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Making a Difference: Capturing the Learning from The Atlantic Philanthropies Human Rights Program in Ireland

Resource type: Research Report

Brian Harvey |

When Atlantic began its human rights work in Ireland in 2004, it faced strong resistance at the governmental and judicial levels to the idea of setting down such rights in legislation. Still, the foundation saw signs that suggested that the right kinds of investments — mostly core support — could help new governmental and nongovernmental organizations advance human rights.

As this report shows, that thinking paid off. Atlantic’s investment of €30m in grants across 14 organizations between 2004-2014 enabled grantees to make several important and lasting achievements, including:

  • New rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
  • Improved police accountability
  • New rights for children
  • Better conditions for prisoners
  • Improved treatment of rape victims in the criminal justice system

The report also identifies mixed or gradual progress or other instances where “holding the line” proved demanding. Areas where organizations were unable to make progress included the inability to win better treatment for asylum seekers and the failure of the government to ratify conventions to protect women and people with disabilities.

This report was commissioned by The Atlantic Philanthropies.

From 2004 to 2014, Atlantic focused resources on protecting and expanding the rights of immigrants, people with disabilities and LGBT people in the Republic of Ireland.