Realizing Rights was founded in 2002 by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland (1990-1997) and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002). Our mission was to put human rights standards at the heart of global governance and policy-making and to ensure that the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable are addressed on the global stage.

From 2002 to 2010, we worked with a range of partners on diverse projects and initiatives. We identified five critical global challenges to address:


Climate JusticeRealizing Rights aimed to show how using the lens of climate justice, and incorporating principles and tools of human rights to guide policy and practical responses to climate change, is an essential aspect of climate change policy work at the global and national level. Ultimately, a justice and human rights framework can provide us with a compass to chart the course of climate change responses, and a set of tools that operate at all levels between and within nations.

Partners continuing this important work:

  • Climate Justice
    Climate Justice
    Partners Continuing this Important Work:
Climate Justice
Partners Continuing this Important Work:

Realizing Rights aimed to show how using the lens of climate justice, and incorporating principles and tools of human rights to guide policy and practical responses to climate change, is an essential aspect of climate change policy work at the global and national level. Ultimately, a justice and human rights framework can provide us with a compass to chart the course of climate change responses, and a set of tools that operate at all levels between and within nations.


Encouraging Corporate Responsibility Realizing Rights worked with the United Nations Global Compact, the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights and other efforts to put human rights squarely on the CR agenda.

Partners continuing this important work:

  • Institute for Human Rights and Business
    Institute for Human Rights and Business
Institute for Human Rights and Business

The Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) is a global centre of excellence and expertise (a think & do tank) on the relationship between business and internationally proclaimed human rights standards.

We work to shape policy, advance practice and strengthen accountability to ensure the activities of companies do not contribute to human rights abuses, and in fact lead to positive outcomes.

IHRB prioritizes its work through time-bound programmes that can have the greatest impact, leverage and catalytic effect focusing on countries in economic and political transition, as well as business sectors that underpin others in relation to the flows of information, finance, workers and/or commodities.


Fostering Equitable Trade and Decent Work Promoting the Decent Work agenda and greater job opportunities for the most disadvantaged was the raison d’etre of our partnerships with a range of organizations. Our partners will continue to carry out this important work in the years to come.

Partners continuing this important work International Labour Organisation Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing Ghana Trades Union Congress


Realizing the Right to Health Realizing Rights focused on cultivating political leadership and developing new tools of accountability at all levels to ensure increased access to health care services, particularly in Africa. We promoted innovative policy actions in areas such as health workforce capacity, health financing, donor assistance for health and women’s health.

Partners continuing this important work Aspen Global Health and Development


Women Leaders Intercultural Forum Realizing Rights supported the Women Leaders Intercultural Forum and other endeavours that strengthen women’s leadership. At all levels, this facilitated greater collective action to increase global security, and increase the participation of women in global policy forums.

Partners continuing this important work Femmes Africa Solidarite Institute for Inclusive Security NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security

Please note: This organization ceased operation in December 2010. This website remains live as an archive.Read more...