The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nationwide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting human rights and civil liberties in the United States. The ACLU is the largest civil liberties organization in the country, with offices in 50 states and over 500,000 members. The ACLU was founded in 1920, largely in response to the curtailment of liberties that accompanied America's entry into World War I, including the persecution of political dissidents and the denial of due process rights for non-citizens. In the intervening decades, the ACLU has advocated to hold the U.S. government accountable to the rights protected under U.S. Constitution and other civil and human rights laws.
In 2004, the ACLU created a Human Rights Program (HRP) specifically dedicated to holding the U.S. government accountable to its international human rights obligations and commitments. HRP uses a human rights framework to complement existing ACLU legal and legislative advocacy and to advance social justice primarily in the areas of national security, racial justice, immigrants' rights, women's rights, criminal and juvenile justice. HRP conducts human rights public education and engages in advocacy and litigation before U.S. courts and international bodies, including the United Nations and regional human rights mechanisms. HRP's docket includes both domestic lawsuits and petitions before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of individuals sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for crimes committed when they were children, victims and survivors of torture, forced disappearance, trafficking and domestic violence, disenfranchised felons, domestic workers and low-wage undocumented immigrants. HRP also has challenged an Oklahoma constitutional amendment banning courts from considering Sharia and international law.