Human Rights Watch

inline-hrwHuman Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights.

Human Rights Watch has played significant roles in documenting the “ethnic cleansing” that took place in Rwanda and Bosnia, and in Saddam Hussein’s Anfal campaign against Iraq’s Kurds. They have documented violations of the laws of war, war crimes and crimes against humanity in numerous conflicts around the world. The organization has sought the prosecution of abusive leaders, like Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, who perpetrated torture, killings and enforced disappearances; Liberia’s Charles Taylor, convicted of seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his campaign in Sierra Leone; and Hissene Habre of Chad, who is finally facing trial in Senegal on charges of mass murder and torture.

Human Rights Watch has supported and critiqued the international tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and played a prominent role in the drafting of the Rome Statute to create the International Criminal Court.

For 30 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring accountability and justice to people around the world.


In the person of the late Dr. Alison Des Forges, Human Rights Watch sounded the alarm on the ethnic tensions that lead to the 1994 genocide. When the killing started, and the world stood by and watched, Des Forges did everything humanly possible to save people. She relayed how the massacres took place on a systematic and ethnic basis, and how the perpetrators killed at least 500,000 people in 100 days, using machetes, knives and clubs.

Afterwards, she wrote the definitive account, her award-winning book, “Leave None to Tell the Story.” Des Forges appeared as an expert witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and in numerous other venues.

Read more about the Rwanda Genocide on Human Rights Watch’s Web site.

Video: Rwanda experts Alison Des Forges and Corinne Dufka talk about the genocide. The video is on Human Rights Watch’s Web site:



Human Rights Watch researchers traveled under exceedingly dangerous circumstances to interview witnesses and victims, all while Slobodan Milosevic’s government targeted Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Croatia between 1992 and 1999. They documented the shelling of Sarajevo, the mass murder of thousands of Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, a UN-proclaimed “safe area,” and the Omarska detention camp. Their work resulted in two volumes of documented war crimes perpetrated in Bosnia, where tens of thousands died.

Throughout it all, Human Rights Watch used our research to push the European Union and the United States to intervene in the killings, and then to bring those responsible to justice. Our researchers have testified against Slobodan Milosevic at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Read more about the legacy of Srebrenica on Human Rights Watch’s Web site.


In 1991 and 1992, Human Rights Watch researchers were given access to Kurdistan in northern Iraq, where Human Rights Watch conducted months of interviews and forensic examinations. Additionally, they spent more than one year analyzing 17 metric tons of Iraqi security agency documents, entrusted to Human Rights Watch by the major Kurdish political and military parties.

The result: a ground-breaking report, “Genocide in Iraq – The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds,” which details the systematic and deliberate murder of at least 50,000 and possibly as many as 100,000 Kurds between February and September 1988.

Read more about the Anfal Campaign on Human Rights Watch’s Web site.

Human Rights Watch does not endorse, and does not necessarily share, the views and opinions expressed in the film “Worse Than War” or other work contained or referenced therein. Human Rights Watch takes no responsibility for the accuracy or currentness of any information contained in the film “Worse Than War” or other work contained or referenced therein.

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