UUSC’s Rights at Risk Program partners with marginalized communities around the globe in their struggle for self-determination human rights. In situations of forced displacement, natural and human-made disasters, and gross violations of civil and political rights, the Rights at Risk Program supports social transformation and structural change to restore, protect, and advance the rights of people who have historically been excluded from mainstream aid responses.
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.
- 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
- 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
- Empower women, Dalits, and other vulnerable populations in Nepal as they rebuild their communities in the wake of the April 2015 earthquake
- Offer livelihood support, cholera prevention awareness, and human rights training to repatriated and stateless Haitians impacted by Hurricane Matthew
- Document extrajudicial killings and build trauma resiliency in the Philippines, in the context of Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal crackdown on drug users and the urban poor.
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
- Won a federal lawsuit reaffirming that state governments cannot discriminate against resettled refugees on the basis of religion or national origin
- Organized 26 congregations in Southern Africa to speak out in defense of sexual orientation and gender identity rights following Trump’s inauguration
- 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
- Published hard-hitting research showing that U.S. Border Patrol tactics directly contribute to the missing persons crisis in the borderlands.
- In September 2015, UUSC released No Safe Haven Here: Children and Families Face Trauma in the Hands of U.S. Immigration, a report on the mental health needs of women and children held in U.S. family detention facilities.
- UUSC released Waiting for Refuge: Benefits and Challenges of the Central American Minors In-Country Processing Program in December 2016, highlighting the need for a stronger refugee protection system for the region.
UUSC ADVOCACY HIGHLIGHTS
- Resisting xenophobic and Islamophobic policies and discourse at the local and national level
- Advocating to end family detention for asylum-seeking Central American mothers and children
- Pressing for aid accountability in the international response to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti
- 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 committed to welcoming refugees
- Calling for sanctuary and solidarity policies that make local communities safe havens for undocumented, Black, and Muslim people and others at particular risk from escalating populism, demagoguery, and scapegoating in the U.S.