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In almost all constitutions of the different countries in the world, there is always a chapter that provides for human rights. Human rights are the benefits that every human being should enjoy as he or she continues to live on earth. However, there are other countries and governments that have continued to violate the fundamental human rights of individuals.
In Africa for example the former president of Democratic Republic of Congo, the late Mobutu Sese Seko, was widely blamed by the international community for continued infringement of human rights. In Europe the late Slobodan Milosovic was also accused for not respecting the human rights accorded to the people of Yugoslavia by their constitution.
History of the Human Rights Watch
In the contemporary world there are a number of organizations that have come up with a sole responsibility of acting as campaigners and defenders of the human rights. One of these dedicated organizations is the Human Rights Watch.
According to Human Rights Watch (Par 1) this organization is a “nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization made up of more than 280 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human right professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. It is today one of the largest human rights organization in world”.
According to Welch (p 112), Human Rights Watch focuses on how the rights of every human being, regardless of the race, religion, and even tribe, can be respected. He points out that this organization has been working towards creating moral and legal grounds that will enhance change.
The organization has also strived to ensure justice and security to all people. Human Rights Watch also pressurizes various governments which do not allow political freedom to do so. They also ask such governments to be at the fore front in protecting the lives and the property of their people especially in the events of war.
The Human Rights Watch was formed in the year 1978 following the creation of the Helsinki Watch. The Helsinki Watch had been founded with the idea of helping and supporting the other human rights groups in the Soviet bloc in carrying out their duties. The main idea was to enable those groups keep a keen eye on the government compliance with the Helsinki Accords that had been assented to in 1975.
Since its inception, the Human Rights Watch has faced numerous challenges as well as achievements. For example, in 1997 the Human Rights Watch Organization won the coveted Nobel Prize for its active campaign against the use of land mines. The issue of terrorism has posed the greatest challenge in the operations of the Human Rights Watch. This is because it cannot play any significant role in ending of terrorism acts.
The importance of Human Rights Watch in Human Rights advocacy
As earlier stated, the Human Rights Watch is non profit making organization that is aimed at assisting the vulnerable and the victims of human rights abuse. Welch (p 45) points out that when war between one country and another erupts or one community rises against another in a country, the most vulnerable group is the women and the children.
This is because women are at times raped by soldiers as they pursue other fighters like the rebels. As a result, the Human Rights Watch has to step in and ask the government to play its role and help end these kinds of atrocities upon her people. On the other hand, Human Rights Watch helps the people in understanding their fundamental human rights.
According to Soohoo (p 123), in an attempt to control the spiraling human population, a number of countries are fighting to control this by passing legislation to control the number of children a couple should have. Since this is a way of curtailing people freedom of choice, the Human Rights Watch is working hard to make sure these kinds of legislations do not see the light of the day.
In my opinion the Human Rights Watch has greatly managed to expand the room for human rights and intensified the war against their abuse. That is, in some countries where people were denied their freedom, Human Rights Watch and other organizations have helped in removing such regimes and replacing them with human rights sensitive governments.
This has been made possible by organizing seminars where people are enlightened of their rights and therefore able to make a decision that involves voting such governments out during the national elections.
Human Rights Watch has been very instrumental in helping people get what their governments have for years denied them. In the world today, every one of us, no matter where we are situated globally, should make sure that we become aware of our rights so that we can demand for it if it is denied. On the other hand the government should be aware that the people have the power and when it denies them their right, they will one day rise against it no matter the force the government may apply to stop them.
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Human Rights Watch. Who We Are, 2010. Web. <https://www.hrw.org/join-us/human-rights-watch-council>.
Soohoo, Cynthia. Bringing Human Rights Home, Volume1. Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2008.
Welch, Claude, Emerson. NGOs and human rights: promise and performance. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2001.