Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is a non-governmental organization (NGO), founded in 1978 and dedicated to research and advocacy regarding human rights issues around the world. With headquarters in New York City, Human Rights Watch maintains offices around the globe, including Amsterdam, Beirut, Geneva, Johannesburg, and Tokyo, among others.
Human Rights Watch came into existence as private, American-based group called Helsinki Watch, with the purpose of monitoring the USSR’s compliance with the Helsinki Accords. The Helsinki Accords were an agreement signed in 1975, designed to improve the relationship between the West and the Soviet bloc. One of the declarations of the document stressed the respect for human rights and support for the fundamental freedoms of thought, conscience, and religion.
Human Rights Watch seeks to support the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and opposes any perceived violations of those rights, including capital punishment and any form of discrimination. Human Rights Watch publishes reports on what it believes are violations of human rights annually. It was one of six NGOs that help founding of the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers in 1998. It also is instrumental in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, NGOs that monitor censorship around the world.