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8 Annual NGO reports in the human rights sector

Human rights professionals can learn a lot from NGO reports published by organizations to talk about their research and work. Because the nature of human rights work is constantly changing and evolving, the most relevant reports are often organizational reviews, produced yearly or every other year to highlight the impact each organization is making, to show statistics, and discuss ongoing challenges that impact all individuals and organizations involved in human rights work. The following are some of the most relevant, informative reports published by NGOs working to advance human rights around the world.

Human Rights Watch World Report

Human Rights Watch’s World Report highlights human rights challenges and progress around the world, outlining various issues relating to over 90 countries around the world. The report also features specific emerging and trending issues affecting global human rights on a large scale. Each miniature country report features the primary human rights issues impacting the culture and society in that country and has a list of key international actors influencing human rights in the nation.

This report is one of the most comprehensive human rights reports in terms of discussing human rights issues impacting over 90 countries. The information is gathered through investigative work of HRW staff, as well as individual human rights activists in each of the countries.

Avocats Sans Frontieres Annual Report

The Avocats Sans Frontieres (ASF) annual report serves as a way for the organization to highlight the challenges they faced throughout the year and the achievements they made in various areas of human rights. The report features stories and activities from a few select countries, showing the progress that ASF has helped make through the work they do. They also include a financial report, breaking down their expenditures and income streams, to increase transparency around their organization and where the money is going.

ASF has a unique perspective on various human rights issues around the globe, offering a legal-focused insight into some of the emerging trends. This report is also important because it is a multilingual report, with sections in French, English, and German–making it more accessible to people around the world. ASF is working in many countries where some of the most grievous human rights abuses are being committed, and their report highlights the progress they are helping to make in those situations.

International Service for Human Rights Annual Report

The annual report for International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) features some of their biggest achievements throughout the year. Their report highlights specific human rights topics and gives examples, anecdotes, and statistics from various countries and programs that ISHR is involved in to showcase the progress they are making in each of those areas. ISHR works closely with the UN to influence their policies and procedures, and they make sure to discuss this work throughout their report. The report also contains financial statements so that donors can see how their money is being used.

ISHR’s report is important because their primary work focuses on supporting human rights defenders through various means and working alongside the UN the shape the way that they create programs and policies. Because of the supportive and influential nature of this work, other human rights organizations and professionals can benefit from reviewing the annual reports to see where changes are being made and where human rights work is heading in the future.

Amnesty International Annual Report

Amnesty International uses their annual report as a measurement of where the global human rights are at and where they are headed. The report highlights one emerging human rights issues, overviews each global region, and then discusses individual countries. The regional overviews feature prominent human rights issues happening in those specific countries, including specific events and examples. Each country report discusses a few of the primary human rights abuses happening in the country with statistics and facts about events and situations that happened in the last year.

This report is designed to help interested individuals and organizations understand some of the trends in human rights, the challenges that each country faces, and the progress that is being made to increase protection for vulnerable and marginalized people. As Amnesty has representatives throughout much of the world, they are one of the organizations that is considered to be on the forefront of human rights and civil rights work, giving them an expert platform from which to speak.

International Committee of the Red Cross Annual Report

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) puts together an extremely comprehensive annual report, containing two volumes of information, as well as a Facts & Figures publication. The main report features two volumes, detailing the organization structure and procedures, regional reports, individual country reports, and financial statements and statistics. The Facts & Figures publication pulls some of the most important data from the main report and puts it into digestible infographics, statistics, and figures. The information in the Facts & Figures report is divided by topic area and contains financial infographics at the end.

ICRC’s work in a variety of human rights areas gives them expertise in the field that is invaluable to other organizations and human rights professionals. This report allows those interested to not only see what human rights trends are happening around the world but also how ICRC structures their organization and finances, as well as how they make decisions, policies, and programs. The report is a very useful tool for understanding what programs are effective in human rights and how to create and implement them.

Save the Children International Annual Review

Save the Children’s Annual Review offers in-depth insight into human rights issues impacting children around the world. The report highlights current issues that children around the world face, putting their safety and security at risk. It then goes more in-depth with each of these areas and discusses how Save the Children is working to increase protection and human rights for children impacted by each of those issues. The report also features some infographics with overall statistics for the organization, as well as for the financial statements. Many of Save the Children’s domestic offices have their own national annual reports, in addition to the global one.

Save the Children is known for the work they do with children’s rights around the world, and this report helps inform donors, the public, and human rights professionals about various trends and solutions to the challenges children face. The annual review itself is not very long, but Save the Children also has several annual reports focusing on one specific area of children’s rights and the work they’ve done in that area throughout the year.


Human Rights Foundation Annual Report

Human Rights Foundation (HRF) has an annual report that features their major research on various human rights issues and movements around the globe. This report summarizes research findings in a number of areas and discusses current trends and progress in human rights work, especially in terms of media and press attention. One of the major events the report talks about is the Oslo Freedom Forum, discussing the impact made at each location the forum was held. HRF also discusses cutting edge human rights work using technology, art, and fashion. The report also summarizes HRF’s financial statements, staff, and board/council.

The work that HRF is doing throughout the world is unique, cutting edge, and modern in terms of human rights progress. Their annual report can help human rights professionals and organizations understand where the world of human rights is going and how technology and culture are playing an increasingly important role in fighting for those rights on a global scale.

Care International Annual Report

Care International’s annual report highlights the work they’ve been doing throughout the year to increase rights and access for vulnerable people on a global scale. In addition to talking about what they have already done, they also set goals for the upcoming year, often based on current issues or trends happening in human rights. Care documents their approach to human rights work in their report, and discusses their impact in various human rights areas through stories and statistics. The report talks about case studies from programs that Care has implemented in countries around the world. They also give a financial overview to help donors and the public understand where their money is going.

Care’s impact throughout the world is immense, and their human rights work is often on the ground, in the field. Their anecdotes, stories, and statistics can be used to inform other organizations and professionals about programs that are proven to be effective in increasing human rights and access for people.

Other important Human Rights Reports

United Nations Human Rights Report

Although strictly speaking the UN is not an NGO, we decided to include it here in this list. The UN Human Rights Report reviews the annual work of the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR). The report includes major highlights and achievements, statistics of staff and global presence, and summaries of achievements under various areas of the Sustainable Development Goals. The report provides stories and spotlights from various countries and program initiatives to highlight the work that OHCHR is doing in various human rights contexts around the world. The report also shares the management strategies and structures, as well as financial reports, to ensure accountability and transparency in the work they do.

In many ways, this annual report sets the tone for many other human rights organizations moving forward, as the UN is one of the leading agencies for human rights work. By highlighting their organizational structure, achievements of global targets, financial status, and other successes, they help inform other organizations about what strategies and programs can actually create progress in various issues relating to human rights.

Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law Annual Report

American University’s Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law produces an annual report each year that details the work they have done to promote human rights through education and service. The report highlights achievements from both the Center and individual students attending the university. Each of the primary human rights topics that the Center focuses on has a section in the report, discussing the projects and initiatives the Center has conducted to make progress in that area. The report also talks about the various programs and opportunities it offers for students on campus to engage with human rights issues, featuring stories of how students were impacted by the work they did through the Center. The end of the report highlights the Center’s faculty members and their achievements in the area of human rights.

As one of the leading research centers for human rights law, the Center’s annual report sets the tone for academic engagement. The report highlights a unique aspect of human rights work, which is education and teaching.

About the author

Allison Reefer

Allison Reefer is a young professional living in Pittsburgh, PA. She works with a refugee resettlement agency to help refugees and immigrants in the city, and she volunteers with a local shelter for human trafficking victims. She obtained her Master in International Development from the University of Pittsburgh and a BA in Writing from Geneva College, focusing most of her academic work on human trafficking and migration in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In her free time, she loves to write, read, sing and play bass guitar, practice Russian, and explore her city.