UCSJ was founded in 1970 as a coalition of local grass-roots "action" councils supporting freedom for Jews of the Soviet Union. As the Soviet Jewry movement gathered steam in the 1970s, more councils were formed, more individuals became involved, and UCSJ grew to become the largest independent grassroots Soviet Jewry organization in the world.
UCSJ comprises 8 member councils in North America. UCSJ's main office is located in Washington, D.C., with an additional office in Highland Park, IL. In the former Soviet Union, UCSJ sponsors seven bureaus: in Moscow, Almaty (Kazakhstan), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Lviv (Ukraine), Riga (Latvia), Tbilisi (Georgia), and Minsk (Belarus).
The UCSJ is the largest independent grassroots organization advocating for Jews and human rights in the former Soviet Union (FSU). By monitoring and advocating the causes of Jews and the persecuted minorities, UCSJ's activity also promotes the human rights and security of all. We accomplish this by advocating to government officials in the US and abroad on behalf of the victims of persecution in the FSU, providing material and spiritual programs, publicizing antisemitism, fascism, xenophobia, religous persecution, and human rights abuses.
UCSJ publishes an annual report, in English and Russian, "Antisemitism, Xenophobia and Religious Persecution in the Russian Regions." Its reports, including its weekly email newsletter, "bigotrymonitor," can be found on its website: fsumonitor.com. The reports of the Moscow Helsinki Group can also be found on UCSJ's website. UCSJ and MHG were partners in a 4-year project, "Human Rights Monitoring in the Russian Regions," supported by U.S.A.I.D. UCSJ also receives support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
In the Fall 2003, UCSJ was awarded a $1.3 million grant by the European Commission of the European Union to mount a 3-year public "Campaign to combat racism, xenophobia (including antisemitism and Islamophobia) and religious persecution in the multi-cultural Russian Federation." The project began in March 2004 and comprised monitoring nationwide, a hate crime hotline, national and regional legal defense clinics and the development of curricula for schools and the criminal justice system on the subject of racism and xenophobia. The project was managed by UCSJ's now defunct Bureau on Human Rights in Moscow in coordination with the Moscow Helsinki Group.
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