Last Updated: November 13, 2009

Introduction. This website (www.hrw.org) together with any non-English language versions (the Human Rights Watch websites) are provided by Human Rights Watch, Inc. (Human Rights Watch) and hosted in the United States. We take seriously the privacy of you as the user of the Human Rights Watch websites and any information we collect from you. This document sets out our Privacy Policy in relation to you and your personal data. The same principles also apply when we collect personal data from you through other channels (e-mail, paper forms, phone calls, etc.).

Revisions to Policy: This Privacy Policy is valid as of the date at the top of the policy. Please note that, by using this website, you signify your agreement to this Privacy Policy. If you do not agree to this Privacy Policy, please do not use the Human Rights Watch websites. In our ongoing efforts to provide appropriate protection for personal information, in accordance with changes in the law and at other necessary times, we reserve the right to revise this Privacy Policy from time to time. In the event that we make an amendment, the amended policy will be promptly posted on this website. Your continued use of this website subsequent to changes to this Privacy Policy will mean that you accept such changes. However, you have always the right to opt-out of receiving mailings from us, and from having us share your contact information with our affiliates and other organizations for the purpose of contacting you.

Concerning the Handling of Personal Information: Human Rights Watch acknowledges the importance of protecting your privacy and personal information, and will adhere to all applicable privacy laws.

Collection. We collect data about you when you:

  • submit an inquiry or registration form;
  • make a donation or sign an online petition;
  • participate in some of the online activities we run from time to time;
  • subscribe to one of our online services, such as the newsletter or breaking news;
  • use this website;
  • communicate with us (via e-mail, phone, postal mail, etc.);
  • otherwise provide your details to us either online or offline.

Information Collected. The elements of your information that we collect may include:

  • first and last name;
  • address;
  • phone numbers;
  • e-mail address;
  • if you make a donation, payment details such as credit card information (as with other data, credit card information is held in a secure environment and is retained only for as long as is required to process your gift(s));
  • website usage data and other related technical information, indicating, for example, your browser type, operating system, Internet service provider, IP address, or the site you clicked from;
  • other information you provide to us.

We do not knowingly collect personal information from anyone under 13 years old. If you are under 13 years old, please do not provide us with any such information or ask your parents for permission.

Cookies. We further collect personal data from users of the Human Rights Watch websites through the use of cookies. Cookies are small text files that are transferred either to your computer's hard drive ("long-term cookies") or temporarily to your computer's Random Access Memory ("session cookies"). We use long-term cookies to recognize repeat visitors and to facilitate visitors' ongoing access to and use of the site. We use session cookies to track usage behaviour and compile aggregate data that will allow for content improvements.

We use long-term cookies only when you select a "remember" option on the Human Rights Watch websites, for example the "remember my log-in" option, if offered, when you log on to the Human Rights Watch websites, or the "remember me" option offered on the "Write Your Elected Representative" page. If you select these options, a long-term cookie will be stored on your computer's hard drive solely for the purpose of automatically filling in the remembered information (for example, your password or your address information). These "remember" options are voluntary. If you do not select a "remember" option, no long-term cookies will be stored on your computer.

We also use session cookies when you visit the Human Rights Watch websites. Session cookies last only as long as your session on the relevant Human Rights Watch website. They expire when the session ends and are not written onto your computer's hard drive.

You can set up your computer to refuse cookies by turning them off in your browser. You do not need to have cookies turned on to use the Human Rights Watch websites.

To find out more about cookies or how to delete cookies in your browser, please visit: www.aboutcookies.org

Purpose of Use and Disclosure of Information. We will collect personal information from you only in a fair, reasonable and lawful manner. We will use such personal information only for the following purposes (unless we have obtained your consent or applicable law requires or permits us to process your information otherwise):

  • providing you with personalized service;
  • operating this website and understanding its use for non-person related statistical purposes (number of site visits, average time visitors spend at the site, etc.) and security purposes;
  • managing and processing inquiries, registrations, donations and other interactions with you;
  • forwarding petitions you have signed to advocacy targets;
  • providing you with information about services we offer such as newsletters, breaking news, reports etc. and informing you of other relevant Human Rights Watch activities. We will not send you such information if you object to receiving it from us or if applicable local law does not permit us to send such information to you. Please see our Privacy Preferences below if you do not wish to receive such information;
  • other marketing purposes;
  • sharing your contact information with our affiliates and third party organizations we feel could be of interest to you, provided you agree to such sharing and such sharing is legal under applicable local law. Please see our Privacy Preferences below if you do not wish to have your information shared in this way ;
  • sharing the information you provided us with third party service providers who help us to provide our services and operate. Whenever possible, such sharing of information will be subject to an agreement with each such service provider, requiring such service provider to comply with data protection requirements. We use service providers, which may change from time to time, (among others) to:
    • process donations;
    • operate our websites and other IT systems;
    • administer our e-mail lists;
    • offer publications or other products for sale on our site, for which in some cases you may automatically be directed away from our website to our third-party service providers.
  • complying with applicable laws and regulations.

We are a global organization and may share your information among all Human Rights Watch offices located in your and/or other countries, including countries without an adequate level of data protection laws. Similarly, we may also share your information with Human Rights Watch affiliates around the world. As Human Rights Watch recognizes the importance of the protection of personal information in a sophisticated global information and communication society, all Human Rights Watch offices and affiliates are required to comply with the present Privacy Policy. or similar provisions, subject to their compliance with local law requirements.

Privacy Preferences: You may view, correct, or request the deletion of any of your information we have collected from you and stored by us by sending your request by letter to "Development Associate" at the address provided under "Contact Information" below. You may choose not to receive newsletters, invitations and other similar correspondence from us, and/or choose not to have us disclose your personal information to organizations for the purpose of contacting you. You may do this whenever you provide us with personal information by checking the appropriate box on the online or other form. You may subscribe or unsubscribe to any of our mailing lists by visiting our Mailing List Services Page and subscribing or unsubscribing to each such list, as applicable; a link to automatically unsubscribe will also be included in every e-mail mailing. You may also send a request by email to privacy@hrw.org or by letter to:

Human Rights Watch
Attention: Development Associate
Address: First Floor
Audrey House
16 -20 Ely Place
London, England
EC1N 6SN

If you request that we disclose, modify or delete your information from our databases, or cease to make use of your personal information either temporarily or permanently, we will endeavor to comply with your request as reasonably practicable. Please note that we may need to retain certain information for record-keeping purposes, and there may also be residual information that will remain within our databases and other records to the extent that such retention is legally required and permitted.

Proceedings: It is possible that a government or other entity will try to compel us to disclose data. Where reasonable, we will challenge any subpoena or other legal process seeking access to anonymous or personal data we have collected from users of our website and mailing lists or otherwise.

External websites:

The Human Rights Watch websites may contain links to external websites, such as news sites, international institutions, other nongovernmental organizations or other relevant entities. We do not monitor or control the information collection or privacy practices of these or any other third parties, and are not responsible for their practices or the content of their websites. You should review the privacy policies of such third parties to understand how they collect and use information.

Security: We use reasonable physical, technical and administrative security methods to protect the data that resides on our servers and other files. This includes mechanisms to protect your personally identifiable information under our control from loss, misuse, or alteration, such as redundant firewalls and 128-bit SSL encryption of all transactional information exchanged between you and Human Rights Watch. We also maintain a Level 2 PCI Certification for credit card processing. In addition, all employees are kept up-to-date on our security and privacy practices. Only employees who need access to personally identifiable information to perform a specific job are granted access to that information.

Although your privacy is very important to us, due to the existing legal, regulatory and security environment, we cannot fully ensure that your private communications and other personally identifiable information will not be disclosed to third parties. For example, third parties may unlawfully intercept or access transmissions or private communications. Additionally, in the unlikely event we need to investigate or resolve possible problems or inquiries, we can (and you authorize us to) disclose any information about you that may be in our possession to private entities, law enforcement or other government officials if necessary and appropriate.

Contact Information: If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, including any complaints regarding our handling of personal information, please send an email to privacy@hrw.org or a letter to "Development Associate " at the following address:

Human Rights Watch
Attention: Development Associate
Address: First Floor
Audrey House
16 -20 Ely Place
London, England
EC1N 6SN