Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an independent human rights information and advocacy group which is funded entirely by private donation. HRW was founded by Robert Bernstein in 1978 as Helsinki Watch, an organization dedicated to monitoring human rights abuses in the Soviet bloc. During the 1980s, similar groups like Americas Watch and Africa Watch were founded, and these were united under the HRW umbrella in 1988.
HRW's mission statement, as read on its website, is:
|Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.
|We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice.
|We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable.
|We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law.
|We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.
 Alleged anti-Israel bias
As with many other human rights organisations, it has struggled with the issue of Israel and how much emphasis to place on Israel's human rights abuses versus the crimes of Hamas and other Palestinian organizations; this led to Bernstein writing an attack on HRW as anti-Israel in the New York Times in 2009. He also criticized HRW for trying to solicit funds from the highly human-rights-abusing government of Saudi Arabia, although there's no evidence that this affected HRW's reporting.
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