Human Rights Organizations around the Bay Area

This list is provided solely for informational purposes. It is by no means exhaustive. Inclusion does not imply endorsement by the Program on Human Rights at CDDRL.


ACCESS/Women's Health Rights Coalition

(Oakland) ACCESS is dedicated to making reproductive health and choice a reality for all women. They use a combination of direct services, community education and policy advocacy to promote real reproductive options and access to quality health care for low-income and uninsured women, young women, women of color, immigrants, and women in rural or isolated areas. No other California organization provides the same range of support for women who are considering or seeking an abortion. ACCESS is the only active project of the Women's Health Rights Coalition. WHRC was founded in 1974 as the Coalition for the Medical Rights of Women, whose projects included landmark work on DES exposure, IUD regulation, sterilization abuse and abortion rights.


(San Francisco) Accountability Counsel defends the environmental and human rights of communities around the world who are harmed by internationally financed development projects. Since 2009, Accountability Counsel works in non-judicial accountability mechanisms established to receive community complaints paying particular attention to women, girls and other marginalized groups who are often the most deeply harmed by abuses.

ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project

(San Francisco) The Immigrants' Rights Project is a national project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation with offices in New York and California. Using targeted impact litigation, advocacy and public outreach, the Project carries on the ACLU's historic commitment to protecting the civil rights and civil liberties of immigrants. In federal district and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court, the Project conducts the nation's largest impact litigation program dedicated to defending and expanding the rights of immigrants, enforcing the guarantees of the Constitution, and achieving equal justice under the law.
The Project has focused on challenging laws that deny immigrants access to the judicial system, impose indefinite and mandatory detention, and constitute discrimination on the basis of "alienage" by governmental and private entities. In addition, the Project has been challenging post-9/11 practices, including litigation against Secretary Rumsfeld and military commanders for torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, FOIA litigation to disclose government documents about such torture, suits challenging selective enforcement and other forms of discrimination, and the use of "enemy combatant" and "material witness" designations to impose detention without trial. 

Amazon Watch

(San Francisco) Amazon Watch works with indigenous and environmental organizations in the Amazon Basin to defend the environment and advance indigenous peoples' rights in the face of large-scale industrial development projects such as oil & gas pipelines.

American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California

(San Francisco) The ACLU-NC's Legal Department focuses on cases which will generate precedential legal decisions on fundamental rights that will affect many persons besides the individual complainant.

Amnesty International USA Group 30

(San Francisco) An independent world-wide movement working impartially for the release of all prisoners of conscience, for fair and prompt trials for political prisoners, and for an end to torture and executions. Two offices in San Francisco. 

Asylum Access

(San Francisco) Asylum Access makes refugee rights a reality in the global south by providing on-the-ground legal counsel and representation to refugees in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and by advocating for the rights of refugees worldwide.

Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARC)

(Berkeley) An organization of attorneys and their supporters advocating for the legal rights of children, specifically for genital integrity and a halt to all forms of male and female circumcision.

Bay Area Friends of Tibet (BAFoT)

(Berkeley) Educates the public about Tibet and the Tibetan people; organizes grassroots projects and events; and cooperates with other Tibet support groups locally and internationally. Recognizing the value of the Tibetan way of life to the world, BAFoT actively promotes Tibetan culture and advocates protection of human rights and the environment in Tibet.


(Palo Alto) Benetech's Human Rights program takes tens of thousands of stories — most of them anecdotal evidence of individual and community suffering — and systematically turns them into analysis that strengthens the arguments made by human rights defenders.

Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)

(San Francisco) Since 1992, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) has helped companies of all sizes and sectors to achieve success in ways that demonstrate respect for ethical values, people, communities and the environment. A leading global resource for the business community and thought leaders around the world, BSR equips its member companies with the expertise to design and implement successful, socially responsible business policies, practices and processes. As a non-profit business association, BSR is uniquely positioned to promote cross-sector collaboration in ways that contribute to the advancement of corporate social responsibility and business success.

California Association of Human Relations Organizations (CAHRO)

(San Francisco) Dedicated to protecting basic human and civil rights by reducing community tension and building intergroup relations.

California Prison Focus (CPF)

(Oakland) Investigates conditions in California's Security Housing Units (SHUs) and works with prisoners with HIV and HEP C to expose human rights abuses in California's prisons. CPF uses the information gathered from California's prisoners and their family members to call for an end to human rights abuses and the use of solitary confinement, for improvement of medical, HIV and HEP C care, and an end to the prison system as we know it.

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

(San Francisco) A non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR uses litigation proactively to advance the law in a positive direction, to empower poor communities and communities of color, to guarantee the rights of those with the fewest protections and least access to legal resources, to train the next generation of constitutional and human rights attorneys, and to strengthen the broader movement for constitutional and human rights.

Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA)

(San Francisco) The Center for Justice and Accountability is an international human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world and advancing the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress. CJA uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights law, and advance the rule of law in countries transitioning from periods of abuse.

Center for Survivors of Torture (CST)

(San Jose) Survivors of torture are severely traumatized and in exile as well, and suffer from a variety of psychological and physical symptoms and social service needs, sometimes well after they arrive in the U.S. Torture has the effect in addition of isolating the survivor because of lack of trust in others. This program provides the survivor the insight into these effects, and the consistent care to re-establish trust, bring damage under control, and help relieve exile by enabling some mastery of problems in a new country and culture.


(Oakland) CorpWatch counters corporate-led globalization through education and activism. We work to foster democratic control over corporations by building grassroots globalization--a diverse movement for human rights, labor rights and environmental justice.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Association of Santa Clara Valley

(San Jose) Endeavors to perpetuate and advance the non-violence philosophy and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the elimination of prejudice, discrimination, racism, poverty, and violence from social order.


(Santa Rosa) FORGE is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that partners with refugees in Sub-Saharan African refugee camps to implement of educational, empowering, and life-enriching projects such as libraries, computer centers, women's empowerment initiatives, and entrepreneurial skills/micro-finance. By partnering with refugees, FORGE empowers the refugee community to critically approach development and ensures that projects are locally-tailored, culturally-sensitive, sustainable, and transferable across borders when refugees repatriate. 

Global Exchange

(San Francisco) Human rights organization devoted to building people-to-people ties between first and third world nations and promoting sustainable development. Organization dedicated to promoting environmental, political, and social justice around the world. They have been striving to increase global awareness among the US public
while building international partnerships around the world.

Human Rights Center

(Berkeley) Engages faculty, students and activists in interdisciplinary research and advocacy to protect and promote international human rights and humanitarian law. Activities include: support for graduate research on human rights and humanitarian law; formation of research groups to study the health, social, and cultural consequences of gross violations of human rights and the rules of war; summer fellowships for students; participation in investigations of violations of human rights; and courses on human rights, health, and humanitarian law.

Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM)

(Santa Clara) Worldwide campaigning movement offering yearly reports and articles on human rights and racial discrimination.

Human Rights Watch, California Committee North

(San Francisco ) Stands with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice. Investigates and exposes human rights violations and holds abusers accountable. Challenges governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. Enlists the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.

International Action Center San Francisco

(San Francisco) Organizes demonstrations, forums, sit-ins, and teach-ins against U.S. military intervention, racism, housing, health care, immigrant rights, and education.

Justice Matters Institute

(San Francisco ) Justice Matters Institute (JMI) is a multi-racial social justice organization based in San Francisco. JMI conducts resesearch and policy advocacy to further racial justice in education.  The core of this work involves developing and communicating ideas that can move us toward the kind of education we want for our children. This effort is based on a strong connection and communication with community organizing groups of youth and parents of color and progressive educators.

Middle East Children's Alliance

(Berkeley) The Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) is a nonprofit humanitarian aid organization founded in 1988 and based in Berkeley, California. We carry out our work on behalf of children through: 

  • Direct aid including food, medicine, medical supplies, and clothes as well as books, toys and school supplies. Since 1988, we have sent or delivered more than $9 million in aid to children in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq 
  • Financial support and professional assistance to community organizations in the West Bank and Gaza that help meet children's needs, including clinics, kindergartens, counseling centers, libraries; accessible parks and playgrounds; sports teams, and dance, music and art programs 
  • Educational and cultural programs in the US to increase understanding about the lives of children in the Middle East and the impact of US foreign policy on people in the region 
  • University scholarships for Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank and the US

National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)

(San Francisco) A national, lesbian-feminist, non-profit law firm with headquarters in San Francisco. Winning legal protections for LGBT families in all their diverse forms is, and has always been, NCLR's top priority. We achieve this through impact litigation, public policy advocacy, public education, direct legal services, and collaboration with other social justice organizations and activists. As part of a broader social justice movement, NCLR advances the legal and human rights of lesbians, gay men, and bisexual and transgender individuals across the United States.  

Seva Foundation

(Berkeley) Working in nine countries in addition to the United States, Seva Foundation supports projects in the area of health and wellness, community development, environmental protection and cultural preservation.  Seva currently works to: 

  • Prevent blindness and restore sight in India, Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Tanzania and Guatemala.
  • Help indigenous communities in Guatemala and Mexico develop their capacity to meet basic needs and create solutions to poverty and injustice.
  • Support Native American projects across the U.S. in the areas of health and wellness, community development, environmental protection and cultural preservation.


(San Jose) Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN) is a leading immigrant rights organization in the South Bay dedicated to providing immigrant rights advocacy, community education and naturalization assistance to Santa Clara County's diverse immigrant communities. The mission of SIREN is to empower low-income immigrants and refugees in Santa Clara County through direct services, community education and organizing, leadership development and policy advocacy. We believe that all people regardless of legal status or nationality are entitled to essential services, human dignity, basic rights and protections, and access to full participation in society.

Survivors International

(San Francisco) Survivors International is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing psychological, medical, and social services to survivors of torture living in the Bay Area. SI works with immigrants and refugees from around the world to empower individuals to re-establish healthy and productive lives after their experiences of torture and persecution. SI is a multidisciplinary network of professionals and volunteers, representing the medical, psychological, social work, public health, human rights, and legal fields. SI provides comprehensive care by offering necessary services to survivors of torture at low or no cost. SI also links this work with broader advocacy to affirm the rights of torture survivors and asylum-seekers.

The Ella Baker Center For Human Rights

(Oakland) Its mission is to document, expose, and challenge human rights abuses in the U.S. criminal justice system and to advocate "people's power."
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights promotes bold alternatives to incarceration and violence in our cities. A non-profit strategy and action center based in Oakland, CA, we work for justice, opportunity and peace in urban America through four innovative campaigns:

  • Books Not Bars: A statewide, grassroots campaign seeking to reform California's costly and abusive youth prison system, especially regarding young people of color
  • Reclaim the Future: Building a green economy strong enough to bring ecologically sound and economically just solutions to problems plaguing urban America
  • Bay Area PoliceWatch: providing counsel, support and legal services for victims of police abuse and their families
  • Silence the Violence: Young people organizing for peace on the streets of Oakland  

Workgroup for People's Health and Rights (HealthWrights)

(Palo Alto) A non-profit organization committed to advancing the health, basic rights, social equality, and self-determination of disadvantaged persons and groups. We believe that health for all people is only possible in a global society where the guiding principles are sharing, mutual assistance, and respect for cultural and individual differences. Offers a Spanish course in Mexico where students learn Spanish from disabled kids, and help out/experience a rural village.

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