The World Day of Social Justice is marked every year on February 20th. It’s an opportunity to learn about pressing social justice issues like gender inequality, unemployment, and immigration. It’s also a great time to explore the many organizations dedicated to social justice in all its forms. Here are 13 worth knowing about:
Since 1946, the United Nations Children’s Fund has provided developmental and humanitarian aid to children. Areas of focus include nutrition, education, emergency relief, and disease prevention. UNICEF can be found in over 190 countries. Their 5-year programs prioritize the development of community-level services that protect the health and rights of women and children.
OutRight Action International
Founded in 1990, this organization is dedicated to fighting for LGBTIQ rights around the world. It can be found working in places such as the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia, and more. From its office in New York, OutRight works with the UN to raise awareness about issues and hold countries accountable. OutRight is the first and only U.S.-based LGBTIQ human rights organization to hold consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council.
International Organization for Migration
Initially established in 1951 to help resettle people displaced during WWII, this organization is dedicated to making migration orderly and safe. They promote international cooperation and provide humanitarian assistance to refugees, displaced persons, and other migrants. In 2016, IOM became a related organization of the UN.
Human Rights Without Frontiers International
Formed in 1989, this non-profit promotes human rights, democracy, and social justice around the world. It focuses on advocacy, which includes research, organizing public events, and speaking with political leaders. The organization bases its principles and missions on international treaties and covenants.
This environmental organization has offices in over 50 countries. It focuses on direct action, lobbying, and research. Greenpeace’s mission encompasses issues like deforestation, overfishing, climate change, genetic engineering, and more. These issues affect human welfare, which is why we believe Greenpeace is a social justice organization.
This organization began in 1961 in response to the unjust imprisonment of two Portuguese students. Peter Benenson, a lawyer, launched a campaign that quickly grew into an international organization. In addition to political prisoners, Amnesty International also focuses on ending torture, abolishing the death penalty, protecting refugees, and more through strategies like direct appeals.
Human Rights Watch
With offices around the world, this social justice organization conducts research and advocacy. Through fact-finding missions, HRW investigates human rights abuses, connects with victims, and draws attention to issues. Reports focus on things like torture, political corruption, discrimination, and more. HRW pressures policymakers, companies, governments, and others to speak out against human rights abuses.
International Women’s Rights Action Watch
Created in Kenya in 1985, this organization promotes women’s rights. It’s founded on the belief that gender equality can only be achieved through international human rights principles and law. IWRAW advocates for women’s rights and acts as a resource and communications center for activists, scholars, and other organizations.
International Federation for Human Rights
This NGO is made of over 180 organizations from over 100 countries. It works to defend and promote the rights within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. With strategies like legal defense, advocacy, and public awareness campaigns, the organization draws attention to human rights issues, defends victims, and holds abusers accountable.
Center for Economic and Social Rights
Founded in 1993, this international organization has two goals: 1) promote equality through developmental and socio-economic policies and 2) support civil society groups achieve their human rights. CESR supports universal human rights, which include the right to education, housing, healthcare, work, and more. By working with civil society groups, CESR helps expose human rights abuses.
The International AIDS Society
Founded over 30 years ago, the International AIDS Society is an association of HIV professionals from over 160 countries. Members include researchers, public health professionals, clinicians, policymakers, and more. The organization’s goals are to reduce the spread of AIDS and find a long-term solution. The International AIDS Conference is the world’s largest conference on any global health issue.
One of the world’s oldest human rights groups, Anti-Slavery International works to end all forms of slavery and related practices. It raises awareness of issues such as bonded labor, forced marriage, child labor, and worker exploitation. By partnering with local organizations, Anti-Slavery International also supports former slaves. The organization holds consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council.
Habitat for Humanity International
This social justice organization has a presence in over 70 countries. It focuses on housing built by volunteers. Other actions include housing advocacy, youth programs, and assisting people with exterior maintenance of their homes. The Habitat ReStores sell new and used household and building materials, giving the proceeds to local affiliates to fund more houses. HFHI is the world’s largest not-for-profit builder.