Human Rights

The principles of human rights address the global struggles for equity, liberty, and justice. Pursuing their application is often a harrowing, even, daring feat on the part of human rights defenders. Dedicated to tackling the root causes for injustice, many of these individuals have witnessed violations first hand. Ashoka supports their innovative ideas for securing human rights for all peoples around the globe.

Ashoka Fellows are pursuing initiatives that secure both civil and political rights—freedom of expression, due process, political representation—and economic, social, and cultural rights—health, food, housing, employment.

Comprehensive Intervention for Human Rights

US Fellow Derek Ellerman is building a citizen movement to put an end to human trafficking in the United States and around the world. Through Polaris Project, Derek cracks the private networks to reach the victims, builds public awareness and promotes laws that go after the traffickers and their assets. More

Taking Communal Responsibilty for Communal Problems

Charles Maisel is changing attitudes and behavior about domestic violence in South Africa by building a movement among men who oppose it. Charles’ project identifies “everyday heroes” who act as role models and enlists them to measure the scale of the problem and to take responsibility for combating violence in their communities. At the same time, Charles encourages women to identify the positive men in their homes and communities and to participate in savings programs that help them become less financially dependent on men. More

Creating Fair and Open Justice Systems

Global Fellow Karen Tse is building international coalitions to support public defenders in emerging democracies like China. Karen sees that citizens worldwide can and should have a role in supporting legal aid bureaus and criminal defenders, but the human rights field has not provided many constructive ways to do so. So Karen is forming international “Communities of Conscience,” which do everything from raising money to equip legal-aid offices to providing expert assistance and close collaboration on procedural reform. More