What You Did Not Know About Human Rights Groups

A human rights organization or group is usually an NGO, which supports the rights of human beings. This is done by identifying violations, lobbying to halt said violations, making sure the public is aware of such violations, performing institutional advocacy, collecting incident data of violations and publication and analysis of the same. Read more: Michael Lacey | LinkedIn and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase

Funding

Funding for human rights organizations is mainly derived from various sources and well-wishers. A good example in the United States is the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are cofounders of Village Voice Media and Phoenix New Times. They received settlement money from an arrest by Sherriff Joe Arpaio. This money is used to fund migrant rights organizations in the state of Arizona.

Lacey and Larkin received $3.75 million settlement from their arrest on October, 2007. They sued the County Sherriff’s department for unlawful imprisonment and arrest, and they received the settlement. They have dedicated the settlement to assist immigrants, especially of Latino decent, as a result of their experience of human rights violations.

How Human Rights Groups Work

Similar to other non-governmental organizations, human rights organizations are defined by legal restrictions under which they operate including:

  • Having a formal existence with a representative and democratic structure and a statute that normally enjoys legal personality under law
  • Does not promote or use violence or have any clear connections with criminality
  • Has a non-profit aim (this means that any profits the group may get will be used to fund its objective and not distributed to its members)
  • Is an NGO meaning it does not perform public functions, is free from governmental influence and has been established by a private initiative

Michael Lacey defines such a group as an entity that is distinguished from any political components of a given society. Unlike political advocates who seek to protect human rights of a particular constituency, human rights organizations such as the Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund defends similar rights for members in all societies in their region, and sometimes even globally.

Furthermore political groups tend to look for ways to improve their own discrete programs or interests. On the other hand, groups for human rights are not politically biased when dealing with any legitimate participants in areas where any violations of human rights have occurred.

Lacey insists that having such a general independent focus will distinguish partisan and sectarian groups from human rights groups. For example, a trade union has the main goal of protecting the interest of their members and not everyone in the said industry.

Confusion With Humanitarian Groups

Jim Larkin has stated that it is common for humanitarian groups and organizations to be confused with human rights groups and organizations. The latter is also often confused with organizations representing lobbies with a focus on particular lobbies.

According to Larkin, this happens even though the majority looks to distinguish themselves from all political groups, organizations or movements associated in conflicts and encounters that are usually the cause of human rights violations. Usually these rights groups deem themselves experts on information they gather using field researchers and rights observers.

One of the popular internationally renowned group fighting for human rights is Amnesty International. Take note it is currently not a sole human rights group as other organizations. It has expanded the definition of human rights as they get involved with issues that are not really considered to be human rights. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2014/12/16/proceeds-arpaio-suit-fund-asu-journalism-chair/20480479/ and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/relevant-links/

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