Human Rights Watch was founded as a private American NGO in 1978, under the name of Helsinki Watch, to monitor the former Soviet Union's compliance with the Helsinki Accords. Helsinki Watch adopted a methodology of publicly "naming and shaming" abusive governments through media coverage and through direct exchanges with policymakers. By shining the international spotlight on human rights violations in the Soviet Union and its European partners, Helsinki Watch contributed to the democratic transformations of the region in the late 1980s.
Americas Watch was founded in 1981 while bloody civil wars engulfed Central America. Relying on extensive on-the-ground fact-finding, Americas Watch not only addressed perceived abuses by government forces but also applied international humanitarian law to investigate and expose war crimes by rebel groups. In addition to raising its concerns in the affected countries, Americas Watch also examined the role played by foreign governments, particularly the United States government, in providing military and political support to abusive regimes.
Asia Watch (1985), Africa Watch (1988), and Middle East Watch (1989) were added to what was then known as "The Watch Committees." In 1988, all of the committees were united under one umbrella to form Human Rights Watch.
Read more about this topic: Human Rights Watch
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Famous quotes containing the word history:
“There is a constant in the average American imagination and taste, for which the past must be preserved and celebrated in full-scale authentic copy; a philosophy of immortality as duplication. It dominates the relation with the self, with the past, not infrequently with the present, always with History and, even, with the European tradition.”
—Umberto Eco (b. 1932)
“The history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom.”
—Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (17701831)
“There is nothing truer than myth: history, in its attempt to realize myth, distorts it, stops halfway; when history claims to have succeeded this is nothing but humbug and mystification. Everything we dream is realizable. Reality does not have to be: it is simply what it is.”
—Eugène Ionesco (b. 1912)