Human Rights Watch (Activities and History)

about human rights watch

Report on the activities of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

What is the role of HRW in regards to current human rights issues?

Below, details of HRW’s purpose, history, and activities are outlined.

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

about human rights watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international, non-governmental human rights organization.

HRW protects human rights through exerting pressure on governments, corporations, policy makers and individual human rights abusers to effect a desired change.

Human Rights Watch’s Mission

HRW investigates and reports on worldwide (human rights) abuses.

(HRW) advocates for governments, armed groups, and corporations to uphold human rights.

HRW’s mission critical focus is to champion protection of human rights by calling for changes in laws, policies, and practices.

To maintain its independence, HRW rejects government funding and operates (exclusively) through carefully vetted donors.

Human Rights Watch investigates and reports on abuses happening in all corners of the world.
We are roughly 450 people of 70-plus nationalities who are country experts, lawyers, journalists, and others who work to protect the most at risk, from vulnerable minorities and civilians in wartime, to refugees and children in need.
We direct our advocacy towards governments, armed groups and businesses, pushing them to change or enforce their laws, policies and practices. To ensure our independence, we refuse government funding and carefully review all donations to ensure that they are consistent with our policies, mission, and values.
We partner with organizations large and small across the globe to protect embattled activists and to help hold abusers to account and bring justice to victims.

Reference : “Who We Are – Human Rights Watch”

Human Rights Watch’s History

HRW was co-founded in 1978 by Robert L. Bernstein and Arie Neier as a private American NGO bearing the name Helsinki Watch.

The initial purpose was to monitor compliance by the former Soviet Union through the Helsinki Accords.

The Cold War era created a necessity to investigate rights violations in countries that were a part of the Iron Curtain.

HRW has expanded to five continents since inception.

Today, the organization works to eradicate discrimination, abuse and other human rights issues occurring worldwide.

Contact Address – (through Social Media)

Human Rights Watch reports on its human rights activities via various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

The following is a list of places to access HRW on social media platforms.


On Twitter, HRW reports on news related to human rights.
It reports on human rights violations happening around the world and (shining the spotlight upon various abuses) serves to reduce the frequency.

Human Right’s Watch – Twitter


HRW’s Facebook page reports on news related to human rights and the activities of HRW.

Human Right’s Watch – Facebook


HRW’s LinkedIn page also reports HRW’s activities as well as its own job vacancies.

Human Right’s Watch – LinkedIn

Human Rights Watch’s Human Rights Advocacy

about human rights watch

Researchers with HRW have uncovered compelling facts detailing human rights abuses in more than 100 countries.
The results are shared worldwide via social media in an attempt to prevent human rights violations.
HRW conducts the following human rights advocacy activities:

  • Civil War in Syria
  • Rohingya crisis
  • War on Drugs in the Philippines
  • COVID-19
  • Police in the US
  • Refugees in Europe

Civil War in Syria

The Syrian government largely continues to ignore the protection of human rights and humanitarian law.

While the Syrian government has regained territory with the help of alliance powers, the areas under control are riddled with abuses.

Arbitrary arrests by security forces, corruption caused by the diversion of humanitarian resources leading to millions in perpetual hunger have been caused by the government’s failure to fairly address the ongoing economic crisis.

Parties in Syria continue to disregard human rights and humanitarian law protections.

Reference :”Syria – Human Rights Watch”

Rohingya crisis

The Rohingya have faced decades of discrimination and oppression in Myanmarese.

Since August, 2017, an estimated 900,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar and reside in overcrowded camps.

The estimated 600,000 Rohingya who remain in Rakhine State (in Myanmar) are cut off from access to adequate food, health care, education, and livelihoods.

Reference : Rohingya – Human Rights Watch”

War on Drugs in the Philippines

Since taking office on June 30, 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has conducted a “war on drugs.”

This has resulted in the deaths of more than 12,000 Filipinos, predominantly the urban poor.

Reference : “Philippines’ ‘War on Drugs’ – Human Rights Watch”


On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak had reached global pandemic levels.

Shortcomings in public health and social welfare protection systems have been identified in many countries.

This has directly resulted in an increased difficulty in protecting people at risk and thereby reducing disease transmission.

In responding to a pandemic and the ensuing crisis, everyone’s right to health and human rights ought to be every government’s top priority.

Reference : Coronavirus – Human Rights Watch”

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH’s accomplishments

about human rights watch

There are various examples of HRW’s activities resulting in success.

Some cases ended after HRW took the perpetrators to court .

Other changes are incremental in a long process to bring about necessary change.

Below are examples of various successes that HRW has achieved worldwide.

  • U.S. Resolution Acknowledges Racist Genocide
  • Halting of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia due to violations committed by that country’s forces in the ongoing war in Yemen
  • Indonesia giving rights to mentally challenged persons
  • In Democratic Republic of Congo a warlord has been sentenced to 30 Years in prison.
  • Universal protection for workers

U.S. Resolution Acknowledging Racial Genocide

A US resolution acknowledged the miscarriage of justice that occured during the Tulsa race massacre, one of the worst state-sanctioned acts of violence against blacks in American history.

After years of fighting for justice, massacre survivors and descendants of survivors and victims are finally getting some long-delayed acknowledgment of the crimes committed that day. The legacy of those harms is still felt by Tulsa’s Black community today.

Reference : “Tulsa Race Massacre Recognized, At Last – Human Rights Watch”

Yemen war violations force UK to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia

According to HRW, the British government ruled that it was illegal to not take into consideration Saudi Arabia’s violations in the ongoing Yemen conflict before allowing the sale of weapons.

The Court of Appeals said the UN had made “a significant contribution to the documentation and analysis of events on the ground in Yemen conflict.

It noted the work of Human Rights Watch and other organizations that documented violations in Yemen.

(London) – The Court of Appeal in London ruled on June 20, 2019 that the United Kingdom government’s refusal to consider Saudi Arabia’s laws-of-war violations in Yemen before licensing arms sales was unlawful, Human Rights Watch said today.
The Court of Appeal noted the work of Human Rights Watch and other organizations documenting violations in Yemen, stating the ‘major NGOs’ and the United Nations “had a major contribution to make in recording and analyzing events on the ground in the Yemen conflict.”

Reference :”UK: Arms Sales to Saudis Suspended After Landmark Ruling – Human Rights Watch”

Protection of Human Rights Worldwide

about human rights watch

As an international non-governmental organization (NGO), HRW plays an instrumental role in the protection and promotion of human rights.

HRW is a major player in the international community, reporting human rights violations such as abuse and discrimination in today’s world.

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