• 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.

Featured Content

  • 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

Business

  • Apr 8, 2014
    The former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden has told the Council of Europe that the NSA spied on human rights organizations, but did not identify which groups. If Snowden’s assertion is accurate, it is an example of behavior the US government condemns around the world.
  • Apr 7, 2014
    Ethiopian expats, including those living in the United States, have become targets of Addis Ababa's global espionage.
  • Apr 4, 2014
    World leaders should make a commitment to keep invasive surveillance systems and technologies out of the hands of dictators and oppressive regimes, a new global coalition of human rights organizations said today as it announced its formation in Brussels.
  • Apr 1, 2014
    Many Europeans are upset over revelations that the United States government spies on them. But European companies are selling surveillance tools and know-how to other governments, allowing them to spy abroad. Their customers include some of the world's most abusive governments and at least one of them—Ethiopia—is targeting its diaspora population in Europe. The results extend beyond outrage over privacy violations: They put people in danger.
  • Apr 1, 2014
    This submission is made by Privacy International, Access, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, along with Article 19, the Association for Progressive Communications, Human Rights Watch and the World Wide Web Foundation. Submissions and recommendations cover five main themes: the meaning of interferences with the right to privacy in the context of communications surveillance, the out-dated distinction between communications data and content, the conceptualisation of mass surveillance as inherently disproportionate, the extra-territorial application of the right to privacy, and the need for legal frameworks to provide protections for the right to privacy without discriminating on the basis of nationality.
  • Mar 25, 2014
    Abeba, a 31-year-old Muslim woman who worked for a local government branch of Ethiopia’s youth and sports office, was at work when Ethiopian security officials detained her and took her to a military camp.
  • Mar 25, 2014
    The Ethiopian government is using foreign technology to bolster its widespread telecom surveillance of opposition activists and journalists both in Ethiopia and abroad.
  • Mar 20, 2014
    France’s indictment of the eldest son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea on money-laundering charges sends a strong message in the global fight against kleptocracy. French courts issued the indictment against Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, known as Teodorín, who is a top official in his father’s government and considered a possible successor to his father, on March 18, 2014, RFI reported.
  • Mar 19, 2014
  • Mar 14, 2014
    A major global initiative to encourage governments to better manage natural resource revenues should reject Ethiopia’s bid for membership due to its harsh restrictions on civil society, Human Rights Watch said today.