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As human beings, we are all entitled to basic freedoms and protections, regardless of our differences. Freedoms like being able to access an education. Protections from things such as torture and unjust imprisonment. These fundamental entitlements are our human rights.

But the reality is that not all human beings are able to access their rights. Due to circumstance or prejudice, as a result of poverty or the behaviour of other people, many are blocked from living life free from fear, discrimination or restriction. People with disabilities are blocked from taking a full and active part in their community; children and young people are prevented from accessing an education; women are held back from accessing work and generating an income that could support them and their families to break free from poverty.

We believe that there is no hierarchy of human worth; that we are all born equal and entitled to the same basic protections and freedoms, regardless of who we are.

International Service puts human rights at the centre of what we do. Our work focuses on increasing people’s access to their rights and enabling them to change their futures for the better. For this reason, we work particularly with the groups forced to the edges of society, forming partnerships with individuals and with local organisations and authorities to ensure lasting and positive change.

The denial of opportunities for these marginalised groups is not merely a singular, isolated action, but representative of a long-standing problem, a systematic denial of opportunities because of the things that make them different – their gender, ability or economic status. We address these issues as human rights issues because it allows us to see individual short-term problems as symptoms of a much larger problem, which therefore allows us to resolve the underlying issues in a lasting and sustainable way.  

Our livelihoods projects enable women to earn a fair income in the short-term, but by raising awareness about their right to earn an income and to participate in society, it empowers them for the long-term.

We are working alongside local communities to reduce poverty and its causes using an approach that puts local people right at the centre of their own change. 

Change is not a one-size-fits-all process, and it is only through local ownership that change can be sustainable. Whilst our work might enable them to transform their communities, they are the change-makers.