Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights

Rating: 4.75 stars   16 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, Children & Youth, International

Location: 1300 19th Street NW, Suite 750 Washington DC 20036 USA

Mission: The Robert F. Kennedy Center continues his mission through domestic and international programs that help the disadvantaged and oppressed and that recognize, train and support our next generation of leaders.
Results: Educating and Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders: In 2010, the RFK Center partnered with the New York State United Teachers to launch an online human rights curriculum (Speak Truth To Power/STTP) with 31 teacher-developed lesson plans. “…in every child, is the potential for greatness…” – Robert F. Kennedy, 1965 Connecting Great Achievement with Great Potential: In late 2011, the RFK Center partnered with Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union to create 16 new human rights lessons based on Nobel Peace Prize winners. In April 2012, the Nobel Peace Prize winners fanned out across the city, visiting 17 schools in Chicago that included STTP as part of their curriculum. Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders: In 2012 and 2013, the RFK Center will work with the Washington College of Law to create a training seminar program for law school students to teach high school students about human rights. High school students will learn empathy, tolerance, and discover valuable role models. Law students will gain experience and training to better translate rights-based concepts to a diverse audience. LGBTI Rights in Uganda: The RFK Center held meetings with members of Congress regarding LGBTI rights in Uganda. Congressman Barney Frank helped arrange an official meeting between a member of the Ugandan Parliament and one of Uganda’s only openly gay activists: Mr. Frank Mugisha. In 2011, the RFK Center partnered with Uganda activists to convince key Kenyan legal organizations to end their silence and speak out against the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Success in keeping funds available for the Gulf Coast: The RFK Center helped hundreds of New Orleans residents travel to the District of Columbia in 2006 to protest announcements that federal disaster recovery funding would soon end. Attendees met with government officials; the federal recovery funding was reinstated. Zimbabwe: Despite the Zimbabwe Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld their right to assembly, police have continued to arrest and harass members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). The RFK Center will assist WOZA in filing a petition to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR). Recently, the RFK Center secured a $10,000 U.S. State Department grant to provide security and a new office for WOZA. In addition, the RFK Center will help digitize WOZA’s extensive handwritten archives. Advocacy: The RFK Center continues to urge the UN to include human rights monitoring in its Western Sahara mandate. In 2010, staff members helped gather an international coalition to file a written submission to Morocco’s Universal Periodic Review. The RFK Center brought Aminatou Haidar to the U.S. where she met with members of the United Nations and the U.S. government in preparation for the vote on the mandate’s renewal. In June 2012, the RFK Center presented its submission to the Council in Geneva. In August 2012, Kerry Kennedy led a delegation of human rights experts to Western Sahara and Morocco. The media attention given to this mission resulted in several attempts to tamper with our website, traced back to Morocco, and a threat of kidnapping Ms. Kennedy (not substantiated). Global advocacy efforts: Through the RFK Center’s persistent advocacy work, the U.S. State Department has called on the Dominican Republic government to end these discriminatory policies. The U.S. State Department has consulted with the RFK Center, created a federal working group, and empowered the UNHRC to open a field office in the country. Organizing: Since 2007, the RFK Center has led a coalition of U.S.-based human rights groups working on nationality and migration rights issues in the Dominican Republic and arranged several congressional briefings, monitoring trips, and conferences. Most recently, the October 2011 Dominican Republic advocacy week enabled the U.S. government to demonstrate its public support to the cause and encourage the Dominican government to open a productive dialogue with the RFK Center’s coalition. Cases of Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú: The RFK Center works to pressure the Mexico government to transfer cases of military abuse of citizens into civilian court. In 2011, two cases such cases were successfully transferred to the civilian Attorney General’s office. In both of these cases women were raped and tortured by soldiers; the cases had languished in military jurisdiction for almost a decade. RFK Center secured a precedent-setting decision by Mexico’s supreme court giving victims of military violence the right to try their cases in civilian court. Press coverage: The RFK Center uses its resources to bring substantial press coverage to Tlachinollan’s emblematic cases and arrange regular delegations to the area led by Kerry Kennedy. Protection: The RFK Center pressures the state government to ensure basic protections for Tlachinollan’s work. We helped restore an office that had been closed since 2009 following to the murders of two indigenous defenders and attracted representatives from numerous embassies and NGOs to the opening. We organized the state government to provide police protection for the office during business hours. Release from arrest: The RFK Center intervened when Mixtec human rights defender Maximino Garcia Catarino was arbitrarily imprisoned and subjected to false charges in 2012. In response to our campaign, Maximino was granted unconditional release by a Guerrero tribunal after two months of detention.
Programs: The RFK Center has a successful history of collaborations with NGOs, universities, legal clinics, and the media on behalf of oppressed communities. It has six programs, whose goals are: o To create genuine partnerships with courageous human right activists around the world and help them achieve their goals over a six-year period (Partners for Human Rights) o To create change by introducing students an innovative curriculum, based on courageous human rights defenders, now used by over 500,000 students worldwide (Speak Truth To Power) o To work with fiduciaries and investors to factor human rights, environmental degradation, and governance (like corruption) concerns into their calculation of risk (Compass) o To support investigative journalists and authors who bring light to injustice (RFK Book and Journalism Awards) o To develop a presence in Europe for advocacy, STTP, and human rights training (RFK Europe) o To help develop effective policy for adjudicated youth transitioning to freedom (Juvenile Justice Program)
2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 13-2522784
202-463-7575
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I had the privilege of serving as the Director of the Center for Human Rights for several years. The RFK Center is carrying out the impossible task of carrying on Robert Kennedy's unfinished work. His spirit of walking with those in the midst of struggle drives the human rights work. They do not work on the easy or most popular issues and they understand that change does not happen in a year or two, but requires a resource and time-intensive commitment over several years. The partnerships are genuine- combining the expertise and power of the activists with the RFK Center's access, resources and knowledge. Together, the RFK Center and its partners transform human rights situations, empower communities, and often save lives. Individual communities from Haiti to Chad have benefited from this work and the global human rights movement has been enriched by the RFK Center's example.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a lawyer and human right advocate from Chad. I win RFK human right award in 2004 and it has chaged my life. the award has raised my profile in Chad and internationnaly. For six years I received RFK technical support that allowed me to establish the first Public Interest Law center in Chad to helppoor people have access to justice. RFK Center has also helped me meet organize advocacy for the best use of oil money and for peace in Chad. Even when my time is I continue to get support from the RFK center and that makes my life and my work a lot easier.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

In 2011, I received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Human Rights. For a year now, I have been working with the RFK center on advancing LGBT rights in Uganda. Within this period together with the center, I have been able to reach religious groups , members of congress, artists & human rights groups in the United States to support my struggle in Uganda. Most importantly when, RFK center visited Uganda I was able to start a dialogue with Ugandan members of parliament political leaders & key members of civil society, some have come out to support my struggle. This has also opened doors for the LGBT struggle in Uganda and my organization Sexual Minorities Uganda - SMUG in creating a dialogue with Ugandan politicians and getting support from more NGOs in Uganda. This kind of work is greatly helping me and my colleagues in Uganda to fight the anti homosexuality bill that was introduced in the Ugandan parliament this bill would criminalize homosexuality to life in prison and death in some instances if passed into law.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been working on human rights for more than 35 years, most recently as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. At the end of 2011 I was asked to do an in-depth evaluation of the RFK Center's human rights program. What I found was a unique, powerful and highly efffective model of working in genuine partnership with individuals and organizations that are on the front lines of some of the most challenging human rights situations in the world. The RFK Center establishes a long term relationship with these couragenous human rights defenders by listening carefully to their needs and developing a mutally agreed on action plan to help them in winning concrete victories for advancing human rights in their countreis and regions. The RFK Center, based on years of experience and a rich set of contacts and skills is able to offer each of their partners traning opporuniteis, the capacity to bring their demands to the attention of the U.S. government and congress, media attention that offers then both protection and a tool for advancing their objectives, and the mobilization of peoole around the world on their behalf. Through these partnerships the RFK Center has helped to free and protect human rights defenders, bring the violatiors of human rights to justice, establish policies that fufill the rights and improve the lives of thousands of people, and strengthen organizatations and movements that will continue to advance human rights long after the RFK Center has moved on to other partnerships, creating the ripples of hope of which Bobby Kennedy spoke and for which he lived. I have seen first hand the power given to those struggling for their rights in knowing that they are united with a global organization that is using all its resources to help them win their fight for freedom and dignity. I can honestly say that in all my years I have not seen any orgnaization better at working with and contributing to groups on the front lines of the human rights battle. This expereince of working in depth with people who are giving their all for human rights informs every part of the RFK Center including their important efforts to educate the public and inspire young people to follow the example of human rights defenders around the world by becoming involved in their own communities. In this way the RFK Center's work is not only life changing for those who suffer directly from the violations of human rights but all who are in a postion to defend those rights. I can not rate thier work highly enough.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I enthusiastically recommend the RFK Center for the 2012 Top-Rated Nonprofits List. The RFK Center is a well-established organization with a more than 40 year history of supporting the work of individuals who speak out against injustice, often at great personal risk, to make the world more fair, just and peaceful. Whether honoring authors and journalists in the U.S. for documenting and reporting injustice or partnering with human rights advocates from around the world, the RFK Center first brings attention to the issues and then partners with advocates and organizations to help end problems such as discrimination, unfair labor practices and child labor, violence against women, lack of access to health care and many other societal problems. Robert Kennedy believed that together individuals could make a difference in the world and that we all must try. The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights is an organization dedicated to this vision and has had great success over the years improving the lives of people in all corners of the world.

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

My name is Vera Stremkovskaya, I am human right defender from Belarus, who lives now in Sweden. I am one of the human rights defenders fI took part in many events of the STTP, as well as presentation of the book in USA and Qatar, exhibitions of the portraits and educational program of the RKF in Europe, Italy that year, as a speaker. I think the activity of the RKF is very important, and mostly in a field of the promotion and defending human rights in the world. After the information about human right defenders and there praktikal experiences was collected and summarized in the book, very important to share that information now with everybody who working ore study in a field of human rights. There for I was make the exibition from the book and infromation about RFK and STTP on the day of the human right in Göteborg that year, on September 8, 2012, and I will continue to share that information throught the exibition about STTP and RKF in the Hissingen Lbrary in Göteborg from the november 13, 2012. I am very much appreciate the RKF office in Washington, and RKF office in Europe for there help with the organisations of that programs and exibition, with the matherials they had sent to me and all information I was provided by them. I am very much happy to participate in a STTP and RKF programs in Sweden, as well as presentation of the book which will be in October 26 in Stockholm and the Bingolotto event for human rights and STTP in May 2012., in Stockholm. I think it is very important activity. And I am glad i can take part in that activity now. I enclose a few photos from our exibition in Göteborg, on October 8, 2012, with the collegues from the Cultural department of the lundby city Göteborg, and more photos from the educational program on May 2012 in Italy, RKF in Europa, and STTP and Bingolotto event in Stockholm on May 2012.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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