January Community Services Feature with Human Rights Now

By Tia Haygood, Community Services Director

Happy New Year to the FEW community!

This month we are featuring another phenomenal NGO in the Tokyo area, Human Rights Now!

Human Rights Now (HRN) is Japan’s first home-grown human rights advocacy organization founded in 2006 by a group of attorneys, scholars and journalists. The NGO currently has 700 members who work towards the promotion and protection of human rights in Asian nations as well as nations outside of Asia. HRN acts as the native hub for human rights in conjunction to its international counterparts including London’s Amnesty International and New York’s Human Right Watch.

HRN cover many issues including women’s rights, children’s rights, and empowerment projects. For over 10 years, they have worked to hold countries such as China, India, the Philipines, Myanmar and more to address violations committed and to create steps to reverse those violations. HRN members, Kelsey Lehner and Cade Mosley where gracious enough to answer a few questions during the holiday season and were very open about HRN’s successes and a few of its challenges.

As an NGO, HRN also faces funding challenges similar to other NGOs. Due to HRN’s unique UN special consultative status, it is imperative for the organization to stay neutral in its approach and relies heavily on grants and donations..

Another challenge unique to Human Right Now is awareness. Awareness of human rights violations and awareness of how people such as FEW Japan members can be of help to international victims of human rights abuse. According to Mosley, people just like you and I have significant power to hold international governments and corporations accountable for their actions or their decisions that directly or indirectly condone human rights abuse. Because potential volunteers view themselves as powerless against international human rights crimes, it can be difficult for HRN to get audiences to have empathy for the human rights victims they are trying to rescue.

An example of how great they are, HRN supported their Hong-Kong based partner, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), to release an investigative report on labor rights abuses in a UNIQLO supplier factory. Following a press conference on the report HRN began an awareness raising campaign. Both created a lot of media attention. HRN then began negotiations with the operating company which owned the factories in question. The two sides were able to come to an agreement for the company, Fast Retailing Group, to release a plan to improve working conditions at the almost 150 known factories. HRN continues to this day to follow up on ensuring Fast Retailing continues to implement all of the points in its plan and to eventually disclose all of its suppliers. This was one of HRN’s proudest moments and is proof of how powerful the real awareness of human rights abuse is.

How can we make this amazing organizations become even more powerful in combating human rights crimes? HRN are currently selling 2018 calendar to fund their work. You can purchase one in English at You can even donate directly via their website.

In addition, there are also awareness-raising events every month. Check out their Facebook page and Meetup Page for monthly updates.

Other human rights advocacy groups in the Kanto area:

Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims

Lighthouse Hotline Photo


Upcoming Fall 2018 Community Service Events

With the changing of the leaves comes many opportunities to support various NGOs and their efforts. Take a look at the events below and reach out to the organizations through the contact information provided if you’re interested in lending a helping hand! The Big Draw Festival 2018 The world’s largest cross-cultural drawing festival, led by […]

Published on 15th October 2018

Recap: WSC — Creating Your Story & Brand with the Help of Masterminding Groups

“A brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon For the 2018-2019 season, Women’s Startup Club focuses on helping you create YOUR story and brand, kicking off the season with Masterminding—Supporting Your Success. Thirty women from diverse career backgrounds, a wide variety of […]

Published on 7th October 2018

October 2018 Sponsor Offers & Member News

Check out the latest offers and opportunities from our Sponsors and other FEW Community Events here! Our Sponsors are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. Visit our Sponsors page to learn more about all of FEW’s Sponsors, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services benefiting […]

Published on 30th September 2018

September Monthly Meeting Recap – Rina Bovrisse

From Prada Epicenter to Court Battle…and How She Persists Rina Bovrisse, a former fashion industry leader who sued her employer – Prada Japan – for discrimination and sexual harassment in 2009 and, eventually, lost her fashion career due that suit, shared her inspiring journey at the FEW Monthly Meeting in September. Now running her own […]

Published on 26th September 2018

July Monthly Meeting Recap – Ama Divers

Living at the pace of the ocean In July, FEW welcomed professor Anne McDonald from Sophia University to share the stories of Ama divers, female free divers of Japan, during the Monthly Meeting. McDonald has been researching the Ama communities by interviewing the members and taking part in their daily life – even diving into […]

Published on 26th September 2018