Jack Healey

Jack Healey

Jack Healey (born March 24, 1938 ) is a world-renowned human rights activist and pioneer. An effective and innovative leader in the human rights movement for over 25 years, Jack has helped move the topic of human rights from closed-door diplomatic negotiations to widespread awareness, public debate, and direct citizen action. Colleagues credit him with making human rights a major focus of governments, advocacy organizations, and individuals around the world.

Called "Mr. Human Rights" by U.S. News and World Report, Healey’s focus has been on inspiring the youth to support non-violent activism that would push back oppressive governments and societies. He has brought human rights to the global stage by his creative use of media and enlistment of world-class talent as advocates.

Today, Jack heads the Washington, D.C. based [http://www.humanrightsactioncenter.org Human Rights Action Center] (HRAC), a qualified Non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

His most current project is [http://www.burmaitcantwait.org Burma: It Can’t Wait] , an online media campaign highlighting the story of Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma.


Born into a tough, hard-working Irish Catholic family, Healey grew up in a community of coal mine and steel mill workers in Pennsylvania.

Jack started his human rights work at the age of 25, when he volunteered for the march that took place in Washington DC during Martin Luther King's speech "I Have A Dream"

He was a Franciscan monk for 10 years and a Catholic priest for four years. He left the priesthood and began work as Deputy Director of the Young World Development Program at Freedom from Hunger Foundation USA for five years.

From 1977 until 1981 Healey worked in Lesotho as the Peace Corps Director. Following this, he worked as the Director of Amnesty International USA for 14 years. At Amnesty, Healey pioneered new ways to deliver the message of human rights to the youth.

Healey has additionally worked as an advisor to the U.S. government at the Center of Victims of Torture in Haiti, as well as to comedian Dick Gregory for three years on the topic of world hunger.

Current Work

Human Rights Action Center, a qualified non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based out of Washington, D.C., and its main 5 goals are:

"1. Promoting The Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

Human Rights Action Center celebrates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights anniversary each year. In the past, Healey has organized musical events with artist participation including Francis Dunnery, Wynton Marsalis, and the Untouchables. He produced a syndicated radio show with Natalie Merchant, Mike Watt and Special Beat/Ranking Roger.

HRAC produced the 50th anniversary concert for the United Nations celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

HRAC continues a campaign asking governments of the world to print the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the passports of all governments. Currently Jack Healey is campaigning to encourage all governments to list the Declaration in their country's passports. Less than one percent of the world's population is aware of this document.

"2. Rightfully restore Aung San Suu Kyi to power in Burma."

In 1991 Jack met with Michael Aris (husband of Aung San Suu Kyi) and promised his help. In 1999 Healey met with Aung San Suu Kyi and re-pledged his support. He is now working in conjunction with Jeremy Woodrum and the US Campaign for Burma. Together they are raising global awareness about Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy and the people of Burma who are non-violently fighting against the power of the military Junta.

HRAC's Jack Healey also speaks regularly at forums for this cause and he serves as senior advisor to Jeremy Woodrum, Director of the US Campaign for Burma. Together, they have spoken twice to the United Nations Security Council regarding Burma.

HRAC also sponsored a concert for the Burmese cause in Bangkok in 1999 featuring Glen Phillips, Raven Simone and Breeze.

"3. Create innovative, forceful, effective solutions to assist victims in protecting themselves."

"4. Support growing human rights groups all over the world"

HRAC arranged for the financing of rebuilding a factory in Bosnia, which now employs over 900 women.

HRAC has worked with the Human Rights Center in Haiti as a consultant, preparing a human rights campaign strategy for the organization, evaluating the effectiveness of the Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims in Haiti.

HRAC created Families for Families, an organization based in Ireland that protects families from the terrors of police brutality.

"5. Create a fund to get people out of harm's way in exceptional human rights abuse cases."

Media Projects


"1976: Dick Gregory’s World Hunger Run"

To highlight world hunger, Jack worked as Advisor to Dick Gregory on his World Hunger Run from Los Angeles to New York, beginning on July 4th.

"1986: A Conspiracy of Hope Tour "

This 2 week tour for human rights included musicians Sting, Peter Gabriel, U2, Lou Reed, Joan Baez, Bryan Adams, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan and The Police.

Traveling to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, East Rutherford and Giants Stadium in New Jersey, this tour furthered awareness of Amnesty International in the US, raised $3 million, and brought in 45,000 new US members within a month. MTV and FOX Network both ran the last show internationally. The tour was co-produced by Bill Graham.

"1988: Human Rights Now! Tour"

In 1988, for the 40th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, Healey organized the 6-week Human Rights Now! World tour to celebrate achievements of the human rights movement and to introduce the idea of basic human rights protection through the power of the media to millions of people worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of people filled stadiums and crowded into fields for concerts from South America to Eastern Europe and from Africa to Asia. The tour covered 18 countries in six weeks. The tour was conceived by Healey and Secret Policeman's Ball co-creator and producer Martin Lewis. It was promoted by Bill Graham.

Musicians included Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman, and Youssou N'Dour

"1990: From A Hug to a Hope Concert"

As a celebration of the human rights victory in Chile after the fall of dictator Pinochet, Healey organized a two day concert with Sting, Peter Gabriel, Sinéad O'Connor, Jackson Browne, Ruben Blades, Wynton Marsalis and New Kids on the Block.

"1991:'Free to Laugh' "

In 1991, Healey produced this three hour show on Lifetime in honor of women's rights. Comedy and music by Woody Harrelson, Lily Tomlin, Vanessa L. Williams, Roseanne Barr, Anjelica Huston, Daryl Hannah and Tom Arnold. Produced by Bob Meyerwitz, this program was nominated for an CableACE Award

"1999: Bangkok Concert for ASSK"

"2001: Seattle UN F.A.O. Groundwork"

Healey produced an International Concert Series to Support the FAO/UN Global Anti-Hunger Campaign. Artists included R.E.M., Joe Strummer, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Pearl Jam, Alanis Morissette, Dave Matthews, Femi Kuti, Emmylou Harris, Maná, The Wallflowers, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros, Artis the Spoonman and many more.

"present: Burma: It Can’t Wait"Healey partnered with the US Campaign for Burma and Fanista.com to create a revolutionary human rights media advocacy campaign in support of Aung San Suu Kyi and her cause. Over the course of 30 days, the world of actors, artists, musicians, soccer, and others responded to the need to tell the public stories about Burma.


* [http://www.humanrightsactioncenter.org/pages/media.html 2005:'DOUYE!' (Our Cause)]

* [http://www.humanrightsactioncenter.org/pages/media.html 'KEEPER OF THE FLAME']

* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NySuaJ2B20E Jim Carrey for Burma - The CALL TO ACTION]

* [http://www.burmaitcantwait.org Burma: It Can’t Wait]

* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN7r2WOXiuI Aung San Suu Kyi Animation]


"1991: Punks for Human Rights with Joe Strummer"

Generations One: A Punk Look at Human Rights

This CD compilation is a tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt, who led the United Nations to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Generation one features tracks by Electric Dog House, band by The Clash singer/song-writer/guitarist Joe Strummer, Green Day, Bad Brains, and Lagwagon.

"2004 For the Lady " 27 major musicians, including Paul McCartney, R.E.M., Avril Lavigne, Ani DiFranco, Damien Rice, Coldplay, Eric Clapton, Peter Gabriel, Sting, U2, and others united on a two-CD set to support freedom for 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi and the courageous people of Burma. All proceeds from the CD benefit the efforts of the US Campaign for Burma.


* Book: Jim Henke, Human Rights Now! (Bloomsbury 1988) ISBN 0-7475-0318-4

External links

[http://burmaitcantwait.org/burmaitcantwait Burma: It Can't Wait]

[http://www.uscampaignforburma.org Us Campaign for Burma]

[http://www.humanrightsactioncenter.org Human Rights Action Center]

[http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr Universal Declaration of Human Rights]

[http://www.hri.ca Human Rights Internet]

[http://www.artistsforhumanrights.org Artists for Human Rights]

[http://www.hrw.org Human Rights Watch]

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Rights_Now! Human Rights Now! ]

[http://www.witness.org Witness.org]

[http://theelders.org The Elders]

[http://www.amnesty.org Amnesty International]

[http://www.u2gigs.com/Conspiracy_Of_Hope.html Conspiracy of Hope Tour]

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