The Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights (MFHR) was founded by the will of George N. Marangopoulos, former President of the Hellenic Council of State. The will was drawn up in 1973 as a reaction against the junta which ruled Greece at that time and took effect on the day of his death – 23 December 1977. The Foundation was officially recognized as a public benefit organisation by Presidential Decree 560/1978 and came into operation in 1978. The MFHR received considerable financial support from Dimitrios N. Marangopoulos, a businessman living abroad, who passed away, being widower and childless, and bequeathed his entire estate to the Foundation (August 1978).

The Foundation's official inauguration took place on 5 April 1979 and was combined with a two-day international conference held in Athens. The framers of the three Draft Conventions against torture, circulating at that time, took part in this conference, in the presence of representatives of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Government.