Advancing Justice, Rights, and Security

USAID advances justice, human rights, and security by putting people, and their rights and needs at the center of our work.

USAID advances justice, human rights, and security (JRS) by putting people, and their rights and needs at the center of our work. USAID promotes JRS for all – inclusive of the historically underserved and under-resourced, and advances the development agendas of our partners and the international community. JRS provides:

  1. Technical assistance and training to USAID field Missions, including assessments, and design of activities;
  2. Interagency coordination and reporting; and
  3. JRS related research, data collection, assessments, and evaluations.


Systems: To strengthen justice, rights protection, and security systems, with a focus on facilitating greater coherence, coordination, and communication between the varied institutions, actors, and processes, formal and informal alike, that comprise each system.

Services: To improve delivery of justice, rights protection, and security services provided by institutions and actors that uphold the law, resolve disputes, and people’s everyday legal problems and justice needs, and work to guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms.

Society: To ensure that justice, rights protection, and security systems and services are responsive to the needs and priorities of the people and communities they are mandated to serve and facilitate inclusive and equitable public engagement, participation, and oversight.


Rule of Law and Security:

JRS provides technical leadership to use a people-centered approach to justice reform in partner countries, strengthen independent judiciaries, and to ensure that security services operate in the interests of individuals and communities, society, and the host-country government in preventing and responding to crime and violence, including gender-based violence. USAID has started using a People-Centered Justice model, focused on working with partner countries to understand everyday justice users' needs through data and community engagement which informs justice sector reform that responds to those needs and builds trust in the justice system.

Human Rights:

USAID facilitates the work of human rights actors, institutions, and individuals in building local capacity to prevent rights violations, improve enabling environments, strengthen effective protection and response measures. USAID also advocates for rights-based approaches across USAID programming to promote inclusive and equitable local participation in decision-making. USAID is also looking at mitigating, planning for, and responding to risks affecting implementing partners and program participants operating in closing or closed environments.

Counter Trafficking in Persons:

The JRS team oversees implementation of the USAID C-TIP Policy and the USAID CTIP Field Guide to prevent and address C-TIP in its field programming and advance trauma-informed and survivor-centered approaches. USAID’s policies and programming also supports the annual State Department Trafficking in Persons Report and requirements of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.


Human Rights Grants Program: HRGP distributes funding to USAID Missions and offices to respond to needs and opportunities to address JRS issues globally. The program assists with the development of human rights programs, including innovative projects that respond to urgent or unanticipated human rights needs of emerging opportunities as well as to encourage cooperation with local and regional organizations, and to enable missions to respond to urgent human rights problems through stand-alone programs or by integrating human rights objectives into current programs and those under design, regardless of sector.

JRS Rapid Response Assistance (RRA): The JRS RRA supports small-scale, rapid responses to address critical, time-sensitive JRS-related concerns and windows of opportunity in a matter of weeks. JRS RRA aims to strengthen and supplement locally-led efforts to respond to threats and opportunities, including support to justice, rights, and security defenders; advocacy efforts; analysis; legal action; awareness raising; oversight over processes or institutions; and protection efforts for justice, rights and security in the countries where it works.

JRS Annual Program Statement (APS): The JRS APS encourages co-creation with new and underutilized partners to address JRS challenges and opportunities. The JRS APS is a tool available to USAID Missions, Bureaus, and Independent Offices (M/B/IOs) wishing to use assistance mechanisms to address justice-, rights-, and security-related needs in the field. M/B/IOs can use the JRS APS, through M/B/IO-funded addenda, to issue assistance awards – including cooperative agreements, grants, and fixed amount awards


Sector Overview