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The AHRF is a not-for-profit philanthropic organization to provide support for the promotion and realization of all human rights in the Arab region, which encompasses the 22 members of the Arab League. The AHRF defines ‘all human rights’ as those enumerated in the International Bill of Rights and all international instruments dealing with human rights and humanitarian law, and carries out its responsibilities and programs in accordance with these rights and principles without discrimination by reason of gender, ethnicity, religion, national or social status, political opinion or any other distinction. It is independent of any government, political or religious group, or any other interest, and is committed to operating with transparency and accountability.

Although there are already many human rights organizations in the Arab region, much of their work is hindered by strict governmental control and restrictive non-governmental organization (NGO) laws. Human rights activists are often harassed, imprisoned or silenced. In addition, existing organizations have great trouble in finding local long-term financial or technical support. The creation of an independent and sustainable foundation like AHRF is therefore an important step towards defending, supporting and sustaining human rights activities in the region.

Whilst AHRF’s geographic mandate is limited to the Arab region, this does not preclude support for activities elsewhere that have the potential to advance human rights within the region. This allows, for example, support for activists working in enforced exile or for collaborative activities of a regional or international nature that have a potential impact on the region. The Fund supports the human rights of all in the region, including non-Arab minorities and communities. The term ‘Arab’ in the Fund’s name is intended to designate the geographical scope of the Fund’s operations and not the ethnicity of rights-holders.

The Fund subscribes entirely to the human rights detailed within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the most translated document in the world, and also to those outlined in relevant treaties and conventions. AHRF’s values are in accordance with the minimum standards set out in these documents. No internationally recognized human right can ever be discarded in the name of “cultural specifity”.

The Fund is committed to participation, integrity, cooperation, strategic and sustainable approaches, and independence. It operates a policy of full transparency and accountability with regard to donors and grant recipients, participation with the public, complaint mechanisms, evaluations, audit reports and accounts.

AHRF is independent of any government or political influence. All policy decisions are taken by elected and volunteer members of the Board of Trustees. Board membership is for a three-year term that is renewable only once. Authority to approve grants rests with the Board. An Executive Director, Program Officers and administrative staff assess and recommend grants to the Board and carry out the daily operations of the Fund.

Financial and association laws within the Arab region do not sufficiently protect the Fund, and are not conducive to its potential to operate in an independent and sustainable manner. The Netherlands was chosen as the Fund’s legal base after researching the legal systems of other countries, and also because the country’s law permits board members of the Fund to be non-Dutch citizens. While AHRF is a legal entity in the Netherlands, it is also registered in Lebanon as a “Branch of the AHRF Stichting in the Netherlands.”

The preparatory and start-up phases (2005-2007) of the Fund were supported by the Ford Foundation. Afterwards, in addition to the Ford foundation, the AHRF received generous support from the Open Society Institute, the Oak Foundation, the Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Network for Social Change, the Dutch Embassy in Lebanon, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lebanon, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and a number of Arab individuals. Our fundraising strategy focuses on business people, young professionals and other private sources in the Arab region. It also identifies international sources of funding, namely, from the Arab Diaspora and existing international donors. AHRF is transparent in disclosing the sources of its assets. AHRF does not accept donations from sources which contradict the Fund’s mission, compromise its reputation, or affect its free and independent program decisions.

Donations we receive go toward building the Fund’s endowment and to financing grant making in accordance with the administrative and programmatic criteria of AHRF.

Donatewith a credit card safely and easily. Your gift helps AHRF support groups and individuals working on a wide range of human rights issues in the Arab region. Contact us by email:donate@ahrfund.orgFundraise:AHRF is always looking for new ways to raise funds to support our work. Why not host a fundraising event for potential donors?

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