World Report Introduction

The 19th annual World Report summarizes human rights conditions in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. It reflects extensive investigative work undertaken in 2008 by Human Rights Watch staff, usually in close partnership with human rights activists in the country in question.

Sixty years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the governments demonstrating the clearest vision on international rights protections, sadly, are those seeking to undermine enforcement. In their foreign policies and in international fora, they invoke sovereignty, non-interference, and Southern solidarity to curb criticism of their human rights abuses and those of their allies and friends. Governments that champion human rights need urgently to wrest back the initiative from these human rights spoilers.