UUSC’s Rights at Risk Program defends human rights under threat throughout the world. In extreme situations of natural disaster, armed conflict, genocide, forced migration, and systematic injustice, the Rights at Risk Program strategically addresses the needs of the most vulnerable by providing aid and pursuing structural change. In this work, UUSC focuses on the people most in danger of being excluded from existing responses.

Through key partnerships with grassroots rights defenders on the ground, the Rights at Risk Program currently works in 11 countries across five continents. Respecting the diversity of these settings, the program develops transferrable models and innovative strategies to address some of the core human rights challenges of our time.


  • Decriminalize migration and uphold the right to freedom of movement across borders
  • Promote access to asylum and protection for refugees, exiles, and stateless people
  • Secure just and equitable humanitarian relief for people denied their rights during disaster and conflict
  • Ensure that disaster relief and reconstruction efforts are guided by the voices and needs of the communities they are intended to serve
  • End gender- and identity-based violence and discrimination, and build the capacity of survivors to demand their rights


  • Ensuring that women, marginalized communities, and people living with disabilities in Vanuatu and Nepal have equitable access to relief and play a direct decision-making role in reconstruction
  • Assisting the Rohingya minority displaced by ethnic persecution in Myanmar (also known as Burma)
  • Supporting women and children fleeing political violence in Burundi
  • Bolstering urban agriculture, sustainable development, and local capacity building in Haiti
  • Reintegrating unaccompanied minors and their families after deportation from the Dominican Republic to Haiti
  • Strengthening indigenous communities and organizations of farmers, fishermen and women, mothers, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT) in the Philippines with livelihood support, trauma resiliency skills, and more
  • Protecting rights for refugees — rights to asylum, family reunification, and legal and humanitarian support — including Central American asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border and Syrian refugees in the Balkans
  • Working to end family detention in the United States


Ending family detention

  • Legal support: With a local partner and the UU College of Social Justice, mobilized 17 expert volunteers who spent 1,880 hours of providing legal counseling to women and children in detention
  • Advocacy and activism: Sponsored congressional briefings, lobbying efforts, and petitions signed by 7,676 UUSC supporters
  • Research on trauma and abuse: With the help of our partners, undertook a pathbreaking investigation into the devastating psychological toll of U.S. immigration policies

Supporting families and youth in Haiti

  • Urban agriculture: With a local partner in Port-au-Prince, trained 600 families on urban agriculture at a newly established training center
  • Rural agriculture and livelihoods: Through partner in the Central Plateau, trained 60 families (350+ individuals) who survived the 2010 earthquake to grow enough organic food to feed their families and sell the surplus in the local markets
  • Antislavery work: Built capacity of 120 youth through partner training in vocational skills as well as social, health, and human rights

Defending the rights of typhoon survivors in the Philippines

  • Through partnerships with 14 grassroots organizations, benefitted over 54,000 women, LGBT people, farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, and agrarian reform families


The Center for Peace Studies, Croatia