Our Work

The Human Rights Project (HRP) at the Urban Justice Center (UJC) works to improve the lives of poor New Yorkers, particularly women, people of color and immigrants. UJC is a nonprofit organization founded in 1984 to serve New York City's most vulnerable residents through a combination of direct legal service, systemic advocacy, community education and political organizing.

HRP has been at the forefront of the human rights movement since 1999, promoting domestic compliance with universally accepted human rights standards, championing the rights of marginalized groups in the United States, and holding all levels of government accountable to human rights standards in meeting the needs of the poor. It is one of few organizations building the capacity of social justice groups and creating models for the local implementation of human rights standards and law.

We prioritize building the capacity of low income and women of color activists and organizations because we believe these leaders, who are members of the communities most affected by human rights at home, are uniquely positioned to advance the domestic human rights movement. Our program strategies are to: educate the public and advocates about our government’s role in advancing or restricting human rights; equip movement leaders across issues and sectors with human rights tools, models and networks, and; to inspire growth in the domestic human rights movement via cultural work and thought leadership.

At the local level, we monitor policies to expose rights violations, share human rights information and tools with advocates, and educate elected officials on human rights norms. Nationally, we share information on our local implementation efforts and on human rights mechanisms with groups to inform and grow the broader human rights movement. Our approach is informed by the premise that a critical mass of local and/or state campaigns led by those most directly impacted by social injustice can direct national policy.

As HRP marks our 15th anniversary, we look forward to continuing to grow our institutional legacy of domestic human rights training, base building and advocacy.