Champions for Freedom

Freedom House works to defend human rights and promote democratic change, with a focus on political rights and civil liberties. We act as a catalyst for freedom through a combination of analysis, advocacy, and action.

Our Issues

Even in countries as repressive as China, citizens brave grave threats to defend their rights and demand basic human freedoms. Photograph by Jonah M. Kessel.

Human Rights

Civil and political rights have suffered a decade-long decline globally, and violations of human rights remain all too common, particularly in authoritarian countries.

Freedom House supports frontline activists in their efforts to defend fundamental rights, including to document abuses, advocate for justice, end impunity, and fortify the self-protection of human rights defenders. We also provide emergency assistance to human rights defenders who come under threat and work with activists to broaden public support for upholding human rights.

Freedom House created purple bracelets to raise awareness for imprisoned civil society activists around the world. Azerbaijani pro-democracy activist Leyla Yunus is currently serving a seven-year sentence for false charges.

Civil Society

Civil society is increasingly coming under assault around the world, as authoritarian governments grow more bold and sophisticated in suppressing independent groups that monitor elections, expose corruption, or otherwise give citizens a voice in how they are governed. A growing number of governments are stifling the work of pro-democracy activists, restricting space for peaceful protests, and hampering the ability of civil society groups to interact with their counterparts internationally. Freedom House supports the initiatives of local groups to counteract restrictions and protect space for civil society. We also lead the Lifeline consortium of seven international organizations that provides emergency assistance to civil society organizations under threat or attack and advocacy support to respond to broader threats to civil society.

Drawn by the renown cartoonist Kal, the above illustration was created for the Freedom of the Press 2015 report.

Freedom of Expression

Freedom of expression is in retreat around the world. Only one in seven people live in countries with a free media environment. Freedom House assesses the challenges for media and online freedom in its annual Freedom of the Press and Freedom on the Net reports. We support local efforts to defend freedom of expression and to promote the emergence of alternative media in countries where traditional media is restricted. And we assist embattled journalists, including those who investigate corruption and abuses of power.

A user films an antigovernment protest outside the ruling party’s headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand on November 29, 2013. Photo: Shutterstock.

Internet Freedom

Restrictions on internet freedom are growing more extensive and sophisticated. Repressive governments employ a range of increasingly intrusive tactics to stifle online activism, such as introducing laws that criminalize online dissent, tightening regulations on independent news websites, making internet service providers liable for the content they host, and requiring cybercafés to monitor users.

Freedom House counteracts the rising tide of government control over the internet. We produce the preeminent analysis of global online freedom, the annual Freedom on the Net report, empower local experts in dozens of countries to speak up for the rights of internet users, and assist activists in recovering from digital attacks.

Riot police in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014. Photo by Sasha Maksymenko.

Rule of Law

Rule of law is a foundation of democracy and fundamental to the protection of human rights. Freedom House research, including Freedom in the World, has documented the global decline in rule of law, as authoritarian leaders ignore the most basic elements of due process, misuse the justice system to persecute their critics, and perpetuate impunity for corruption and abuses of power. Freedom House supports local efforts to strengthen the rule of law, including to end torture, hold human rights abusers to account, and promote judicial reforms.

Taken in the run up to Ethiopia's national elections, a mother and child notice election posters at a feeding center near Narar. Photograph by Andrew Heavens.

Elections

Elections are integral to democracy, allowing people to choose their leaders and giving the government legitimacy, but are manipulated in many countries or so dominated by incumbents as to discourage citizens from voting. Freedom House works with local groups to promote voter participation, particularly by youth, and to monitor elections.

Individuals of all religions and creeds should have the right to worship freely without fear of intimidation or violence. The Hazrat Sultan Mosque in Astana, Kazakhstan. Photo by Ninara.

Religious Freedom

Religious minorities are often targeted for expressing their beliefs (or non-beliefs). Freedom House provides emergency assistance to religious freedom defenders, civil society organizations, and survivors of religious persecution in dozens of countries. This assistance has benefitted individuals from more than a dozen different faiths. It covers medical treatment, legal representation, prison visits, trial monitoring, dependent support, and temporary relocation. We also support local initiatives to promote tolerance and proactively address hostility toward religious minority groups and ongoing tensions between different faith communities.

Pro-LGBTI rights activists decorate a bridge in Berlin, Germany with creative yarnbombing. Photo by distelfliege.

LGBTI Rights

Around the world LGBTI persons face discrimination, persecution, violence, and egregious human rights violations simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Consensual same-sex conduct is still criminalized in 76 countries with severe penalties; in five countries it carries the death penalty.

Freedom House leads the Dignity for All consortium of eight prominent human rights and LGBTI organizations that supports some of the most at-risk LGBTI activists and groups around the world. The consortium funds medical expenses, legal assistance, dependent support, equipment replacement, and relocation when LGBTI activists come under threat or attack. Dignity for All also trains activists to reduce the risks to their communities, supports advocacy to counter imminent threats, and responds to opportunities to advance the rights of LGBTI people.

Our Mission

Human Rights

Even in countries as repressive as China, citizens brave grave threats to defend their rights and demand basic human freedoms. Photograph by Jonah M. Kessel.

Human Rights

Civil and political rights have suffered a decade-long decline globally, and violations of human rights remain all too common, particularly in authoritarian countries.

Freedom House supports frontline activists in their efforts to defend fundamental rights, including to document abuses, advocate for justice, end impunity, and fortify the self-protection of human rights defenders. We also provide emergency assistance to human rights defenders who come under threat and work with activists to broaden public support for upholding human rights.

Civil Society

Freedom House created purple bracelets to raise awareness for imprisoned civil society activists around the world. Azerbaijani pro-democracy activist Leyla Yunus is currently serving a seven-year sentence for false charges.

Civil Society

Civil society is increasingly coming under assault around the world, as authoritarian governments grow more bold and sophisticated in suppressing independent groups that monitor elections, expose corruption, or otherwise give citizens a voice in how they are governed. A growing number of governments are stifling the work of pro-democracy activists, restricting space for peaceful protests, and hampering the ability of civil society groups to interact with their counterparts internationally. Freedom House supports the initiatives of local groups to counteract restrictions and protect space for civil society. We also lead the Lifeline consortium of seven international organizations that provides emergency assistance to civil society organizations under threat or attack and advocacy support to respond to broader threats to civil society.

Freedom of Expression

Drawn by the renown cartoonist Kal, the above illustration was created for the Freedom of the Press 2015 report.

Freedom of Expression

Freedom of expression is in retreat around the world. Only one in seven people live in countries with a free media environment. Freedom House assesses the challenges for media and online freedom in its annual Freedom of the Press and Freedom on the Net reports. We support local efforts to defend freedom of expression and to promote the emergence of alternative media in countries where traditional media is restricted. And we assist embattled journalists, including those who investigate corruption and abuses of power.

Internet Freedom

A user films an antigovernment protest outside the ruling party’s headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand on November 29, 2013. Photo: Shutterstock.

Internet Freedom

Restrictions on internet freedom are growing more extensive and sophisticated. Repressive governments employ a range of increasingly intrusive tactics to stifle online activism, such as introducing laws that criminalize online dissent, tightening regulations on independent news websites, making internet service providers liable for the content they host, and requiring cybercafés to monitor users.

Freedom House counteracts the rising tide of government control over the internet. We produce the preeminent analysis of global online freedom, the annual Freedom on the Net report, empower local experts in dozens of countries to speak up for the rights of internet users, and assist activists in recovering from digital attacks.

Rule of Law

Riot police in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014. Photo by Sasha Maksymenko.

Rule of Law

Rule of law is a foundation of democracy and fundamental to the protection of human rights. Freedom House research, including Freedom in the World, has documented the global decline in rule of law, as authoritarian leaders ignore the most basic elements of due process, misuse the justice system to persecute their critics, and perpetuate impunity for corruption and abuses of power. Freedom House supports local efforts to strengthen the rule of law, including to end torture, hold human rights abusers to account, and promote judicial reforms.

Elections

Taken in the run up to Ethiopia's national elections, a mother and child notice election posters at a feeding center near Narar. Photograph by Andrew Heavens.

Elections

Elections are integral to democracy, allowing people to choose their leaders and giving the government legitimacy, but are manipulated in many countries or so dominated by incumbents as to discourage citizens from voting. Freedom House works with local groups to promote voter participation, particularly by youth, and to monitor elections.

Religious Freedom

Individuals of all religions and creeds should have the right to worship freely without fear of intimidation or violence. The Hazrat Sultan Mosque in Astana, Kazakhstan. Photo by Ninara.

Religious Freedom

Religious minorities are often targeted for expressing their beliefs (or non-beliefs). Freedom House provides emergency assistance to religious freedom defenders, civil society organizations, and survivors of religious persecution in dozens of countries. This assistance has benefitted individuals from more than a dozen different faiths. It covers medical treatment, legal representation, prison visits, trial monitoring, dependent support, and temporary relocation. We also support local initiatives to promote tolerance and proactively address hostility toward religious minority groups and ongoing tensions between different faith communities.

LGBTI Rights

Pro-LGBTI rights activists decorate a bridge in Berlin, Germany with creative yarnbombing. Photo by distelfliege.

LGBTI Rights

Around the world LGBTI persons face discrimination, persecution, violence, and egregious human rights violations simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Consensual same-sex conduct is still criminalized in 76 countries with severe penalties; in five countries it carries the death penalty.

Freedom House leads the Dignity for All consortium of eight prominent human rights and LGBTI organizations that supports some of the most at-risk LGBTI activists and groups around the world. The consortium funds medical expenses, legal assistance, dependent support, equipment replacement, and relocation when LGBTI activists come under threat or attack. Dignity for All also trains activists to reduce the risks to their communities, supports advocacy to counter imminent threats, and responds to opportunities to advance the rights of LGBTI people.

Images of Repression and Freedom: 2015 Photo Auction

Our Offices

Freedom House National Headquarters
1850 M Street NW, Suite 1100
Washington, District of Columbia   20036
UNITED STATES
Phone: 202-296-5101
Fax: 202-293-2840
[email protected]   

New York
120 Wall Street
Floor 26
New York, New York   10005
UNITED STATES
Phone: 212-514-8040
Fax: 212-514-8055    

Freedom House, Jordan
P.O. Box 811949
Amman 11181 Jordan
JORDAN
Phone: 962-6-551-8421
Fax: 962-6-552-1482    

Freedom House, Kyrgyzstan
204 Abdrakhmanov Street, 4th Floor
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720040
KYRGYZSTAN
tel:  +996-312-962-820
Charles Butts, Project Director

Freedom House, Mexico
224 Guanajuato Street
Colonia Roma
Mexico City
MEXICO
Mariclaire Acosta Urquidi, Project Director

Freedom House, Southern Africa
Office 6, 1st Floor, B2 House,
8 Tyrwhitt Avenue, Rosebank, 2196
SOUTH AFRICA
Phone: 27 11 447 7501
Fax: 27 11 447 7507    
Paul Graham, Project Director