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Human Rights and Justice

Maria Mercedes Gomez, 65, is a leader in her community in Honduras. They are resisting the construction of a hydro-electric dam without their consent.

Across the world, human rights are under attack. People are being oppressed, discriminated, silenced and even killed. Democracy is under threat. People are often excluded from decisions that affect them.

Thanks to your support, Trócaire’s Human Rights and Justice programme works to challenge these injustices. We empower women and men to challenge unjust power structures. To claim their rights. To stand together and fight for justice and equality.

Why Human Rights & Justice?

Every woman, man and child is born equal. We are all born with the right to a dignified life, free from injustice.

Poverty is more than the absence of material goods. Poverty can be the absence of opportunity, a lack of power, a lack of voice and a lack of control over one’s life.

Trócaire works with people whose human rights are denied. They live in fear of those in power.

In many countries, human rights standards are worsening. Governments restrict local organisations. They target human rights defenders. They intimidate, harass, imprison and even murder.

More than 300 human rights defenders were killed in 2019 alone. 40% of those killed worked on land, indigenous peoples and environmental issues.

Inequality is growing wider, and many countries have weak governance. Power has shifted away from democratic governments and institutions. Often transnational entities, such as large corporations, have greater power than states. This affects state accountability and citizen participation.

In many countries, human rights standards are worsening. Governments restrict local organisations. They target human rights defenders. They intimidate, harass, imprison and even murder.

More than 300 human rights defenders were killed in 2019 alone. 40% of those killed worked on land, indigenous peoples and environmental issues.

Inequality is growing wider, and many countries have weak governance. Power has shifted away from democratic governments and institutions. Often transnational entities, such as large corporations, have greater power than states. This affects state accountability and citizen participation.

How do we strengthen human rights?

Human rights are at the heart of what Trócaire does and who we are.

At the heart of poverty and injustice is an imbalance of power. Trócaire challenges this power imbalance.

Our approach involves supporting local organisations to engage those in power. To address structural issues that drive inequality, undermine rights and accountability. We advocate for more democratic and transparent governance.

We also challenge increasing restrictions on our local partner organisation to operate. It is critical for civil society to be able to challenge and hold governments to account.

Trócaire takes actions that contribute towards the strengthening of human rights:

  • We seek justice for survivors of human rights violations
  • We support legal action for communities and human rights defenders under threat
  • We provide physical accompaniment and protection for human rights defenders at risk
  • We prevent home demolitions
  • We document human rights violations and challenge those responsible
  • We provide psychological support to survivors of human rights abuses
  • We empower marginalised people, especially women, to engage leaders and to demand accountability
  • We continue to support people who risk their lives to speak up for justice.

What impact are we having?

Our human rights programme operates in six countries: Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Palestine, Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Last year our human rights programmes supported 78,000 people


Legal support for human rights defenders

Stopping home demolitions

Documenting human rights violations

Psychosocial support for victems

Human rights defenders

Over 2,500 human rights defenders in Honduras trained to protect their rights and security.

Psycho-social support

3,484 Palestinian women and men received legal representation or psycho-social support

Protecting rights

Legal defence for human rights defender Abelino Chub Caal who was released from prison after being held for two years without trial.

Legal support

212 legal cases taken in support of human rights.

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