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Protecting and Advancing Individual Human Rights and Freedom

The principle of inherent human dignity, and the individual rights and freedoms it naturally implies, forms the foundation of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the American Declaration of Independence.

America and its liberal democratic allies embrace a values system grounded in the belief of universal, intrinsic human dignity, a dignity that in turn affords each individual a fundamental set of rights and freedoms. The liberal world order, which largely has been created and led by the United States, has not been perfect, but it has contributed to more freedom, prosperity, and peace than ever before in history.

Unfortunately, the principle of inherent human dignity is very much under threat, particularly from three interrelated causes—authoritarian repression of individual rights, rising global fragility, and weak regulatory frameworks.

Inspired by the legacy and values of Senator John McCain and Ambassador Cindy McCain, our program is working to tackle these challenges. We are committed to protecting and advancing individual human rights and freedom around the world by working with American policymakers and other strategic partners to spur bold action to prevent violations from occurring and to hold perpetrators accountable.

1 – International Labour Organization (
2 –

People Trapped in Forced Labor 1
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of the global population lives in a “free” country
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Combatting Human Trafficking and Forced Labor

To meaningfully contribute to reducing the prevalence of human trafficking and preventing new exploitation, the Human Rights & Freedom Program uses data-driven research to advocate for and implement comprehensive, action-based solutions.

Farmers in a field
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Countering Authoritarian Repression of Individual Rights

Inspired by Senator McCain’s values, the Human Rights & Freedom Program focuses on promoting a values-based American foreign policy and addressing egregious violations of individual rights by authoritarian regimes. 

Business and Human Rights

The McCain Institute is pioneering new approaches to eradicate abuse and exploitation in global supply chains and is calling on businesses to protect and respect individuals’ intrinsic rights and freedoms. By elevating the voices of those with lived experience, advocates, and journalists, among others, the Human Rights & Freedom Program cultivates champions, develops tools, and educates key decisionmakers to address human rights abuses within global supply chains.

  • Forced Labor Open Risk Estimation Tool (FLORET)
  • Ocean Atrocities Working Group
  • G7 Action
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Women Peace

Support Our Mission

Donating directly to the Human Rights & Freedom Program will support our efforts to implement action-based solutions at the local, state, national and international levels.