Many leading human rights NGOs are based in London. Although they might be working with countries around the world, London is a great base for international organisations to spread awareness and access sources for reporting and sharing information about human rights violations. These NGOs in London deal with issues in the UK as well as campaigning about international issues to a UK audience. Here is a list of 25 leading NGOs in London.
Amnesty International is a global movement of people across over 150 countries campaigning to end abuses against human rights. They are primarily based in London but tackle issues from all over the world. Founded in 1961 by the British Lawyer Peter Benson, who wrote a letter to expose the unlawful arrest of two Portuguese men entitled ‘The Forgotten Prisoners’, Amnesty International now investigates and exposes powerful groups to make sure they respect international law on human rights.
The UNA-UK is a London-based charity devoted to building support for an effective UN, by stimulating action in the country. Founded in 1945, this organisation advocates UK action at the UN as they believe that an effective UN is essential for building a safer, fairer and more sustainable world. They explain how the UN works and what it can achieve as well as connecting people and organisations to the UN’s work and values.
Founded in 2000, the Aegis Trust is a British NGO which campaigns to prevent genocide worldwide. This international organization honours the memories of genocide victims and enables people to meet survivors so that they can learn about their experiences. Through education, they then encourage peace and stability as well as helping survivors to rebuild their lives. They also research methods to prevent genocide and campaign for the protection of those most at risk.
The Redress Trust is a human rights organisation based in London that helps to obtain justice and repartition, in the form of compensation, rehabilitation, official acknowledgement of the wrong and formal apologies. They aim to seek justice for the survivors of torture, combat impunity for governments and individuals who perpetrate torture, and to promote compliance with international standards on human rights.
Save the Children is an international charity which works in over 60 countries around the world, including the UK. They deal with many issues which affect children, including child protection, health, education and children’s rights. Money raised by Save the Children goes to appeals in countries such as Indonesia, Yemen and Syria to help children, both at risk of conflict and natural disasters, to ease suffering and to help them to recover.
With a headquarters in London, Anti-Slavery International works to end slavery throughout the world. Their projects span across Africa, Asia and Europe, including the UK. They work with local organisations to secure the freedom of those affected by slavery and press for effective implementation of laws against slavery. In London, they campaign to end slavery which is still present in Britain. Their campaigns are designed to raise awareness and implement mechanisms protecting the victims as well as highlighting forms of slavery previously unknown to the public.
Originally a French NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres is known in the English-speaking world as Doctors Without Borders and has bases in the USA and UK. They send medical teams to areas where medical attention is needed most in conflict zones and areas facing natural disasters or epidemics. At their London office, they recruit specialist field staff, inspire people to donate, raise awareness of humanitarian crisis and run a specialist medical unit.
The Equal Rights Trust works internationally from their base in London. Their goal is to support equality by combatting discrimination and promoting equality worldwide. This independent organisation works in over 40 countries worldwide, raising awareness of human rights through publishing stories and reporting on abuses.
This NGO calls on Saudi Arabia to commit to ending human rights violations. They advocate human rights by monitoring and documenting violations that occur in Saudi Arabia. Their aim is to fight violations that are carried out by authority figures and they value human rights, dignity and fairness for all. They affirm that rights for all are free of distinctions between race, sex, gender, colour, religion and language. Currently, they have two teams internationally, one in Saudi Arabia and one in London. The team in London writes reports and news updates based on the information provided by the team in Saudi Arabia. They conduct research and write reposts, based on this information, which they then use to communicate with other NGOs and supporters.
Oxfam works internationally but also has a UK base in London from which they tackle issues to do with refugees and create appeals that will help the most impoverished globally. Oxfam’s priority is to save lives in the face of disasters by making sure that people have clean water and sanitation. They provide people with the essentials that they need to survive and help to keep the most vulnerable safe from harm. They also aid with recovery after disasters by raising awareness and creating campaigns which raise funds.
Human Rights Watch is a leading international organisation which is dedicated to defending and promoting human rights around the world. Their researchers work to uncover human rights violations by speaking to eye-witnesses and authorities. They believe that exposing these abuses gives voice to the victims and generates intense international pressure on governments to take action. They also pursue perpetrators of abuses until they are brought to justice. Their London team is comprised of 34 active, long term supporters of Human Rights who live in London. They form part of an international network of Committees and Ambassadors who advance the efforts of Human Rights by organising conferences, briefings and other events to raise awareness.
CARE International was founded in 1945 and aims to help people to recover from war and fight poverty in the poorest countries. They work across 79 developing countries to save lives in emergency situations and find long-term solutions to poverty for millions of people. They also focus on empowering women and girls to fulfil their potential.
ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty. They are dedicated to ending violence against women and changing their lives for the good. Focusing on the rights of women and girls, they campaign for women’s rights as they believe that in order for a community to prosper, they need to take into consideration the rights of half their population. In order to achieve this, they work to significantly reduce the risk of violence to women and girls, fight for women’s equality rights to economic opportunities and prioritise women and girls’ rights and leadership in humanitarian crises.
WaterAid is a non-profit organisation that works in 28 countries to provide clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. They are supported by offices in London as well as in the US, Australia, Sweden, Canada, Japan and India. They advocate that clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene are a basic human right and should be a part of daily life for everyone. Working in some of the toughest places in the world, they have reached millions of people with these three essentials.
This all-party law reform and human rights organisation works to strengthen the justice system in the UK. The organisation is made up of mainly lawyers, legal executives and law students as well as interested non-lawyers. They seek to influence decision making across the political spectrum through informed debate. Their aim is to provide fair, accessible and efficient legal processes which reflect the UK’s international reputation for upholding and promoting the rule of law.
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is an independent, global think tank which aims to create a sustainable and peaceful world for everyone. Through research and partnerships, they harness evidence and ideas to confront challenges and develop sustainable solutions.
This organisation was founded in 1999 by a British human rights lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, and works to defend human rights by providing free legal and investigative support to vulnerable people. They work with people facing execution as well as victims of torture, extrajudicial imprisonment and extrajudicial killing.
This British human rights organisation focuses specifically on on the defence and promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of information worldwide, taking its name from article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They aim to create a world in which all people everywhere can freely express themselves and actively engage in public life without fear of discrimination.
This International Network supports the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child by advocating the enforcement of children’s rights globally. They aim to create a world where children’s rights are recognised, respected and enforced and where every rights violation has a remedy.
The Refugee Council is one of the leading charities in the UK working directly with refugees and supporting them to rebuild their lives. Founded in 1951 in response to the UN convention for refugees, the council has provided practical and emotional support to refugees from all over the world. It also runs an Advocacy Network to provide a direct link between other organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. Despite receiving some funding from local, central and European Government, the organisation relies mostly on voluntary income, including donations.
Free Tibet is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1987 and based in London. Their mission is to create a Tibet in which all Tibetans are able to determine their own future and the human rights of all are respected. They campaign to end China’s occupation and for international recognition of the Tibetans’ right to freedom. Through sharing information and challenging how China uses its economic weight to silence discussion on Tibet, Free Tibet raises awareness of the issues and lobbies political leaders to do more for Tibet.
Freedom from Torture helps torture survivors rebuild their lives, working from five national bases in London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle. This British registered charity provides therapeutic care for survivors of torture who seek protection in the UK. Their headquarters in London are purpose-built treatment centres with staff and volunteers dedicated to providing support and treatment for torture survivors.
This London-based charity works to end human trafficking for labour exploitation. In order to achieve this, they aim to prevent labour abuses, protect the rights of trafficked persons and promote best practice responses to human trafficking for labour exploitation by undertaking research, advocacy and raising awareness.
The Traveller Movement is a national charity committed to the fulfilment of human rights for ethnic minority Gypsy Roma and Traveller people and is based in London. They tackle local issues and shape national policies through proactive community advocacy, capacity building, stimulating debate and promoting forward-looking strategies to advance equality. Their work comprises of researching and gathering evidence, campaigning for human rights, equality and justice and community development including harnessing community skills to strengthen community voice, participation and self-advocacy.
Founded in 1969, by a group of people appalled by the genocide of Amazon Indians, Survival International is a global movement for the rights of tribal people. The organization helps to defend the rights of tribal people around the world and protect their lands. Their mission is to prevent the annihilation of tribal peoples and to give them a platform to speak to the world. This raises awareness of the genocidal violence, slavery and racism that these people face on a daily basis. Survival International aims to lobby the powerful to help defend the lives, land and futures of people who should have the same rights as everyone else. This organisation has published information about tribal peoples’ problems, supported projects in their communities, and lobbied for their rights in international forums like the UN.
Would you like to explore more NGOs in London and around the world? Have a look at our growing human rights organizations directory.