Human Rights USA to Close at End of Month

Another sad story from within our public interest sphere.

From Human Rights USA‘s Board of Directors:

Human Rights USA’s Board of Directors is sad to announce that the organization will be closing down on April 30, 2012, and our clients placed with other organizations and law firms who will continue their representation.  The Board’s decision comes primarily as a result of the difficult funding landscape facing public interest organizations at this time.  We would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Human Rights USA’s staff, clients, current and past funders, the countless pro bono attorneys and law student volunteers who have worked with us, and all of the organizations that have partnered with us over the years.

Human Rights USA was founded in 1996 as the World Organization Against Torture USA.  Under its founding director, Morton Sklar, the organization began by reporting to the United Nations on U.S. compliance with human rights treaties and litigating cutting-edge asylum cases on behalf of women fleeing female genital mutilation.  Our asylum work gradually expanded to cover other forms of gender-based violence, including human trafficking and forced marriage, forms of harm that at one time were not considered to establish eligibility for refugee protection.  Human Rights USA has also litigated ground breaking federal court cases, winning the first direct legal challenge to the policy of rendition to torture, and helping many survivors of torture, human trafficking, and other human rights abuses hold the perpetrators accountable and recover compensation for their suffering.

Throughout all of this, Human Rights USA continued to produce reports on critical human rights issues, and in recent years began training other attorneys to utilize human rights principles in their own litigation.  Our 2011 *Guide to Establishing the Asylum Eligibility of Survivors of Human Trafficking and Forced Marriage* will continue to be available through the Tahirih Justice Center (<www.tahirih.org>), an organization that has also performed ground breaking work on gender-based asylum issues for over a decade.  Our 2012 report *Indefensible:  A Reference for Prosecuting Torture and Other Felonies Committed by US Officials Following September 11th*, produced in collaboration with the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University Washington College of Law, will be available through the Washington College of Law ( <http://www.wcl.american.edu/clinical/inter.cfm>).

Countless law students, staff members and pro bono attorneys have been mentored and trained in human rights law through Human Rights USA over the years, and we take great pride in the small role we have played in the development and education of part of the next generation of human rights attorneys.

Thanks to everyone for their support.

Sincerely,

Human Rights USA Board of Directors

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