“It was deemed a justified shooting but they had nothing to justify it with. There was no weapon found, no weapon on any person in the group…nor was anyone in the group being confrontational. So where is the justification?” — Martinez Sutton, brother of Rekia Boyd, who was killed by police in Chicago in 2012

Although police violence against unarmed civilians, especially Black Americans, is certainly not a new phenomenon, police brutality has made headlines in the past few years as courageous human rights defenders from Ferguson to Chicago to New York have risen up to protest the institutional failures that have fostered a cycle of violence, discrimination, and impunity against people of color in the United States by law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has launched a partnership with the families of victims of police brutality to hold law enforcement accountable for violence and misconduct. Since initiating the partnership, our lawyers have worked tirelessly to bring these families’ cases before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, demonstrating how police killings and impunity violate the international human rights standards to which the United States is bound.

We’ve also been engaging with activists, organizations, and law schools across the country as well as institutional actors in the U.S. federal government, the United Nations, and the Inter-American Commission to bring attention to these human rights violations and develop recommendations for police departments and governmental institutions to curb police brutality and ensure that instances of police violence are quickly and fairly adjudicated in the criminal justice system.

Regions Where We Address Women's Rights

  • Americas

    From continuing Robert Kennedy's efforts with American farmworkers to working to end violence against women in Latin America, our programs in the Americas seek to protect the vulnerable, end corruption, and ensure respect for the dignity of each person throughout the region.

  • Asia

    Supporting Nobel laureates in their quests to end child labor and empower the impoverished. Bringing human rights education to the foothills of Nepal. Standing with civil society in Bangladesh. Our work in Asia carries us far afield as we fulfill our pledge to stand with the bravest people on Earth, wherever they are. 

  • Africa

    Our work in Africa is as diverse as the continent itself. We fight for LGBT rights in Uganda, advocate for civil society in Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and The Gambia, and help bring lifesaving technology to Kenya.

  • Europe

    Headquartered in a prison that has been transformed into a beacon of freedom, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Europe works with experts, advocates, and teachers to promote freedom and justice across the continent and beyond.

Our Programs Addressing Women's Rights

  • Partners for Human Rights

    Our lawyers and experts join with our partners in the field to create real change, fulfilling Robert Kennedy’s pledge that those with the courage to enter moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.

  • Speak Truth to Power

    A human rights education program that strives to create a global citizenry dedicated to the highest standards of justice and equality.

  • Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Young Leaders

    Robert Kennedy called young people “the world’s hope.” He believed in their energy, talent, and idealism—qualities that define the RFK Young Leaders, a group of innovative, influential, and philanthropic young adults dedicated to creating a more just and peaceful world.

  • Health eVillages

    Bringing lifesaving technology to those who need it most