Human Rights without Frontiers HRWF

In 1989, a number of human rights defenders founded an NGO called Bruxelles-Droits de l’Homme/ Brussels- Human Rights/ Brüssel Menschenrechte”, later re-named to Droits de l’homme sans frontières. The organization has gradually expanded into Human Rights Without Frontiers International (2001) to embrace its branch offices in Belgium, China, USA, and Nepal as well as its associate members in Armenia (Pro-Democracy Association), Bulgaria (Tolerance Foundation), Georgia (Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre), Iraq (Assyrian Aid Society), and Japan (Life Funds for North Korean Refugees), Russia, and South Korea. Since 1997, the Belgian branch of HRWF Int. has been an associate member of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights … (about 1/2).

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About 2/2: … From its inception, the main focus of our activities has been monitoring, research, and analysis in the field of human rights as well as promotion of democracy and the rule of law on national and international level. 

In these endeavours, we have been guided by the understanding that it is not sufficient for international norms and standards in the field of human rights to be approved and adopted by governments. States enjoy different levels of approximation to democratic development and the rule of law and human rights norms do not always have a “taken-for-granted” quality. In many cases, they still need to undergo a long, and sometimes painful, process of socialization in order to become integrated into state policies. The success of this process would be predicated, among other things, on the strength of non-governmental human rights networks to instigate changes towards human rights promotion.

We also work on the assumption that ideas, and not only state interests and positions, matter in international relations. In this respect, international human rights instruments can be seen as representing the ultimate expression of collective ideas of social justice. As such, we consider their implementation to be of utmost importance as an overarching framework for the ideas of liberty, democracy, the rule of law.

Within this context, HRWF Int. has adopted an approach to human rights promotion, which is wider in scope than lobbying on a specific human right. Our emphasis is on human rights advocacy, which we understand as a process, through which we bring new ideas, norms and discourses into policy debates and promote norm implementation by pressuring target actors to adopt new policies and by monitoring compliance with international standards … (full long text).

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