WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

Our Impact

Through the support of people like you, WOLA creates meaningful change for human rights through advocacy, partnerships, and research.

We envision a future where public policies protect human rights and recognize human dignity, and where justice overcomes violence. WOLA tackles problems that transcend borders and that require both domestic and international solutions. Through strategic collaborations, we partner with courageous people working on social change—advocacy organizations, academics, religious leaders, artists, entrepreneurs, and government officials—and together, we advocate for more just societies in the Americas.

Watch the video below to learn more about WOLA’s 40 years of advocacy for human rights in the Americas:


By changing policies we create lasting impact for human rights and social justice in the Americas.

Driving the conversation and policy reform on women’s mass incarceration

WOLA has successfully raised the issue of women’s incarceration—an escalating human rights crisis—in policy discussion across the region. Women are disproportionately penalized with long sentences for minor, non-violent drug charges in Latin America. WOLA works with regional partners to share the important stories of imprisoned women through videos, photos, and other cutting edge media platforms.

This work has been instrumental in securing drug policy reforms, such as new Costa Rican policies that offer pardons for low-level drug offenses, allowing formerly incarcerated women a chance for a new life.


Through WOLA’s partnerships with people on the frontlines we identify and resolve urgent human rights problems.

Working towards an inclusive peace in Colombia

WOLA has been instrumental in advocating for an inclusive peace in Colombia that safeguards the rights of all Colombians. We partner closely and work on the ground with the groups that have been most threatened throughout this tenuous process–including Afro-Colombians, indigenous groups, and women. WOLA stands with those facing threats of intimidation, and our continued advocacy to protect indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders is urgently needed. Over 100 of these leaders were killed in 2017. WOLA’s relationships in Washington and Colombian communities is key to bolstering the work of human rights leaders and working for peace.


We bring decades of expertise to analyze these problems and propose concrete policy solutions.

Challenging impunity in Mexico

2017 was Mexico’s most violent year in over two decades. WOLA works in partnership with human rights defenders and journalists to hold the Mexican government and justice system accountable for human rights abuses. WOLA’s report Overlooking Justice, exposed how Mexico’s attorney general’s office has failed to effectively investigate offenses committed by soldiers. In five years, there were only 16 convictions out of a possible 505 cases. WOLA’s research motivated a response from the Mexican government, giving the military’s obstruction widespread international attention.


WOLA uses cutting-edge advocacy strategies to advance human rights and change policies.

The Beyond the Wall Campaign

With the tremendous support of WOLA’s community for the Beyond the Wall Campaign, we respond swiftly and strategically to provide policymakers and advocates with fact sheets and other resources to fight back against President Trump’s inhumane, anti-immigrant policies.

WOLA has dispelled rampant mistruths about migration, provided critical policy analysis to people who needed it, and helped get better protections for migrants at risk of abuse. We expose the human costs of policies that infringe upon human rights.