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Philanthropy protecting human rights, Rupert Abbott

Introducing Rupert Abbott, Executive Director of GiveOut, a UK-based community foundation dedicated to supporting people's human rights, people whose rights have been denied because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity..

Rupert is a passionate advocate for the human rights movement, having started his career as a trainee solicitor and now leading the way for individuals who seek to make a positive impact on people's lives. Rupert shares his personal journey as a gay man and his extensive career, which has taken him across the globe, with a notable focus on Cambodia and his latest role as a philanthropy leader.


Established in 2018 by founder and current Chair Elliot Vaughn MBE, GiveOut is committed to global human rights activism. They actively search for initiatives and opportunities, conduct due diligence, and pool funds from generous donors to support these efforts. GiveOut has successfully funded almost 40 organisations worldwide. Their impactful work was recognised early on when they received a new charity breakout award, acknowledging their unique and innovative approach to cause-focused philanthropy.


GiveOut's mission is to foster the growth of support for LGBTQI human rights globally. Unfortunately, in many countries, LGBTQI individuals face severe human rights abuses simply for being themselves. Rupert discusses a recent example, the alarming situation in Uganda, where a new law has been passed, imposing harsh jail terms and even the death penalty for same-sex relations. However, he emphasises that there are remarkable organisations in nearly every country tirelessly working to defend LGBTQI individuals, address inequalities, and advocate for lasting change. He highlights the fact that these organisations often suffer from severe underfunding, receiving only a minuscule fraction of international development aid—just four cents for every $100 provided by governments. Rupert further points out that, concurrently, the religious right invests substantial resources into organisations and movements that oppose equality and human rights.


GiveOut's role is to channel more resources into the LGBTQI movement through collaboration with individuals, allies, and corporations, making it easier for them to support LGBTQI rights activism worldwide.


Rupert brings over 15 years of experience in human rights and developing not-for-profit organisations. He co-founded RightsStart, a hub for human rights experts, and has held senior positions with organisations such as the Human Rights House Foundation, Amnesty International, the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, and the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights. Rupert also serves as an Advisor to the Future Forum think tank in Southeast Asia and on the Supervisory Board of Climate Counsel, an organisation dedicated to pursuing environmental and climate justice through international criminal law.


Additionally, Rupert is a trustee of the Association of Charitable Foundations and a Venture Board member of Ashoka.

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