International Relief and Human Rights Initiative (IRHRI) is a United States-based Non-Governmental Organization, established and registered in 2014 under UBI Number 603-609-734 under the Washington non-profit Corporation Act, Revised Code of Washington Chapter 24.03; with Head Offices in Spokane, Washington.
It already has programs in East Africa and the entire Great Lakes Region. It is fully operationalizing in Uganda under registration number INTR142201584NB with offices in Kigowa-Ntinda, Kampala. Its regional offices are in Nairobi, Kenya.
In its aspirations and work, IRHRI compliments the efforts of the governments to mobilize political and socio-economic resources for a sustainable and poverty-free populace. IRHRI aspires to use human rights-based development approaches to expand the role and influence of vulnerable and poor people as rights holders; in particular women and children in rural and semi-urban areas who live in extreme poverty, unending conflicts and suffering all forms of injustice.
To this end, IRHRI strongly believes that today’s most vulnerable and marginalized groups particularly women and children have the potential to deliver a significant contribution to society and can champion socio-economic and political growth and eradication of poverty in Africa, to be part of a free world as responsible citizens. IRHRI thus engages with decision-makers at community, national, regional and international levels for inclusive development to effectively harness people’s socio-economic and political potential.
International Relief & Human Rights Initiative was founded by Mr Greg S Heavens a few months after his arrival in the United States of America. Mr Greg S Heavens’s family members were decimated during the mass killings which ravaged the Great Lakes Region since the 1990s. Left alone with multiple disabilities, he fled to Uganda to save his life. After suffering for some years, he learnt of an Organization called Refugee Law Project which provides legal, counselling and other services to forced migrants. He came to know Dr Chris Dolan, the Director of the Refugee Law Project who supported him through the Organization but so many times from his pocket to provide him with his multiple needs.
It was through the Refugee Law Project that Greg met with Dr Barbara Harrelbond who was doing some work for refugees in Uganda. Since then, Dr Barbara supported him personally until he got resettled in the US in August 2013.
Greg was deeply touched by the total dedication of Dr Dolan and Dr Barbara to the cause of refugees and other forced migrants. He also got a friend in the person of Niels Jacob Harbitz, Senior Advisor at International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI) who supported and encouraged him.
Those figures inspired Mr Greg the idea to start up a human rights organization: a dream which has become true!
After getting resettlement in the USA, Mr Greg shared his dream with friends like Doug Eichorst and Judie Eichorst who encouraged him in his dream of starting a human rights organization. He also shared the idea with Dr Chris and Dr Barbara who encouraged him to go ahead to pursue his dream.
That is how reflecting back on his own experience as a vulnerable refugee who suffered during his exile in Uganda, and the ordeal that different categories of vulnerable people like refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, Elderly, People living with disabilities, people with chronic or incurable diseases, and other vulnerable persons go through.
Mr Greg decided to set up and start the International Relief & Human Rights Initiative (IRHRI), a non-for-profit organization whose mission is to support vulnerable people and promote human rights, democracy and good governance which are the foundation of actual enjoyment of human rights and well being, a way of giving back to the community.
After going through a lot of tragic events including losing his parents and other family members which left him with a lot of physical, emotional, and psycho-social injuries, Greg S Heavens believes that the only way he can totally heal is to see the Great Lakes Region of Africa, live peacefully with everybody enjoying his/her rights.
He thinks he can heal through working with other people from where he currently lives to promote peace, democracy and harmony in American society and elsewhere in the world.
He is very grateful to The United States of America which gave him resettlement and helped him to recover his rights which enabled him to see how he can work with other well-wishers to contribute to the global efforts to promote peace, harmony and human rights.
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A generation of empowered and independent free democratic societies
Promote, protect, and defend democratic human rights principles and relief to the marginalized groups of people