Kofi Atta Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize, he was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairman of The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela. Annan studied economics at Macalester College, international relations at the Graduate Institute Geneva, management at MIT. Annan joined the UN in 1962, he went on to work in several capacities at the UN Headquarters including serving as the Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping between March 1992 and December 1996. He was appointed the Secretary-General on 13 December 1996 by the Security Council, confirmed by the General Assembly, making him the first office holder to be elected from the UN staff itself, he was re-elected for a second term in 2001, was succeeded as Secretary-General by Ban Ki-moon on 1 January 2007. As the Secretary-General, Annan reformed the UN bureaucracy.
He was criticized for not expanding the Security Council and faced calls for resignation after an investigation into the Oil-for-Food Programme, but was exonerated of personal corruption. After the end of his term as UN Secretary-General, he founded the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to work on international development. In 2012, Annan was the UN–Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria, to help find a resolution to the ongoing conflict there. Annan quit after becoming frustrated with the UN's lack of progress with regards to conflict resolution. In September 2016, Annan was appointed to lead a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya crisis. Kofi Annan was born in the Kofandros section of Kumasi in the Gold Coast on 8 April 1938, his twin sister Efua Atta, who died in 1991, shared the middle name Atta, which in the Akan language means'twin'. Annan and his sister were born into one of the country's Fante aristocratic families. In the Akan names tradition, some children are named according to the day of the week on which they were born, sometimes in relation to how many children precede them.
Kofi in Akan is the name. Annan said. From 1954 to 1957, Annan attended the elite Mfantsipim school, a Methodist boarding school in Cape Coast founded in the 1870s. Annan said that the school taught him that "suffering anywhere, concerns people everywhere". In 1957, the year Annan graduated from Mfantsipim, the Gold Coast gained independence from the UK and began using the name "Ghana". In 1958, Annan began studying economics at the Kumasi College of Science and Technology, now the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Ghana, he received a Ford Foundation grant, enabling him to complete his undergraduate studies in economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, United States, in 1961. Annan completed a diplôme d'études approfondies DEA degree in International Relations at The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, from 1961–62. After some years of work experience, he studied at the MIT Sloan School of Management in the Sloan Fellows program and earned a master's degree in management.
Annan was fluent in English, French and some Kru languages as well as other African languages. In 1962, Kofi Annan started working as a budget officer for the World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations. From 1974 to 1976, he worked as a manager of the state-owned Ghana Tourist Development Company in Accra. In 1980 he became the head of personnel for the office of the UN High Commission for Refugees in Geneva. In 1983 he became the director of administrative management services of the UN Secretariat in New York. In 1987, Annan was appointed as an Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management and Security Coordinator for the UN system. In 1990, he became Assistant Secretary-General for Program Planning and Finance, Control; when Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali established the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in 1992, Annan was appointed to the new department as Deputy to Under-Secretary-General Marrack Goulding. Annan was subsequently appointed in March 1993 as Under-Secretary-General of that department.
On 29 August 1995, while Boutros-Ghali was unreachable on an airplane, Annan instructed United Nations officials to "relinquish for a limited period of time their authority to veto air strikes in Bosnia." This move allowed NATO forces to conduct Operation Deliberate Force and made him a favorite of the United States. According to Richard Holbrooke, Annan's "gutsy performance" convinced the United States that he would be a good replacement for Boutros-Ghali, he was appointed a Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia, serving from November 1995 to March 1996. In 2003, retired Canadian General Roméo Dallaire, force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, claimed that Annan was overly passive in his response to the imminent genocide. In his book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, Dallaire asserted that Annan held back UN troops from intervening to settle the conflict, from providing more logistical and material support.
Dallaire claimed that Annan failed to provide responses to his repeated faxes asking for access to a weapons depository. In 2004, ten years after the genocide in which
An international organization is an organization with an international membership, scope, or presence. There are two main types: International nongovernmental organizations: non-governmental organizations that operate internationally; these include international non-profit organizations and worldwide companies such as the World Organization of the Scout Movement, International Committee of the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières. Intergovernmental organizations known as international governmental organizations: the type of organization most associated with the term'international organization', these are organizations that are made up of sovereign states. Notable examples include the United Nations, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of Europe, International Labour Organization and International Police Organization; the UN has used the term "intergovernmental organization" instead of "international organization" for clarity. The first and oldest intergovernmental organization is the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna.
The role of international organizations is helping to set the international agenda, mediating political bargaining, providing a place for political initiatives and acting as catalysts for coalition- formation. International organizations define the salient issues and decide which issues can be grouped together, thus help governmental priority determination or other governmental arrangements. Not all international organizations seek economic and social cooperation and integration. Headquarters of International Organisation List of International Organisation and their Headquarters Procedural history and related documents on the'Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations in the Historic Archives of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law World News related documents on the World News related documents
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina, known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe, located within the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is largest city. Bosnia and Herzegovina is an landlocked country – it has a narrow coast at the Adriatic Sea, about 20 kilometres long surrounding the town of Neum, it is bordered by Croatia to the north and south. In the central and eastern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, the northeast is predominantly flatland; the inland, Bosnia, is a geographically larger region and has a moderate continental climate, with hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The southern tip, has a Mediterranean climate and plain topography. Bosnia and Herzegovina traces permanent human settlement back to the Neolithic age and after which it was populated by several Illyrian and Celtic civilizations. Culturally and the country has a rich history, having been first settled by the Slavic peoples that populate the area today from the 6th through to the 9th centuries.
In the 12th century the Banate of Bosnia was established, which evolved into the Kingdom of Bosnia in the 14th century, after which it was annexed into the Ottoman Empire, under whose rule it remained from the mid-15th to the late 19th centuries. The Ottomans brought Islam to the region, altered much of the cultural and social outlook of the country; this was followed by annexation into the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which lasted up until World War I. In the interwar period and Herzegovina was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and after World War II, it was granted full republic status in the newly formed Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the republic proclaimed independence in 1992, followed by the Bosnian War, lasting until late 1995. Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina has grown at double digit rates in recent years. Bosnia and Herzegovina is regionally and internationally renowned for its natural environment and cultural heritage inherited from six historical civilizations, its cuisine, winter sports, its eclectic and unique music and its festivals, some of which are the largest and most prominent of their kind in Southeastern Europe.
The country is home to three main ethnic groups or constituent peoples, as specified in the constitution. Bosniaks are the largest group of the three, with Serbs second, Croats third. A native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of ethnicity, is identified in English as a Bosnian. Minorities, defined under the constitutional nomenclature "Others", include Jews, Poles and Turks. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a bicameral legislature and a three-member Presidency composed of a member of each major ethnic group. However, the central government's power is limited, as the country is decentralized and comprises two autonomous entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with a third unit, the Brčko District, governed under local government; the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of 10 cantons. Bosnia and Herzegovina ranks in terms of human development, has an economy dominated by the industry and agriculture sectors, followed by the tourism and service sectors; the country has a social security and universal healthcare system, primary- and secondary-level education is tuition-free.
It is a member of the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, PfP, CEFTA, a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean upon its establishment in July 2008. The country is a potential candidate for membership to the European Union and has been a candidate for NATO membership since April 2010, when it received a Membership Action Plan; the first preserved acknowledged mention of Bosnia is in De Administrando Imperio, a politico-geographical handbook written by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII in the mid-10th century describing the "small land" of "Bosona". The name is believed to have derived from the hydronym of the river Bosna coursing through the Bosnian heartland. According to philologist Anton Mayer the name Bosna could derive from Illyrian *"Bass-an-as"), which would derive from the Proto-Indo-European root "bos" or "bogh"—meaning "the running water". According to English medievalist William Miller the Slavic settlers in Bosnia "adapted the Latin designation Basante, to their own idiom by calling the stream Bosna and themselves Bosniaks ".
The name Herzegovina originates from Bosnian magnate Stjepan Vukčić Kosača's title, "Herceg of Hum and the Coast". Hum Zahumlje, was an early medieval principality, conquered by the Bosnian Banate in the first half of the 14th century; the region was administered by the Ottomans as the Sanjak of Herzegovina within the Eyalet of Bosnia up until the formation of the short-lived Herzegovina Eyalet in the 1830s, which remerged in the 1850s, after which the entity became known as Bosnia and Herzegovina. On initial proclamation of independence in 1992, the country's official name was the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina but following the 1995 Dayton Agreement and the new constitution that accompanied it the official name was changed to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia has been inhabited by humans since at least the Neolithic age; the earliest Neolithic population became known in the Antiquity as the Illyrians. Celtic migrations in the 4th century BC were notable. Concrete historical e
Sarajevo is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a population of 275,524 in its administrative limits. The Sarajevo metropolitan area, including Sarajevo Canton, East Sarajevo and nearby municipalities, is home to 555,210 inhabitants.a Nestled within the greater Sarajevo valley of Bosnia, it is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of the Balkans. Sarajevo is the political and cultural center of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a prominent center of culture in the Balkans, with its region-wide influence in entertainment, media and the arts. Due to its long and rich history of religious and cultural diversity, Sarajevo is sometimes called the "Jerusalem of Europe" or "Jerusalem of the Balkans", it is one of only a few major European cities which have a mosque, Catholic church, Orthodox church and synagogue in the same neighborhood. A regional center in education, the city is home to the Balkans first institution of tertiary education in the form of an Islamic polytechnic called the Saraybosna Osmanlı Medrese, today part of the University of Sarajevo.
Although settlement in the area stretches back to prehistoric times, the modern city arose as an Ottoman stronghold in the 15th century. Sarajevo has attracted international attention several times throughout its history. In 1885, Sarajevo was the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have a full-time electric tram network running through the city, following San Francisco. In 1914, it was the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by local Young Bosnia activist Gavrilo Princip that sparked World War I, which ended Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and resulted in the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After World War II, the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the Second Yugoslavia led to a massive expansion of Sarajevo, the constituent republic's capital, which culminated with the hosting of the 1984 Winter Olympics marking a prosperous era for the city. However, after the start of the Yugoslav Wars, for 1,425 days, from April 1992 to February 1996, the city suffered the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare, during the Bosnian War and the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Sarajevo has been undergoing post-war reconstruction, is the fastest growing city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The travel guide series Lonely Planet has named Sarajevo as the 43rd best city in the world, in December 2009 listed Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010. In 2011, Sarajevo was nominated to be the European Capital of Culture in 2014 and will be hosting the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2019; the earliest known name for the large central Bosnian region of today's Sarajevo is Vrhbosna. The name Sarajevo derives from the Turkish noun saray, meaning "palace" or "mansion"; the letter "j" in the Bosnian language is equivalent soundwise to the English letter "y" as in "boy" and "yet". The evo portion may come from the term saray ovası first recorded in 1455, meaning "the plains around the palace" or "palace plains". However, in his Dictionary of Turkish loanwords, Abdulah Škaljić maintains that the "evo" ending is more to have come from the widespread Slavic suffix "evo" used to indicate place names, than from the Turkish ending "ova", as proposed by some.
The first mention of name Sarajevo was in 1507 letter written by Feriz Beg. The official name during the 400-year Ottoman period was Saraybosna, it is still known by that name in modern Turkish. Sarajevo has had many nicknames; the earliest is Šeher, the term Isa-Beg Ishaković used to describe the town he was going to build. It is a Turkish word meaning an advanced city of key importance which in turn comes from Persian: شهر shahr; as Sarajevo developed, numerous nicknames came from comparisons to other cities in the Islamic world, i.e. "Damascus of the North". The most popular of these was "European Jerusalem"; some argue that a more correct translation of saray is government house. Sarajevo is near the geometric center of the triangular-shaped Bosnia-Herzegovina and within the historical region of Bosnia proper, it is situated 518 meters above sea level and lies in the Sarajevo valley, in the middle of the Dinaric Alps. The valley itself once formed a vast expanse of greenery, but gave way to urban expansion and development in the post-World War II era.
The city is surrounded by forested hills and five major mountains. The highest of the surrounding peaks is Treskavica at 2,088 meters Bjelašnica mountain at 2,067 meters, Jahorina at 1,913 meters, Trebević at 1,627 meters, with 1,502 meters Igman being the shortest; the last four are known as the Olympic Mountains of Sarajevo. The city itself has its fair share of hilly terrain, as evidenced by the many steeply inclined streets and residences perched on the hillsides; the Miljacka river is one of the city's chief geographic features. It flows through the city from east through the center of Sarajevo to west part of city where meets up with the Bosna river. Miljacka river is "The Sarajevo River", with its source 2 kilometres south of the town of Pale at the foothills of Mount Jahorina, several kilometers to the east of Sarajevo center; the Bosna's source, Vrelo Bosne near Ilidža, is another notable natural landmark and a popular destination for Sarajevans and other tourists. Several smaller rivers and streams such as Koševski Potok run through the city and its vicinity.
Mostar is a city and the administrative center of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inhabited by 105,797 people, it is the most important city in the Herzegovina region, serving as its cultural and economic capital. Mostar is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mostar was named after the bridge keepers who in the medieval times guarded the Stari Most over the Neretva; the Old Bridge, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's most visited landmarks, is considered an exemplary piece of Islamic architecture in the Balkans. Human settlements on the river Neretva, between the Hum Hill and the Velež Mountain, have existed since prehistory, as witnessed by discoveries of fortified enceintes and cemeteries. Evidence of Roman occupation was discovered beneath the present town; as far as medieval Mostar goes, although the Christian basilicas of late antiquity remained in use, few historical sources were preserved and not much is known about this period.
The name of Mostar was first mentioned in a document dating from 1474, taking its name from the bridge-keepers. During this time it was the seat of a kadiluk. Since Mostar was on the trade route between the Adriatic and the mineral-rich regions of central Bosnia, the settlement began to spread to the right bank of the river. Prior to the 1474 the names of two towns appear in medieval historical sources, along with their medieval territories and properties – the towns of Nebojša and Cimski grad. In the early 15th century the county of Večenike covered the site of the present-day Mostar along the right bank of the Neretva, including the sites of Zahum, Ilići, Raštani and Vojno, it was at the center of this area. Mostar is indirectly referred to in a 1454 charter of King Alfonso V of Aragon as Pons, for a bridge had been built there. Prior to 1444, the Nebojša fort was built on the left bank of the Neretva, which belonged to the late medieval county still known as Večenike or Večerić; the earliest documentary reference to Mostar as a settlement dates from 3 April 1452, when Ragusans wrote to their fellow countrymen in the service of Serbian Despot Đorđe Branković to say that Vladislav Hercegović had turned against his father Stjepan and occupied the town of Blagaj and other places, including “Duo Castelli al ponte de Neretua.”.
In 1468 the region came under Ottoman rule and the urbanization of the settlement began. It was named Köprühisar, meaning fortress at the bridge, at the centre of, a cluster of 15 houses. Following the unwritten oriental rule, the town was organized into two distinct areas: čaršija, the crafts and commercial centre of the settlement, mahala or a residential area; the town was fortified between the years 1520 and 1566, the wooden bridge was rebuilt in stone. The stone bridge, the Old Bridge, was erected in 1566 on the orders of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. 28 metres long and 20 metres high became a wonder in its own time. Becoming the city's symbol, the Old Bridge was designed by Mimar Hayruddin, a student and apprentice of Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. In the late 16th century, Köprühisar was one of the towns of the Sanjak of Herzegovina; the traveler Evliya Çelebi wrote in the 17th century that: the bridge is like a rainbow arch soaring up to the skies, extending from one cliff to the other....
I, a poor and miserable slave of Allah, have passed through 16 countries, but I have never seen such a high bridge. It is thrown from rock to rock as high as the sky. Austria-Hungary took control over Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878 and ruled the country until the aftermath of World War I in 1918, when it became part of the State of Slovenes and Serbs and Yugoslavia. During this period, Mostar was recognized as the unofficial capital of Herzegovina; the first church in the city of Mostar, a Serbian Orthodox Church, was built in 1834 during Ottoman rule. In 1881 the town became the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mostar-Duvno and in 1939, it became a part of the Banovina of Croatia. During World War II Mostar was an important city in the fascist Independent State of Croatia. After World War II, Mostar developed a production of plastics, bauxite, wine and aluminium products. Several dams were built in the region to harness the hydroelectric power of the Neretva; the city was a major industrial and tourist center and prospered economically during the time of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
After Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia in April 1992, the town was besieged by the Yugoslav People's Army, though clashes between the JNA and Croat forces started earlier. The Croats were organized into the Croatian Defence Council and were joined by a sizable number of Bosniaks; the JNA artillery periodically shelled neighbourhoods outside of their control from early April. On 7 June the Croatian Army launched an offensive codenamed Operation Jackal, the objective of, to relieve Mostar and break the JNA siege of Dubrovnik; the offensive was supported by the HVO that attacked the Army of Republika Srpska positions around Mostar. By 12 June the HVO secured the western part of the city and by 21 June the VRS was pushed out from the eastern part. Numerous religious buildings and most of the city's bridges were
Doboj is a city located in Republika Srpska, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is situated in the northern region of the Republika Srpska; as of 2013, it has a population of 71,441 inhabitants. Doboj is the largest national railway junction and the operational base of the Railways Corporation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in Doboj, it is one of the oldest cities in the country and the most important urban center in northern Republika Srpska. Prior to the war in Bosnia the municipality of the same name had a larger surface area; the largest part of the pre-war municipality is part of the Republika Srpska, including the city itself. The southern rural areas are part of the Zenica-Doboj Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the eastern rural part of the municipality is part of the Tuzla Canton in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the parts of the pre-war Doboj Municipality that are in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina are the municipalities of Doboj South and Doboj East and the Municipality of Usora.
The northern suburbs of Doboj extend into the Pannonian plains, mark the southern tip of this great Central European plain. The southern and eastern suburbs are spread on the gentle hills which extend to larger Central Bosnian mountain areas. Doboj was continuously inhabited since Neolithic times. Fragments of pottery and decorative art were found on several localities, with the most known site in Makljenovac, south from the city proper, at the confluence of rivers Usora and Bosna. Archeological findings from the paleolithic era were found in the cave at the Vila suburb; the Illyrian tribe of Daesitates settled in this region as early as the twelfth century BC. Daesitates were one of the largest and most important Illyrian tribes residing at the territory of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina, sharing their northern borders with Breuci, another important tribe. Daesitates and Breuci started Great Illyrian Revolt, or in Roman sources, widespread rebellion known as Bellum Batonianum. After the bloody rebellion was subdued, Roman legions settled in the area and built the large military camp and civilian settlement in Makljenovac.
These structures were most built in the early Flavian dynasty era, during Vespasian's rule. The military camp was large and in the shape of near perfect rectangle with large towers at each corner and the main gate in the middle of the central wall and served as the most important defense on the old Roman road from Brod to Sarajevo, demarcating the borders or Roman provinces Dalmatia and Pannonia, it served its role for several centuries with the evidence of Belgian and Spanish cohorts stationed there in second and third century AD. Canabea contained Roman settlers, with evidence of a large bathhouse with a hypocaust and a concubine house for soldiers stationed at nearby Castrum. A large Villa Rustica was located at appropriately named Vila. Fine pieces of religious and practical applications were found at these sites, including figurines of God Mars and fragments of African made Tera sigillata pottery; when South Slavic tribes of Serbs and Croats migrated into this area in sixth and seventh century AD, they have settled on the ruins of previous Roman settlement and lived there continuously until early thirteenth century at which point they used stones and building material from the old Roman Castrum in order the built the stone foundation of fortress Gradina, several kilometers due north, at today's old town Doboj.
Only the walls of former camp and civilian settlement are still visible to visitors today. The first official mention of the city itself is from 1415, as it was written in the charter issued by Dubrovnik to Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund, although there are numerous artefacts and objects that have been found and which confirm the fact that the area had been inhabited since the early Stone Age, that the Roman Empire had an army camp and a settlement in the vicinity of the town dating from the first century AD. Following the arrival of the Slavs in the sixth century it became a part of the region/bannate Usora; the Doboj fortress, a royal Kotromanić fortress, was first built in the early thirteenth century and expanded in the early fifteenth century. It was expanded again during the Ottoman Empire in 1490; this newer stone foundation of the fortress was built on previous layers of older foundation made of wood and clay. It was a important obstacle for invaders coming from the north, on, Austrians and Germans.
It was built in the Gotho-Roman style with Romanesque windows. The area saw numerous battles in medieval times and the fortress changed hands between Bosnian and Hungarian armies. Doboj was the site of a major battle between the Hungarians and a Bosnian-Turkish coalition in early August 1415 in which the Hungarians were defeated on the field where the modern city of Doboj lies today; as an important border fortress between the Bosnian Kingdom and Hungary it was frequently attacked recorded as 18 times, in the Austro-Ottoman Wars, fell to the Habsburgs in 1878. During World War I, Doboj was the site of the largest Austro-Hungarian concentration camp. Acco
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. The group pressures some governments, policy makers and human rights abusers to denounce abuse and respect human rights, the group works on behalf of refugees, children and political prisoners. Human Rights Watch in 1997 shared in the Nobel Peace Prize as a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, it played a leading role in the 2008 treaty banning cluster munitions; the organization's annual expenses totaled $50.6 million in 2011 and $69.2 million in 2014, $75.5 million in 2017. Human Rights Watch was co-founded by Robert L. Bernstein and Aryeh Neier as a private American NGO in 1978, under the name Helsinki Watch, to monitor the then-Soviet Union's compliance with the Helsinki Accords. Helsinki Watch adopted a practice 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 says it contributed to the democratic transformations of the region in the late 1980s. Americas Watch was founded in 1981. Relying on extensive on-the-ground fact-finding, Americas Watch not only addressed perceived abuses by government forces but 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 examined the role played by foreign governments the United States government, in providing military and political support to abusive regimes. Asia Watch, Africa Watch, Middle East Watch were added to what was known as "The Watch Committees". In 1988, all of these committees were united under one umbrella to form Human Rights Watch. Pursuant to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Human Rights Watch opposes violations of what are considered basic human rights under the UDHR.
This includes capital discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. HRW advocates freedoms in connection with fundamental human rights, such as freedom of religion and freedom of the press. HRW seeks to achieve change by publicly pressuring governments and their policy makers to curb human rights abuses, by convincing more powerful governments to use their influence on governments that violate human rights. Human Rights Watch publishes research reports on violations of international human rights norms as set out by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and what it perceives to be other internationally accepted, human-rights norms; these reports are used as the basis for drawing international attention to abuses and pressuring governments and international organizations to reform. Researchers conduct fact-finding missions to investigate suspect situations using diplomacy, staying in touch with victims, making files about public and individuals, providing required security for them in critical situations and in a proper time generate coverage in local and international media.
Issues raised by Human Rights Watch in its reports include social and gender discrimination, military use of children, political corruption, abuses in criminal justice systems, the legalization of abortion. HRW has documented and reported various violations of the laws of war and international humanitarian law. Human Rights Watch supports writers worldwide, who are being persecuted for their work and are in need of financial assistance; the Hellman/Hammett grants are financed by the estate of the playwright Lillian Hellman in funds set up in her name and that of her long-time companion, the novelist Dashiell Hammett. In addition to providing financial assistance, the Hellman/Hammett grants help raise international awareness of activists who are being silenced for speaking out in defense of human rights; each year, Human Rights Watch presents the Human Rights Defenders Award to activists around the world who demonstrate leadership and courage in defending human rights. The award winners work with HRW in investigating and exposing human rights abuses.
Human Rights Watch was one of six international NGOs that founded the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers in 1998. It is the co-chair of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a global coalition of civil society groups that lobbied to introduce the Ottawa Treaty, a treaty that prohibits the use of anti-personnel landmines. Human Rights Watch is a founding member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, a global network of non-governmental organizations that monitor censorship worldwide, it co-founded the Cluster Munition Coalition, which brought about an international convention banning the weapons. HRW employs more than 275 staff—country experts, lawyers and academics – and operates in more than 90 countries around the world. Headquartered in New York City, it has offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, Chicago, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Nairobi, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo, Washington, D. C. and Zürich. HRW maintains direct access to the majority of countries. Cuba, North Korea, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela are among the handful of countries that have blocked access for HRW staff members.
The current executive director of HRW is Kenneth Roth, who has held the position since 1993. Roth conducted investigations on abuses in Poland after martial law was declared 1981, he focused on Haiti, which had just emerged from the Duvalier dictatorship but continued to be plagued wi