February 20, 2017

US Government Agencies Concerned with Human Rights Listed by AAAS Committee

Juan S. Gallardo, past co-chair of the Committee on the Welfare of Scientists of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, has compiled a list of US Government agencies and Congressional committees that are concerned with human rights abuses. This list includes links to and contact information for these resources. 

United States Government and Congress Resources for the Defense and Promotion of Fundamental Rights

By Juan S. Gallardo

Official Web Site on Human Rights of the U.S. Government

HumanRights.gov is the official United States Government (USG) website for human rights related information. The site’s search function links users directly with news, reports and explanatory information from the State Department, USG agencies and other resources, allowing for easy access to publicly available documents. We provide a one-stop site for researching the USG’s involvement in human rights.

We cannot handle any submissions or reports about human rights abuses. Below is a list of offices which may be able to better direct information concerning human rights abuses and issues.

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

Promoting freedom and democracy and protecting human rights around the world are central to U.S. foreign policy. Annual reports provide a record of the state of and progress on human rights in the world; those reports raise awareness of the progress made, the ground lost, and the work that remains. Contact information for the desk officers can be found here under the heading Countries & Regions.

U.S. Department of State/Human Rights

The protection of fundamental human rights was a foundation stone in the establishment of the United States over 200 years ago. Since then, a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been the promotion of respect for human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United States understands that the existence of human rights helps secure the peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and corruption, strengthen democracies, and prevent humanitarian crises.

USAID: Democracy, Human Rights and Governance

USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies.


U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary: The Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights

Jurisdiction: (1) Constitutional amendments; (2) Enforcement and protection of constitutional rights; (3) Statutory guarantees of civil rights and civil liberties; (4) Separation of powers; (5) Federal-State relations; (6) Interstate compacts; (7) Human rights laws and practices; (8) Enforcement and implementation of human rights laws.

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission: U.S. Congress

The mission of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is to promote, defend and advocate internationally recognized human rights norms in a nonpartisan manner, both within and outside of Congress, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.

US Commission on Civil Rights

Established as an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency, our mission is to inform the development of national civil rights policy and enhance enforcement of federal civil rights laws. We pursue this mission by studying alleged deprivations of voting rights and alleged discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in the administration of justice. We play a vital role in advancing civil rights through objective and comprehensive investigation, research, and analysis on issues of fundamental concern to the federal government and the public.

Congressional-Executive Commission on China

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China was created by Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and the Congress. The Commission consists of nine Senators, nine Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President.