“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. This is the motto of Amnesty international, an organization of 2.2 million members and supporters founded in 1961. Its General secretariat is located in London. Amnesty International is an International non- governmental organization whose stated mission is to conduct research and generate action to prevent and bring to an end grave abuses of human rights have been violated.
            Amnesty International draws attention to human rights abuses and campaigns for compliance with international laws and standards. It works to mobilize public opinion to exert pressure on governments than perpetrate Human Rights in 1978. In the field of human rights protection. Amnesty has the longest history and broadest name recognition. It is believed by many “to set the standards for human rights movements as a whole”

History and background- Amnesty International was founded in London in 1961 by English labour lawyer, Peter Benenson. According to him, he was traveling in the London underground on November 19th, 1960, when he read about two Portuguese students who were sentenced to seven years imprisonment for “having drunk a toast to liberty”11. In 1960, Portugal was one of the last remaining powers in Africa ruled by authoritarian Estado Novo. The Portuguese government vigorously repressed most associations considered anti- government.
Benenson wrote a significant newspaper article condemning the spate of abuses and victimization of innocent people around the world. He condemned a situation where people are imprisoned, tortured or executed because of political or religious opinions considered unacceptable to their government. Benenson worked in consultation other writers, activists and academics and lawyers to create awareness to these prevailing situations. They called attentions to the deliberate violations by … of articles 18 and 19 of the universal Declaration of Human Rights. The article described these violations occurring on a global scale in the context of restrictions to press freedom, to political oppositions, to timely public trial before impartial courts and to asylum issues.
            It marked of Appeal of Amnesty in 1961 whose aim was to mobilize public opinion quietly and widely in defence of these of these individuals whom Benenson described as “prisoners of conscience”. The Appeal for Amnesty was reprinted by a large number of international newspapers. In the same year, Benenson published a book “Persecution 1961” in which he detailed the cases of several prisoners of conscience investigated and compiled by Benenson and his colleagues. In July 1961, the group decided to form a permanent organization. What started as a short appeal soon became a permanent international movement fro non- violent expression of their views and to secure world wide recognition of Articles 18 and 19 of the universal Declaration of Human Rights. By the middle of 1960 global presence of Amnesty International began to grow and the organization began to exp and in many directions and respects. An International Secretariat and International Executive Committee were established to manage Amnesty’s national organizations in other countries. Its activities and influence also began to increase within intergovernmental organizations. By the end of the 1960s, Amnesty was accorded a consultative status by United Nations, the Council of Europe and UNESCO.
            In the decade of the 70s Amnesty’s pursued expanded to include “fair trial” and opposition to long detention without trial. Torture and the treatment of prisoner also became grave political issues in Amnesty’s work schedule. Amnesty contends that the reason for torture by governments and their agencies is either to obtain information or to quiet opposition through the use of terror or both. Also of much concern was the export of more sophisticated torture methods, equipment and teaching by the super powers to “client state”. By the early 1980s Amnesty International had expanded its scope to include disappearances, the death penalty and the rights of refugees and displaced persons.
            At this point, Amnesty started drawing criticism from governments in return. The Soviet Union claimed that Amnesty International was involved in espionage activities. The Moroccan government denounced Amnesty as a defender of law breakers and the Argentine governments banned Amnesty’s 1983 Annual Report. In the 1980s, Amnesty further widened its scope to include extra- judicial killings and military, security and police transfers, political killings and disappearances and other activities of government that takes a toll on the freedom and human rights of people all over the world.
            Throughout the 1990s Amnesty continued to grow in membership, influence and scope of its activities. Presently, Amnesty has a global membership of 2.2 million in more than 150 countries12. Amnesty continued to work on a wide range of issues and world events venturing into new means like arms sale, arms proliferation and abolition of the death penalty and various aspects of several human rights issues.
Amnesty International brought world attention to violations committed on specific groups including refugees, racial, ethnic and religious minorities, the plight of woman and those executed are on death row.  At the intergovernmental level, Amnesty spear headed the creation of United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) established in 1993 and an international criminals court established in 2002.
            After the year 2000, Amnesty’s agenda turned to challenges arising from globalization and the aftermath of September 11, 2001, attack on the US. The issue of globalization provoked a shift in the policy of the organization. The scope of its work was widened to include economic, social and cultural rights, thereby taking a plunge into an area it had declined to work on in the past. Amnesty felt a need to involve itself here because of the growing power and influence of non- state actors like companies and corporations. Of further concern to Amnesty in this respect was the ability of globalization to undermine nation, states and their governments.
            Amnesty International also focused attention on the issue of violence against women and gender inequality, abuse of children and ….aged, control of the global arms trade and concerns about the effectiveness of the United Nations as a world body. In 2008, Amnesty condemned the human rights situation in Iraq and indicted the US and her allies of serious violations. In 2009, Amnesty International accused both Israel and Palestinian movement Hannas of committing against each other during the January offensive in Gaza.

Key objectives of Amnesty International- The key means in which Amnesty International concentrate its activities are summarized as follows:
1.      The protection of the rights of children and the …aged.
2.      Protection of women’s rights and promotion of gender equality.
3.      Ending torture and the use of torture instrument by government and their agencies.
4.      Abolition of the death penalty in the penal codes of all states.
5.      Protection of the rights of refugees and displaced persons.
6.      Rights of prisoners of conscience.
7.      The protection of human dignity in all its forms.
8.      Promotion of religious tolerance.
9.      To end the recruitment of child soldiers.
  10. To respect the rights and privileges of asylum seekers.
  11. To stop unlawful killings during armed conflict and show greater respect for the laws of man.
12. Respect for the rights of ethnic and religious minorities.

1.        There are serious claims of selective approach, bias and ideological learning against Amnesty International.
2.        Have been accused of pursuing the foreign policies of some countries against those of others.
3.        Criticized ever its attitude of tolerance towards abortion.
4.        Accused of one sided reporting or neglect of threats as a factor.
Countries that criticize Amnesty International most severely are Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, DRC, China, Vietnam, United States and Vatican.

Introduction: The human rights watch is a non-governmental organization whose basic function is to conduct research and advocacy on human rights. It was founded in 1978 and it has offices in Berlin, Brussels, Chicago, Hemeva, Johannes bony, London, Losangeles, Moscow, Paris, Sanfrancisco, Tokyo and Washington DC. Its head quarters is located in New York.

History and background: 
The human rights watch was founded in 1978 under the name, Halsinki watch. The major aim at the time was to monitor the performance of the Soriet union in human rights issues in compliance with the Helsinki Accords’ the HRW has a methodology of publicly “ naming and shaming” abusive government through extensive India coverage and through direct exchange with policy makers. By relentlessly shining the international spotlight on human rights violation  in the former soviah union and its satellite states in eastern Europe, the Helsinki watch contributed to the democratic transformations of the region in the late 1980s. other branches of the watch were founded in other regions of he world to carry out human rights activities. Americans, watch was founded in 1981, at a period when bloody civil wars and military dictatorship had engulfed central America. Relying o n extensive on- the –ground fact finding, Americas watch not only addressed perceived abuses by government forces but applied  international humanitarian and to investigate and expose war crimes by rebel groups and other participants. In addition to raising its concerns in the affected countries Americas watch also examined the role played by foreign governments particularly the US in propping up abusive regimes by providing both political and military support.
            Asia watch was founded in1985, Africa watch in 1988 and middle east watch. There bodies became known as the watch committee. In 1988, all the committees were united under one umbrella to form the human rights watch.
Profile and activities: With respect to the universal declaration of human rights, the human rights watch have campaigned vigorously to uphold the principles of this declaration. It opposes violations of what it considers baric human rights which include capital punishment and discrimination on the baris of sexual orientation. Human rights watch advocates freedoms in connection with fundamental human rights such as freedom of religion and the press.
            Human rights watch produces research reports on violations of human rights and what it perceives to be other internationally accepted human rights norms. There reports are used as the baris for drawing international attention to abuses and putting pressure on government and international organization to carry out baric reforms.
            Researchers carryout fact-finding missions to investigate suspicious situations and generate coverage in local and international media. Issues raised by HRW in its reports include social and gender discrimination, tortune, use of children for military purposes, political comption, abuses in criminal justice systems and the legalization of abortion, HRW documents and reports violations of  abortion. HRW documents and reports violations of the laws of war in international humanitarian law.
            HRW also supports writers worldwide who are being persecuted for their work and who are in need of financial assistance awareness of activities who are being silenced for speaking out in defence of human rights the grant has been a major source of finding for HRW.
            Each year, HRW presents the human rights defenders award to activities around the world who demonstrate leadership and courage in defending human rights. The award winners work closely with HRW in the investigation and exposure of human rights abuses.
            Human rights watch was one of six international NGOS that founded the coalition to stop the one of child soldiers in 1998. it is also the co-chair of the international campaign to Ban Band mines. The ICBL is a global coalition of civil society groups that successfully lobbied to introduce the Ottawa treaty. A treaty that  prohibits the use of anti personnel land mines. The HRW employs more than 275 human rights professionals, experts, lawyers, journalists and academics.

Campaign issues: The human rights watch concentrates in activities in the following key :
1.         Traffic in small arms
2.         Land mines
3.         Gay rights
4.         Legislation of abortion on demand
5.         Pro-matriarchy feminism
6.         Rights of aids patients
7.         Safety of civilians in war
8.         The use of cluster bombs
9.         Child labour
10.       Child soldiers
11.       Street children
12.       Torture and abuse of prisoners
13        Genocide, war crime and crimes against humanity
14.       Extra-judicial killings and abductions
15.       Trafficking in women and girls
16.       Legal proceedings against human rights abuses
17.       Abolition of capital punishment worldwide
18.       Extra-ordinary rendition by the US

Topics and compiles annual reports world wide presenting an overview of the state of human rights organs the world. HRW has published extensively on the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the conflict in the DRC and the Arab- Israeli conflict.

Comparison with Amnesty international  Human rights watch and Amnesty international one the only two western – Oriented international human rights organizations operating world wide in most cases in situations of severe oppression or abuse. Though close allies, the two organizations play complementary moles, more or less, reflecting a division of labour. The major difference lie in the group’s structure and methodology for promoting change. Amnesty is a mass-membership organization and the mobilization of there members is the organizations central colvocacy tool. HRW’s main products are its crisis- directed research and length report whereas Amnesty lobbies and writes detailed reports but also focuses on mass letter. Writing campaigns, adopting also individuals as prisoners of conscience and lobby for their release. HRW will openly lobby for action for other governments to take specific actions against human rights offenders including naming  specific individuals for arrest for sanctions to be  uniposed on specific countries or organization for human rights violations. HRW has called for punitive sanctions against the top leadership in Sudan who have overseen a killing rights abuses often include extensive analysis of the political and historical background of the conflicts concerned, some of which have been published in academic journals. Amnesty’s reports on the other hand tend to focus on specific abuses of rights, in 2011, the times of London wrote that the HRW has ‘ all but eclipsed” Amnesty international. According to the times, HRW depends on healthy donors who like to see the organizations reports make headlines unlike Amnesty which is being supported by a mass membership. The  repoval further revealed that HRW tends to concentrate much on places that the media already cares about and on issues that tend to captivate world attention- in other words, HRW have attracted more attention to itself and its activities than Amnesty international. There are small difference on the issue of policy, for instance, while HRW belives that women have the right to wear a veil, Amnesty has no policy on the issue.

1.         Often accused of poor research methods thereby leading to inaccurate reports. Many HRW reports have been criticized as not representing the real nature of events and issues.
2.       Also accused of selection bias: crities argue have that HRW watch tend to judge some countries and their leaders more harshly while treaking others with kid glovers. HRW is perceived to be anti-china, anti Serb, anti-srilanka, anti- Ethiopia and Protsrael and pro-US. In 2008, Benzela expelled the organization for its harsh criticisms.
3.       HRW has been accursed of ideological bias and preferences. It farous the belief systems and ways of life of some countries and political relationships while condemning others. It is argued that HRW’s assessments have often lack merit and credibility.
4.         HRW funding have attracted Criticisms- it is accused of accepting money and other financial assistance from odd sources and donors some of whom could not stand objective secreting on human rights issues.
Share on Google Plus


The publications and/or documents on this website are provided for general information purposes only. Your use of any of these sample documents is subjected to your own decision NB: Join our Social Media Network on Google Plus | Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin