The society was created in 1972 in Germany. It promotes the implementation of the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights around the world, focusing on issues of freedom of opinion and expression, movement, religion, information, and association. ISHR currently operates offices in 30 countries, including Ukraine and Russia. The organization offers aid to individuals, social organizations, commercial ventures, and religious groups that feel that their rights have been violated; however, it maintains strict political neutrality and does not ally itself with any specific party or movement.
In Russia, ISHR established an "adopt-a-family" program in which German families were matched with financially-strapped Russian families. The German donor families provide their Russian counterparts with $20–50 monthly, which is used for necessities such as food, clothing and textbooks. Additionally, representatives of the Moscow ISHR office make periodic visits to prisons and camps around Russia to investigate prison conditions, consult with prisoners about potential human rights violations, and provide medical consultation and assistance for sick prisoners.
Last updated: February 1999