Starting from modest origins, the international arbiter has evolved into a well-respected -- and essential -- journalistic force.
Wherever in the world there is trouble, a Human Rights Watch researcher is almost certain to be on the ground gathering facts and offering invaluable insight. Since its earliest work in the late 1970s, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has evolved into one of the leading international arbiters of abuses by governments and opposition forces against civilian populations. Decades of factual reliability in countless reports from every corner of the globe has made it into an indispensable resource for tracking repression and violence and demanding accountability from those responsible. In recent years, in addition to its human rights activities, HRW has also become an award-winning, respected provider of news.
I am an emeritus board member of Human Rights Watch and now only serve on its communications advisory committee. In that role, I have come to understand how significant the organization is in supporting journalism with a stream of information across multiple platforms. This is an era when credible, real-time facts are essential to reporters coping with the complexities of events and the incessant requirements to stay in touch with developments in fast-moving stories. Material from human rights groups traditionally was regarded with skepticism by the media because of the implicit notion that advocacy might shade their findings. But that is no longer the case for Human Rights Watch. With courageous and intrepid staffers dispatched globally, there is ample evidence that they turn out the kind of detailed reporting that correspondents can unequivocally accept. On war-related issues, the rule of law, human trafficking, and every other form of abuse, HRW's expertise is profound. In addition to its daily output, HRW's major reports and its annual survey of worldwide human rights conditions are closely followed by the constituencies they are meant to reach in governments and civil society.