About ISHR

About ISHR

The International Service for Human Rights is an independent, non-profit organisation promoting and protecting human rights. Founded in 1984, ISHR has offices in Geneva (Switzerland) and New York (United States), as well as a permanent presence in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire). 

Our mission is to support human rights defenders, strengthen human rights systems, as well as lead and participate in coalitions for human rights change. We believe that no matter who we are or where we come from, no matter the differences between cultures, as human beings, we all share the same humanity. We all wish to live in peace, be respected, be surrounded by our loved ones in a safe and fair environment, and with opportunities to lead our lives in dignity.

We want to make sure that as humanity advances, no one is left behind. To always speak out against injustices like racism, sexism, or the climate crisis and support people working on the frontlines with communities.

We carry out our mission by:

  • strengthening human rights defenders’ capacity,
  • strengthening human rights laws and systems at the national and international level, 
  • promoting accountability for grave violations of human rights by States or non-State actors, 
  • securing implementation of effective human rights mechanisms at the national level,
  • building powerful partnerships for change.

Our reach is global thanks to our network of human rights defenders, the diverse human rights fields we contribute to and our privileged connections with the United Nations and other important stakeholders. 

Read more about ISHR’s mission, activities, impact and vision in our Annual Reports and our Strategic Framework for 2021-2025.

Note: The International Service for Human Rights (acronym: ISHR / website: ishr.ch) is not affiliated with other organisations using the same acronym, whether they are active in the field of human rights or in other unrelated fields.

Learn about the people who make ISHR!

Phil at a board meeting


ISHR is governed by a Board of Directors which is responsible for the overall strategy and governance of the organisation.

ISHR's staff strategy retreat group photo


Meet our staff members, the driving force behind ISHR's impact.

many hands put together in a circle

Interns and Fellows

Meet the talented, passionate people who are gaining experience at ISHR - and who bring a whole fresh look into our activities!

Latest updates

Director's update: The remarkable human rights comeback

In the face of existential threats, human rights and multilateralism are making a remarkable comeback. Advocates and activists around the world are turning to international human rights laws and systems to seek justice, equality and accountability - and they are starting to win.

ISHR December appeal donor board

A big thanks to everyone who is getting behind our fundraising appeal and investing in a better world by supporting human rights defenders!

Explore our resources

Annual Report | Supporting humanity's essential workers

It's difficult to encapsulate such a complex year in a word, but "interconnected" is one that comes to mind when reflecting on 2020. We are proud to have remained deeply interconnected with defenders and to have supported, protected and amplified their work at the national, regional and international levels. With them, the "essential workers" of our times, we strive for a 2021 full of freedom, equality, dignity and justice.

Gratitude, impact and a new strategy

Here are some of the things we are most proud of; impacts that reflect and were made possible thanks to the creativity, solidarity and resilience of our partners, our staff and the human rights defenders we collectively serve.

Annual Report | Supporting defenders, serving humanity

As we embark on a new decade, the world faces tremendous challenges, from climate change to COVID-19. There are plenty of reasons for anxiety and concern. But we see even more reasons for ambition and hope. We take hope from courageous human rights defenders across the world who continue their vital work to make human rights a reality for all of us. We are proud to serve them, with the solidarity and support of people like you.