• Whether it is an oil company that relies on abusive private security forces, a tech company that censors or spies on users at the behest of a repressive government, or a corrupt government that siphons off the wealth of its nation, businesses and other economic activities can have negative impacts on people’s rights. Human Rights Watch investigates these and other situations to expose the problems, hold institutions accountable, and develop standards to prevent these activities. This work has included research and advocacy on human rights problems caused by corruption in resource-rich countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Nigeria, and Burma.
  • Internet café in Lalibela, Amhara Region, Ethiopia.
    The Ethiopian government is using foreign technology to bolster its widespread telecom surveillance of opposition activists and journalists both in Ethiopia and abroad.
  • Without Rules: A Failed Approach to Corporate Accountability

    By Christopher Albin-Lackey, senior researcher

    Some of the most powerful and sophisticated actors on the world stage are companies, not governments. In 2011 alone, oil and gas behemoth ExxonMobil generated revenues of US$467 billion—the size of Norway’s entire economy. Walmart, the world’s third-largest employer with more than 2 million workers, has a workforce that trails only the militaries of the United States and China in size.

    Many global businesses are run with consideration for the well-being of the people whose lives they touch. But others—whether through incompetence or by design—seriously harm the communities around them, their workers, and even the governments under which they work.

    Read the full essay >>

Reports

Corporations

  • May 19, 2015
    As the Senate considers the USA Freedom Act this week, policymakers should strengthen it by limiting large-scale collection of records and reinforcing transparency and carrying court reforms further. The Senate should also take care not to weaken the bill, and should reject any amendments that would require companies to retain personal data for longer than is necessary for business purposes.
  • May 13, 2015
  • May 11, 2015
  • Apr 30, 2015
    The United States Congress should swiftly pass the USA Freedom Act to thwart bulk data collection and improve transparency and oversight of surveillance in the US. The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill on April 30, 2015.
  • Apr 30, 2015
    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and its shareholder countries should urge the Azerbaijani government to end its crackdown on activists and independent groups during the bank’s upcoming meeting. The Asian Development Bank, a multilateral finance institution based in Manila, will hold its 48th annual board of governors meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, from May 2 to 5, 2015.
  • Apr 22, 2015
  • Mar 25, 2015
    Burma’s government has failed to engage in meaningful public consultation on a draft investment law that could have a profound impact on human rights in the country.
  • Mar 11, 2015
    A bill passed today by Georgia’s House of Representatives includes important and far-reaching reforms of the state’s abuse-ridden for-profit probation industry, Human Rights Watch, the national American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLU of GA) said today. The bill will next be considered by the state Senate.
  • Mar 9, 2015
    The Ethiopian government has renewed efforts to silence independent voices abroad by using apparent foreign spyware. The Ethiopian authorities should immediately cease digital attacks on journalists, while foreign surveillance technology sellers should investigate alleged abuses linked to their products.
  • Feb 25, 2015
    Human Rights Watch is an independent international organization that monitors human rights in more than 90 countries around the world. I am writing to request your input and perspective regarding follow-up to our March 2014 report, They Know Everything We Do: Telecom and Internet Surveillance in Ethiopia, which documents Ethiopian government human rights violations facilitated by abusive digital surveillance.