Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an independent human rights information and advocacy group which is funded entirely by private donation. HRW was founded 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 current 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."