• The Chicago Committee of Human Rights Watch hosted its first online screening and Q&A on May 8, 2020, with ANOTE'S ARK. The film by Matthieu Rytz profiles the impact of climate change on the island nation of Kiribati, which is danger of disappearing underwater as a result of rising sea levels. The Q&A featured Matthieu Rytz and Human Rights Watch Senior Environment and Human Rights Researcher Felix Horne.


  • We are delighted to invite you to support the global movement for human rights at the Voices for Justice Dinner Wednesday, November 6, 2019.  For more than 40 years, Human Rights Watch has been at the forefront of the human rights movement to advance fundamental values of justice, dignity, and compassion. This year, we are particularly proud to celebrate our tenacious Children’s Rights Division and the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    Donate or register here.

  • In light of the commission's formation, US Program Senior Researcher John Raphling has written to share Human Rights Watch's findings and recommendations regarding pretrial incarceration, money bail, and risk assessment tools. While endorsing the adoption of pretrial reforms so as to mitigate the harm caused by the money bail system, the letter warns against the use of risk assessment tools as a shortcut to this goal, citing their inherent racial and class bias as well as their poor track record with reductions in pretrial incarceration rates.

    Read the letter here.

  • Carlos Hernandez Vazquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan teenager, died in a Border Patrol shelter in Texas last week, making him the third child to die in Customs and Border Protection custody in six months. There were 56 deaths in ICE custody during the Obama administration. And next month will mark one year since President Trump issues an executive order to end his administration's policy of separating families at the border — though a similar scheme may soon be initiated, wherein immigrant parents will choose either to be separated from their children or to waive their children’s rights so they can be sent to jail together. These are the issues to which Clara Long, a senior researcher with the US Program at Human Rights Watch, dedicates her work. Long focuses on U.S. immigration and border policy and wrote in February about ICE force-feeding detainees who were on a hunger strike in Texas. She joins Worldview to provide an update on the human rights abuses that immigrants to America continue to endure at the border and beyond.

    Listen to the interview here.

  • Jo Becker Fights For Children’s Rights Worldwide

    At least 14 children were killed in a blast near a school in Yemen this April. Girls from Myanmar are regularly trafficked to China as brides. In Iraq, children suspected of ISIS involvement, sometimes incorrectly, are arrested or worse. These are merely a few of the threats children around the world face. Human Rights Watch aims to bring attention to these children’s plight and advocate on their behalf so that conditions might change. The issues on which the organization focuses include child marriage, sexual abuse, lack of access to education and corporal punishment, among others. Jo Becker is the advocacy director for the Children's Rights Division for Human Rights Watch. She joins Worldview to talk through some of the human rights abuses children face and how we can work toward a better world for all children. Becker’s 2017 book is Campaigning for Children: Strategies for Advancing Children's Rights.

    Listen to the interview here.

  • Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Divison, sat down with Steve Bynum on Chicago's WBEZ radio station to give an update on Human Rights in East Asia. Their talk covered issues and current cases of dentention, asylum, and capital punishment. Tune in here to take a listen!

  • Last week, more than a dozen Chicago Committee members attended a briefing with Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Division for Human Rights Watch. Phil shared details about the ongoing commitment to the fight for human rights in Asia as well as the inspiring story of Rahaf al-Qunun, the Saudi teen who fled her country and has now been granted asylum in Canada. 

    To keep up with Phil and the great work happening in the Asia Division on Twitter click here!



  • (New York) – Thirty landmarks across the globe will shine bright blue on December 10, 2018, to celebrate Human Rights Day and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Human Rights Watch said today. From New York to Beirut and Santiago to Sydney, the global lighting will highlight the fundamental principles of human dignity that the Universal Declaration affirms and that Human Rights Watch works to defend each day.

    “This is a challenging moment for human rights, but while the autocrats and rights abusers are capturing the headlines, they are spawning powerful resistance,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “We are proud to be playing a leading role in this reinvigorated defense of rights and the principles of truth, dignity, and justice that underpin them.”

    Each year on December 10, countries across the globe celebrate the adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The milestone document proclaims inalienable rights to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion, expression and religion, the right to work and education, and many more protections to which everyone is entitled, without discrimination.

    Since 2013, the world-famous Empire State Building – home to the Human Rights Watch global headquarters – has been illuminated in the organization’s signature blue to commemorate Human Rights Day. This year, the following landmarks will shine blue:

    Flinders Street Station, Melbourne (Australia)
    State Library of NSW, Sydney (Australia)
    International Towers at Barangaroo, Sydney (Australia)
    Brussels City Hall and Grand Place, Brussels (Belgium)
    Montréal Tower, Montréal (Canada)
    CN Tower, Toronto (Canada)
    3D Toronto Sign, Toronto (Canada)
    BC Place Stadium, Vancouver (Canada)
    Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver (Canada)
    Gran Torre Santiago, Santiago (Chile)
    Danish Foreign Ministry, Copenhagen (Denmark)
    Paulskirche, Frankfurt (Germany)
    Tollwood Festival, Munich (Germany)
    Beirut National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon)
    Peace Palace, The Hague (Netherlands)
    Qatar Foundation, Doha (Qatar)
    Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, Doha (Qatar)
    Museum of Islamic Art, Doha (Qatar)  
    Ministry of Interior, Doha (Qatar)
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Doha (Qatar)
    Jet d’Eau, Geneva (Switzerland)
    John Hancock Center, Chicago (US)
    The Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College, Miami (US)
    Empire State Building, New York (US)
    San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco, CA (US)
    The Capital Wheel, Washington DC (US)
    The Coca-Cola London Eye, London (UK)
    Somerset House, London (UK)

    “Illuminating these iconic landmarks is a powerful symbol that the values of freedom and dignity that inform the human rights cause continue to burn bright,” Roth said. “It is a call to action and a reminder that despite these dark times, defenders of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law are winning key battles that are well worth fighting for.”

  • Human Rights Watch is committed to showcasing heroic stories of activists and survivors facing human rights issues around the world. We are excited to announce a screening of Strike a Rock, a deeply personal journey which follows two South African activists, grandmothers, and best friends—as they take on the platinum mining company, Lomin Plc. The screening will be followed by a discussion moderated by Isis Ferguson (Associate Director for City and Community Strategy, Place Lab), featuring Komala Ramachandra (Business and Human Rights Research, Human Rights Watch) and Jacqui-Lee Katz (Producer, Strike a Rock).

    Monday, December 10th

    Gene Siskel Film Center | 7:30 PM

    164 North State Street, Chicago


  • October 24, 2018 | Human Rights Watch Annual Dinner Chicago

    Our 2018 Voices for Justice Annual Dinner was our most successful yet, with gratitude to the leadership of Dinner Co-Chairs Sheridan Prior and Shalini Sharma, Committee Co-Chair Terri Abruzzo, and Dinner Committee members Snjeza Barrack, Monica Hughson, Sheila Roche, Ragini Shekhawat, Cindy Soper, Dia Weil, and Rachel Zakaria. We are also deeply thankful to the strong support of the Chicago Committee, sponsors, and guests who joined for the event, or supported us from afar.

    This year, we heard from Deputy Executive Director for Program Iain Levine, Director of Disability Rights Division Shantha Rau Barriga, Researchers Mike Bochenek (Senior Counsel, Children’s Rights Division) and Megan McLemore (Senior Researcher, Health and Human Rights). We were especially moved to hear from Imran Mohammad, former Manus Island detainee and friend of the Chicago Committee, as he shared his deeply compelling story. We thank you again for your invaluable support as we continue to work towards justice and defend the rights of people worldwide.


  • Human Rights Watch believes art translates human rights abuses in a way that urges viewers to take action. Returning for a 6th year to EXPO CHICAGO, HRW highlights inequalities in the global garment industry by featuring new work by The Rational Dress Society: UNDERWEAR, a line of ungendered undergarments. The work calls for sustainable, paticipatory, and transparent labor practices, while challenging narratives about gender indentity. 

    September 27, 6 pm: Vernissage

    Join us to toast our 6th opening at EXPO CHICAGO

    September 28, 5 pm: Under[the]wear: Fashion & Equity for Global Garment Workers

    Close the working week with a happy hour discussion about what's under your clothes and who made. We'll explore art and labor rights in the garment industry with a conversation between HRW Executive Director of Women's Rights Liesl Gerntholtz, and Rational Dress Society artists Abigail Glaum-Lathbury and Maura Brewer. 

    At 6 pm, stay for a curated tour of EXPO CHICAGO for those interested in art and social justice. 

  • Human Rights Watch at EXPO CHICAGO
    The Fifth International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art
    Thursday, September 22 to Sunday, September 25 | Navy Pier, Chicago

    Visit the Human Rights Watch booth at EXPO CHICAGO to shine a light on harsh and ineffective US immigration detention and deportation policies. Since 2007, US Congress mandated that Immigration & Customs Enforcement maintain a quota of 34,000 detained immigrants per day in its 250 facilities around the country. This “bed quota” inspired 34,000 Pillows, the featured work from binational artist collaborative Díaz Lewis. The ever-growing pile of pillows reflects the number of beds required to be filled each night, translating the mandate in a bold and compelling way statistics alone cannot.

    Each pillow is unique, handmade, and priced at $159, the amount US taxpayers spend per day to detain one person. Pillows are crafted from clothing worn by undocumented individuals in the Chicago area. 100% of each pillow sold will support Human Rights Watch.

    Booth Talk: Making the Statistics Human
    Friday, September 23 | 12 noon to 1:00 PM
    How does art speak to the work of grassroots activists and human rights fact-finders? Join Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Grace Meng along with artists Díaz Lewis and immigration activist and former detainee Lulú Martinez to discuss current immigration policies and realities, and how their different modes of activism approach and effect change.


  • Monday (July 20), Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation to end mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles. This legislation is in response to the 2012 US Supreme Court ruling that sentencing individuals under the age of 18 to mandatory life without parole is unconstitutional. The new law allows judges to take other factors into consideration when issuing a sentence such as age and prior offenses, but life without parole for minors still remains constitutional in the US. In the 2008 report, “When I Die… They’ll Send Me Home,” Human Rights Watch argues that life without parole for juveniles is unconstitutional. The United States remains the only country in the world to actively practice this cruel and unusual punishment.