About Franciscans International

Franciscans International (FI) is an international non-governmental human rights organization, established in 1989, in General Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Its staff consists of professionals of diverse backgrounds working to translate grassroots voices in human rights advocacy action at the United Nations level. FI seeks to promote and protect human rights and environmental justice.


A global community in which the dignity of every person is respected, resources are shared equitably, the environment is sustained, and nations and peoples live in peace.


Using a rights-based approach, FI advocates at the UN for the protection of human dignity and environmental justice.


To fulfill this mission, FI builds on more than 30 years of experience in human rights advocacy to address the root causes of injustices. We do so by bringing cases of discrimination and violence committed against individuals and groups living at the margins to the attention of the UN, and by influencing UN decision making and standard setting processes accordingly.

According to their spirituality and values founded on simplicity, fraternity, peace, and care for creation, Franciscans very often live and work with disadvantaged groups and individuals, have their trust and are among the closest to their concerns. In doing so, many Franciscans are human rights defenders, and FI serves as their voice at the UN.

FI’s added value lies in the combination of two distinctive features:

  • Its strong ties with Franciscans and their civil society allies who work at the grassroots with some of the groups that are most discriminated against, and
  • Its expertise in bringing these testimonies to the UN and effectively translating them into strategic interventions to hold States and other actors accountable, compelling them to address policies and practices that are harming human rights.

We divide our work between Thematic Priorities and Regional Programs.

More information about FI’s internal and external objectives is available in our Strategic Orientations from 2021 onwards, which is also available in German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. This approach was adopted based on an extensive evaluation of our 2017-2020 Advocacy Strategy.


The core business of Franciscans International is human rights advocacy. Advocacy means a set of actions that seek to influence decision-makers at UN and national levels. Thanks to its General Consultative status with the UN, FI uses advocacy as a tool to combat human rights abuses. FI strongly believes that advocacy is one of the most powerful means to ensure sustainable solutions and real change. Whenever significant changes in policy are needed, advocacy has a role to play in influencing key leaders to make decisions that will improve the lives of millions of people over the long-term, through structural changes. 

In addition, advocacy is the process that empowers people, including the most marginalized, to participate in decisions that affect their own or others’ lives.

Thanks to its long experience at the UN, FI operates through multifaceted advocacy strategy in order to maximize efforts and ensure consistency in various lobby actions.

FI is built around the collaboration with its partners at the grassroots who experience human rights violations every day. They are in contact with national and local authorities and, at the same time, close to the most disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups. To support them, FI organizes capacity building workshops at national, regional and international levels. It also encourages and enables its grassroots partners to build partnerships at national level with the view to strengthen national lobbying.

Following a bottom-up approach, not only FI ensures the reliability of first-hand information from field partners, but it also empowers them to advocate at the UN. As a matter of consistency and efficiency, FI ensures the connection between national and international advocacy strategies. This implies that key UN recommendations should be regarded as entry points that need to be followed-up through national advocacy.

FI advocacy methodology at a glance

  • Linking national and international advocacy efforts (follow-up strategy);
  • Building strategic partnerships;
  • Engaging field partners into the whole process;
  • Elaborating national advocacy strategies using national/international levers of change.


Photo Credit: © UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré