The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
Established in 1972, ACRI is Israel’s oldest and largest human rights organization and the only one dealing with the entire spectrum of rights and civil liberties issues in Israel and the Occupied Territories. An independent and non-partisan organization, ACRI’s mandate is to ensure Israel’s accountability and respect for human rights, by addressing violations committed by the Israeli authorities in Israel, the Occupied Territories, or elsewhere.
ACRI is committed to promoting the universality of human rights and defending the human rights and civil liberties of all, regardless of religion, nationality, gender, ethnicity, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background.
Since its inception, ACRI has been consistently successful in bringing precedent-setting litigation to the Supreme Court and has contributed significantly to the protection of human rights in Israel and in the Occupied Territories. ACRI has built a solid reputation for professionalism and integrity and is widely respected within the legal community, and among decision makers, the media and the public at large. This reputation enhances ACRI’s ability to make a real and lasting difference.
Precedent-Setting Legal Work
ACRI’s Legal Department takes on cases that have the potential to set precedents, raise issues of principle, and effect broad-based policy change. Every year, ACRI argues dozens of precedent-setting cases before the Supreme Court, and also seeks redress before district and labor courts, government ministries, and Knesset committees.
ACRI is highly regarded in the Israeli legal community for its professionalism and commitment to bringing landmark cases to the Supreme Court. Since its establishment, ACRI has achieved major advancements in a wide range of areas such as: freedom of expression; the right to privacy; freedom of and from religion; women’s rights; criminal justice; equality for Arab citizens; the gay and lesbian community, and other minority populations; migrant workers’ rights; and human rights in the Occupied Territories.
In-Depth Human Rights Education
ACRI believes that to foster a culture of human rights and to bring about real and lasting social change in Israel, we have to work in the educational arena to advance the key values we advocate for in the legal and public arenas. Awareness and appreciation for human and civil rights must be promoted widely and early on and among all sectors of Israeli society. As such, ACRI’s Education Department conducts human rights training programs for thousands of individuals across the country each year, produces high-quality educational curricula in Hebrew and Arabic, and organizes conferences and lectures on human rights education. We believe working with key agents of change – teachers in the Jewish and Arab school systems, students, security forces personnel, and social and community workers – is an effective method to influence attitudes and contribute toward building a more tolerant and just society.
ACRI also operates a program on International Humanitarian Law (IHL), in order to raise public awareness of the harsh implications of harming a civilian population in the course of armed combat, and of the military’s obligation to prevent such injuries. ACRI offers IHL educational workshops to social activists, students, educators, youth movement counselors, and students at pre-military academies. The overriding objective is to enhance the participants’ knowledge of IHL, and to provide opportunities for discussion and for developing their positions on the issues involved.
Extensive Public Outreach
ACRI believes that a public more aware of the complex fields of civil liberties and human rights is better equipped to stand up for its rights, and more prepared to respect the rights of others. To achieve this, ACRI publishes high-profile reports and information leaflets; organizes lectures, conferences, film screenings and other public and community events covering a wide range of human rights issues; and runs a public hotline to assist people whose rights have been infringed.
ACRI recognizes the crucial role that the media plays in shaping public opinion. Therefore, an integral part of ACRI’s organizational strategy involves mobilizing the media to place human rights high on the public agenda to stimulate debate and awareness. ACRI’s work appears on a daily basis in a wide range of domestic and international print, broadcast, and electronic media outlets.
ACRI also maintains Israel’s largest collection of civil and human rights materials, much of which can be accessed through this website. To inform the public and decision-makers of our activities and crucial human rights issues, ACRI regularly publishes online newsletters, reports, and position papers in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
Strategic International Advocacy
ACRI views international advocacy as an essential channel through which to advance key human rights concerns in Israel and the Occupied Territories.
Complementing our work inside Israel, ACRI undertakes a broad range of activities in the international arena, including: submitting shadow reports and providing information to UN committees and representatives regarding Israel’s compliance with its human rights obligations; meeting with foreign diplomats and government representatives; participating in international conferences and NGO networks; and raising awareness of human rights issues by generating ongoing international media coverage. Through such activities, ACRI acts as an important conduit of accurate and reliable information concerning the human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories.