Non-governmental Organizations

The following foundations, charitable and activist groups, and other organizations are among the best known of the thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that are active in the international arena and often come in contact with U.S. officials working abroad.

American Civil Liberties Union

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is an organization committed to protecting the civil rights of American citizens and foreign nationals subject to U.S. laws. Founded in 1920, the ACLU takes cases specifically dealing with violations of first amendment rights, equal protection, due process and the right to privacy. Its cases often involve citizens of other countries.

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American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was founded in 1917 by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). It is supported and staffed by individuals sharing basic values regardless of religious affiliation. AFSC attempts to relieve human suffering and find new approaches to world peace and social justice through nonviolence. Its major efforts focus on criminal justice, economic justice, humanitarian assistance, immigration/migration, peace building/conflict resolution and youth.

 

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American Society of International Law (ASIL)

Founded in 1906, ASIL is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational membership organization. ASIL’s mission is to foster the study of international law and to promote the establishment and maintenance of international relations on the basis of law and justice. The Society’s 4,000 members (from nearly 100 countries) comprise attorneys, academics, judges, students, and others interested in international law.

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Amnesty International (AI)

Amnesty International (AI) is a worldwide organization whose members campaign for internationally recognized human rights. AI undertakes research and action focused on grave abuses of the rights of persons and groups, and promotes freedom of conscience and expression.

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Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT)

Founded in 1977, the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) monitors places of detention, helps implement control mechanisms that can prevent torture and ill treatment, encourages the adoption and respect of legal norms and standards that prohibit torture and combat impunity, and strengthens the capacities of persons seeking to prevent torture. APT takes part in the training of police, NGOs, national institutions, judges, prosecutors and others in the field of law. It also provides practical guides and relevant legal advice in a variety of languages. APT operates as a source of ideas and expertise for a broad variety of partners in torture prevention, ranging from governments to NGOs, United Nations bodies, regional groups, national human rights institutions, prison authorities and police services.


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Avocats Sans Frontieres (ASF)

Created in 1992, Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF), or Lawyers Without Borders, is a nongovernmental organization acting in the field of law and justice. ASF works to promote, strengthen and protect civil, political, social and cultural human rights of individuals and peoples. Drawing on the volunteer legal expertise of lawyers, ASF involves itself in trials where the legal or human rights of the defense are in danger. ASF brings support to specific judicial processes related to major tragedies, contributes to the democratization of justice and participates in the setting up of justice systems adapted to the countries' needs.

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Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU)

Founnded in 1955 as part of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's People-to-People Program, the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) has long given strong support to U.S. diplomats, the Foreign Service Institute's training progams and U.S. commercial diplomacy objectives. Among its wide range of activities, in more recent years BCIU has focused on arranging meetings between senior foreign as well as U.S. officials and executive-level counterparts within the U.S. business community.

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CARE International

CARE International is an international aid and development organization that works with poor communities in more than 70 countries around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty. CARE provides disaster aid and self-help development programs overseas, emphasizing shared-cost, self-help partnership development programs with long-term sustainability. Programs are in the areas of renewable resources development, small enterprise development, construction of potable water systems, primary health care and nutrition, agricultural development, education and community development.




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Carnegie Endowment

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, founded in 1910, that works toward advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States. The Endowment shapes policy approaches through research, convening discussants, creating new institutions and publishing reports, and has a wide array of interests, spanning geographic regions, relations among governments, business, international organizations and civil society. The group focuses on the economic, political and technological forces driving global change.


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Catholic Relief Services (CRS)

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) of the U.S. Catholic Conference is a nonpolitical, nonevangelical, official overseas relief and self-help development agency of the American Catholic community. CRS conducts programs of disaster response, refugee relief and rehabilitation, social welfare services, and socioeconomic development in 94 countries. CRS distributes food, clothing and medicine, and stimulates and supports indigenous agencies engaged in welfare and development.



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Doctors without Borders (MSF-USA )

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters. In emergencies and their aftermath, MSF provides health care, rehabilitates and runs hospitals and clinics, performs surgery, battles epidemics, carries out vaccination campaigns, operates feeding centers for malnourished children and offers mental health care. When needed, MSF also constructs wells and dispenses clean drinking water, and provides shelter materials like blankets and plastic sheeting.

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Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization, a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide. It works to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation and advance human achievement. Focusing on a limited number of problem areas and program strategies within its broad goals, the Ford Foundation works mainly through making grants or loans that build knowledge and strengthen organizations and networks.

 

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Freedom House

Today, Freedom House is a leading advocate of the world's young democracies, which are coping with the debilitating legacy of statism, dictatorship and political repression. Freedom House conducts research in the United States and overseas, and is involved in advocacy, education and training initiatives that promote human rights, democracy, free market economics, the rule of law, independent media and U.S. engagement in international affairs.

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Friends of the Earth (FOE)

Dedicated to protecting the planet from environmental disaster and preserving biological and ethnic diversity, Friends of the Earth (FOE) empowers citizens to have an effective voice in environmental decisions and promotes use of tax dollars to protect the environment. FOE’s interests include groundwater and ozone protection, as well as toxic waste cleanup. FOE also advocates for reducing overconsumption in the United States.

 

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Greenpeace

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organization that uses nonviolent creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems and force solutions that it believes are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace works to save ancient forests, stop global warming, protect the oceans, stop toxic pollution, end nuclear threats and end threats posed by genetic engineering.

 

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Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an organization that promotes and monitors human rights worldwide and evaluates the human rights practices of governments. HRW also observes the human rights practices of nongovernmental groups, such as guerrilla groups, that are in sustained armed conflict with governments. HRW reports on discrepancies between the claims made by governments with respect to human rights and their actual practices, and urges governments to bring practices in line with stated claims.



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International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

Established in 1952, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) is dedicated to the primacy, coherence and implementation of international law and principles that advance human rights. What distinguishes theICJ from other groups is its impartial, objective and authoritative legal approach to the protection and promotion of human rights through the rule of law. The ICJ provides legal expertise at both the international and national levels to ensure that developments in international law adhere to human rights principles, and that international standards are implemented at the national level.


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International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC )

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) serves as a neutral institution that operates mainly during times of war, civil war or internal strife; maintains the principles of the Red Cross; and ensures application of the Geneva Conventions and protocols. ICRC aids in the protection and care of all who are wounded, and is concerned with their spiritual well-being, dignity and family rights. It participates in relief programs in aid of refugees and displaced people who are the victims of armed conflicts. It also works closely with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), an organization founded in 1919 and made up of 185 member societies. The Red Crescent is used in place of the Red Cross in many Islamic counties.


http://www.icrc.org
http://www.ifrc.org


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International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF)

The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) is a self-governing group of nongovernmental, not-for-profit organizations that act to protect human rights throughout Europe, North America and Central Asia. The group strives to monitor compliance with the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Final Act. In addition to gathering and analyzing information on human rights conditions in countries that are part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the IHF acts as a clearinghouse for this information, disseminating it to governments, intergovernmental organizations, the press and the public.


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Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a leading international, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the diversity of life on earth. It identifies ecologically significant lands and protects them through gifts, purchases or cooperative management agreements with government or private agencies or voluntary arrangements with private landowners. The Nature Conservancy also provides long-term stewardship for 1340 Conservancy-owned preserves and makes most Conservancy lands available for nondestructive use at the request of educational and scientific organizations.

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Oxfam

Oxfam is an autonomous development and disaster assistance organization cooperating in a worldwide network. Oxfam funds self-help projects in the poorer countries of Asia, Africa and the Americas with an emphasis on promoting economic and food self-reliance. Oxfam responds to emergency needs of political and natural disaster refugees by funding food, water resources and medical aid programs. It supports development programs that address the underlying causes of such disasters and advocates for policy changes.



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Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)

Physician for Human Rights (PHR) promotes health by protecting human rights. PHR believes that human rights are essential preconditions for the health and well-being of all people. Using medical and scientific methods, PHR investigates and exposes violations of human rights worldwide and works to stop them. PHR also educates and organizes health professionals, public health workers and nursing students to encourage them to become active in supporting a movement for human rights.


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Rockefeller Foundation

Founded in 1913, he Rockefeller Foundation works around the world to help poor and vulnerable people achieve lasting improvements in their lives and to ensure that the benefits of globalization are more widely shared. The foundation is headquartered in New York City and has regional offices in Bangkok, Nairobi, San Francisco and Bellagio.

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Rotary International

Rotary International is composed of business and professional executives in 166 countries and an additional 34 geographical regions. The group undertakes community development programs; promotes high ethical standards in business and the professions; and fosters international understanding, goodwill and peace. Rotary International maintains the Rotary Foundation, which offers scholarships to outstanding men and women that provide opportunities to study or teach in other countries.


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Save the Children USA

Save the Children USA is a voluntary, nonsectarian agency that helps children, families and communities in the United States and abroad achieve social and economic stability through community development and family self-help projects in the areas of health, education and economic opportunities. Save the Children also offers aid to victims of disaster. Its programs are designed to contribute to individuals’ growth, dignity, independence and self-reliance.



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The Asia Foundation (TAF)

The Asia Foundation (TAF) is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization with 18 offices throughout Asia, a headquarters in San Francisco and an office in Washington, D.C. The Asia Foundation works to help develop a more peaceful, prosperous, just and open Asia-Pacific region. It works with private and public partners to support programs that help improve economic reform and development, women's empowerment, governance and law, and international relations in Asia. The Asia Foundation supports leadership and institutional development, exchanges and policy research.

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U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR)

The U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) serves as an information and advocacy center working to communicate the plight of the world's millions of refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers to the American people, and to provide a nongovernmental focal point for humanitarian concern in meeting the needs of a changing world refugee situation. USCR consults with national and international leaders, maintains close ties with voluntary organizations and supports specialized U.N. agencies working to alleviate refugee problems. It also monitors hearings and legislation of the U.S. Congress and policies of the U.S. government on refugee affairs.



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World Vision

World Vision, a global Christian relief and development organization, is the largest U.S. private humanitarian NGO. It is dedicated to helping impoverished children and their communities gain access to clean water, nutritious food, education, health care and economic opportunity. Among its priorities are famine relief, assistance to children in AIDS-affected communities and emergency aid for victims of terrorism and natural disasters.

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