadow reporting; and providing expert technical advice. The Advocates also participates in regional human rights mechanisms, such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.

U.S. Immigration Policy

The Advocates has emerged as a strong voice in the struggle for immigration policies that reflect human rights principles, providing national leadership in the area of immigration detention and serving as a leading resource for factual information on immigration issues through our Energy of a Nation website. The Advocates for Human Rights monitors immigration-related legislation in Minnesota and the U.S. and regularly reports on U.S. compliance with human rights obligations.