UUSC’s Rights at Risk Program addresses the needs of populations who are on the outer margins of society, and who are traditionally excluded from mainstream aid responses. In situations of forced displacement, natural and man-made disasters, and gross violations of civil and political rights, the Rights at Risk Program works to restore, protect, and advance these rights through programs of social transformation and structural change.

Today, the Rights at Risk program has strategic partnerships with grassroots organizations in 19 countries across five continents. Respecting the diversity of these settings, UUSC and these partner organizations collaborate on innovative strategies and interventions, each of which has a goal of addressing critical human rights challenges.

GOALS

  • Advance sexual orientation and gender identity rights in Southern Africa
  • Decriminalize migration and safeguard the fundamental human right to seek asylum
  • Provide humanitarian assistance to refugees in transit and document abuses perpetrated by border enforcement authorities
  • Build organizational capacity of Burmese human rights activists
  • Ensure that natural disaster relief and reconstruction efforts are guided by the voices and needs of affected communities

CURRENT PROJECTS

  • Foster the work of progressive clergy to create safe and inclusive spaces in their churches and mosques for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Africans
  • Ensure due process protections for Central American children and families seeking humanitarian protection in the United States
  • Facilitate the holistic integration of refugees in the United States by actively countering xenophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric
  • Reduce ethnic and religious violence in Burma by equipping activists with secure communications technology to safely dispel rumors, reduce hate speech, and accurately document human rights abuses
  • Provide resources to organizations working to deliver critical humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in transit on the Balkan migration route
  • Assist communities affected by the April 2016 Ecuador earthquake to remove debris, restore access to water, and rebuild homes, schools, and churches
  • Empower women, Dalits, and other vulnerable populations in Nepal as they rebuild their communities in the wake of the April 2015 earthquake
  • Promote access to legal assistance for protestors arrested during political turmoil in Burundi.
  • Support the reintegration of unaccompanied minors in Haiti after their deportation from the Dominican Republic

PARTNER IMPACT AND ACTIVITY

  • Implemented new security procedures and training to provide Burmese activists with tools to safely gather and report human rights violations
  • Trained Burmese activists to establish Peaceful Truth, a publicly viewable misinformation reporting site
  • Created a #WelcomeRefugees guidebook to support resettlement and integration of Syrian refugees in Southern California
  • Hosted a series of events where Syrian refugees could share their stories, and launched an advocacy campaign to combat xenophobia and Islamophobia
  • Screened 1,320 formally detained Central American families to determine their need for post-release legal services
  • Established a multimedia team to produce eight short-form videos to mobilize public support for ending family detention

RESEARCH

UUSC ADVOCACY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Advocacy to end family detention for asylum-seeking Central American mothers and children
  • Promoting legal counsel for unaccompanied children seeking humanitarian protection
  • Supporting a more welcoming environment for Syrian and other refugees by influencing legislation at the federal, state, and local levels
  • Leading a national Refugee Rapid Response Network for activists