Vision and Strategy

Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) envisions a world in which everyone can freely and safely promote and enjoy all human rights.



HRHF recognises that lasting human rights change can be achieved when a strong and independent civil society is united in solidarity and able to freely contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights at home and abroad. Human Rights Houses are central to HRHF’s work empowering civil society and advancing its vision.

To work towards achieving its vision, HRHF has identified three strategic goals for the period 2024-2028:

Strategic Goal 1: We will strengthen the capacities of Human Rights Houses (HRHs) to advance human rights at home and abroad

HRHF supports HRHs and their member organisations to provide human rights defenders and civil society a stable and safe base for their vital work. The Human Rights House concept is built around the enduring values of solidarity and partnership, it is flexible and adjusted to the local needs, enabling them to unite their efforts, amplify their voices and together, effectively advance human rights. 

By supporting, strengthening and protecting the capacities of the HRH member organisations, HRHF contributes to the resilience and sustainability of independent civil societies in the countries where HRHs operate. 

Strategic Goal 2: We will strengthen the Network of Human Rights Houses and its impact on core human rights

HRHF connects HRHs and their member organisations in the international Network of Human Rights Houses. The Network is a community, which provides opportunities for building meaningful transnational connections and solidarity, transfer of competencies, increased protection, and regional and thematic collaboration. United, the Network works to raise awareness and increase the impact on the human rights agenda nationally, regionally and internationally. The Network is HRHF’s most direct stakeholder. 

During this strategic period, we aim to expand the Network beyond the current geographic regions of Eastern & Western Europe, the Caucasus, and the Balkans, in addition to increasing the number of HRHs in the current regions. Network expansion will help us have more impact on the human rights agenda.  

To further increase the sustainability and resilience of the Network, in this strategic period HRHF will not only serve as a focal point for Network engagement but will also encourage and support horizontal cooperation and empower members of the Network to lead thematic and regional work.

Strategic Goal 3: We will strengthen the promotion and protection of the rights which underpin independent civil society

Systemic human rights gains are achieved, in part, by strategic long-term advocacy. To fulfil our mission, HRHF advocates for the promotion and protection of four key rights which underpin independent civil society and an enabling environment for it to promote and protect human rights. At the same time, HRHs and their members work on a wider range of rights, reflecting the needs and contexts in which they operate. 

In the Network, HRHF serves as an expert on intergovernmental and international organisations and advises on opportunities for Network members to advance domestic goals within them. HRHF also strengthens engagement and cooperation between HRHs and other domestic and international human rights partners and stakeholders to advance national advocacy objectives. 

HRHF targets decision-makers and diplomats to raise awareness and lobby on policies related to our mission. HRHF targets international intergovernmental organisations including the UN, EU, CoE and OSCE at regional and international level in its work to protect and advance human rights. HRHF lobbies intergovernmental organisations to ensure the inclusion and active participation of civil society. HRHF also provides recommendations to strengthen human rights mechanisms and standards and reports on human rights trends. By reporting regularly on the situation of HRDs in the Network, HRHF identifies and highlights human rights trends in the region.

In order to achieve the three strategic goals, HRHF works towards an inwards-facing fourth goal, which focuses on sustainability and well-functioning of the organisation. 

These goals were developed following HRHF’s theory of change that lasting human rights change is possible when an independent civil society is strong, and rights that make it possible to hold individuals and institutions accountable are protected nationally and internationally.

Read about our impact.



HRHF and the network of Human Rights Houses are guided by a code of conduct and a common set of values that guide our work including:

The universality of human rights

HRHF respects all human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all persons in all countries of the world in accordance with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


HRHF adheres to ethical principles, takes responsibility for its work, honours commitments to its partners, beneficiaries, and donors, and transparently shares results and lessons learned – unless doing so harms the safety and security of HRDs. 


HRHF believes all human beings are of equal value and are entitled to fulfil their potential free of discrimination and oppression. HRHF is committed to the removal of human rights-related barriers that drive inequality, including but not limited to gender inequality, discrimination, harassment, and punitive laws. The principles of equality, democracy and autonomy underpin the relations between the member organisations in a House as well as relations among HRHs in the network.


HRHF is committed to maintaining its autonomy, policy independence, and impartiality from donors, and is guided by its mission and human rights principles.




Human Rights House Foundation utilises various processes of regular evaluation as a powerful tool to ensure our relevance and sustainability. These evaluations enable us to learn, improve, and inform our organisational strategies and to adjust the course of action when needed.

In addition to internal evaluation processes, we aim to undergo a more extensive external evaluation every few years, to check whether our theory of change is still relevant and whether the work that we do has the intended impact.

2018 Evaluation of administrative capacities & competencies

In November 2018, HRHF underwent an external assessment of its administrative capacities and competencies. 

“HRHF has adequate administrative capacities and competence in place to undertake financial management… The HRHF organisational culture is one of mutual respect, transparency, accountability and ethical performance. There is a high awareness of financial risk, and the organisation has put important measures in place to prevent financial mismanagement and corruption,” concluded the evaluation.

Read the evaluation in full.

2017 Evaluation of the Human Rights House Concept and its Advocacy Component

“The Human Rights House concept maintains its relevance as a platform that promotes collaboration, drives innovation, and empowers civil society for the advancement of human rights and dignity for all.” Nino Khurtsidze, External Consultant.

In 2017, HRHF commissioned an external evaluation of the Human Rights House concept and our advocacy work, to assess their relevance and effectiveness, and to offer recommendations to update the concept to maximise its potential positive impact. The findings of the evaluation helped to inform HRHF’s strategy for 2019-2023.

Read in full “Evaluation of the Human Rights House Concept and its Advocacy Component.

2005 Human Rights House Foundation and the HRH-Network Evaluation Report

Reflecting on the future of the Houses and the changing environment for human rights defenders, Human Rights House Foundation commissioned an external review process in 2005.

Read in full “Human Rights House Foundation and the HRH-Network

Evaluation Report”.

In response to the findings of the evaluation, an effort was made to empower the Human Rights Houses, by giving them more of a say in the development of the network. With the establishment of an International Advisory Board consisting of House members in 2007, the Houses gained direct input in an advisory role to HRHF’s board, as well as input concerning the admittance of new members. (The International Advisory Board is replaced by a new mechanism in 2018).