© 2013 Marcus Bleasdale for Human Rights Watch © 2017 Paula Bronstein for Human Rights Watch © 2013 Brent Stirton/Reportage for Human Rights Watch

About us

Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organisations dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. In 2019, we opened our Norwegian affiliate to increase support for our work and intensify advocacy on key human rights issues both in Norway and globally. Human Rights Watch works closely with Norwegian actors on a wide range of human rights issues including some of Norway’s flagship foreign policy objectives. For example, we engage Norwegians in our efforts to protect education, global health, and the environment; and to limit dangerous weaponry and abuses linked to economic activity. In this, we interact closely with political, NGO, media, and private actors sharing our research and policy recommendations. Additionally, we organize several larger public and smaller private events throughout the year for outreach and fundraising purposes. If you are interested in learning more about our local activities, please contact the Norway office on email

Our work

Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights movement with a network of affiliates and offices around the globe. It includes roughly 400 staff members who are human rights professionals, including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities.   
Established in 1978, Human Rights Watch is known for its accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy, often in partnership with local human rights groups. Each year, Human Rights Watch publishes more than 100 reports and briefings on human rights conditions in some 90 countries, generating extensive coverage in local and international media. With the leverage this brings, Human Rights Watch meets with governments, the United Nations, regional groups like the African Union and the European Union, financial institutions, and corporations to press for changes in policy and practice that promote human rights and justice around the world.

Lama Fakih speaking about the return of Norwegian – ISIS children from conflict in the Film fra Sør Festival. Human Rights Watch photo exhibit outside Stortinget and in Bergen in support of the Safe Schools Declaration, endorsing the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use During ArmedConflict. Belkis Wille speaking of the situation for women and children caught in ISIS camps, during the 2019 Annual Dinner in Oslo. ©

How we work


Some historical achievements

  • We shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for co-founding the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which produced the treaty prohibiting the use of landmines. Building on this work, in 2008 we achieved a similar treaty outlawing cluster munitions.  94 states signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo in December 2008. 
  • We mobilized support for a new treaty establishing global labor standards for tens of millions of domestic workers worldwide—mainly women and girls. 
  • We led the international campaign that resulted in the convention banning the use of child soldiers. Since we began working on this issue more than 20 years ago, 170 countries have ratified a treaty to end the use of child soldiers. 
  • We were one of the first organizations to treat domestic violence as a human rights issue and helped push for the Council of Europe’s treaty against domestic violence. 
  • We helped secure the first-ever Human Rights Council resolution on LGBT rights, finally placing LGBT rights on the UN agenda. We are always looking for more participants and new committee members so please get in touch if you are interested!

Human Rights Watch is an organization entirely supported by contributions from private individuals, foundations and other organisations. To ensure our independence, we do not accept government funds, directly or indirectly. Donations made in Norway benefit our work worldwide. Would you be interested in supporting us, or join our Oslo events mailing list, please contact the Oslo office on email

You can also make a donation or set up monthly giving directly on our website.

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  • January 26, 2021

    Human Rights Watch research finds that criminalization of buying sex also harms people who sell sex. It makes it harder for them to find safe places to work, work together, advocate for their rights, or even open a bank account. It stigmatizes sex workers and leaves them vulnerable to abuse by police. Governments Should Include Sex Workers in Public Health and Financial Support Responses. Read the full article by our co-director of the women’s Women's Rights Division Heather Barr, here.

  • October 26, 2020

    In 2020, you should be watching for a growing trend of national legislatures requiring companies to live up to their responsibilities to workers, communities, and the environment. Parliaments in Germany, Switzerland, DenmarkCanadaNorwayFinland, and Austria are considering laws that would change the way that companies deal with human rights in their global operations. Read full article, here.

  • October 26, 2020

    Governments need to provide more than just empty rhetoric affirming the importance of retaining human control over increasingly autonomous weapons systems. Read more here.

  • October 26, 2020

    The Safe Schools declaration contains common sense measures countries can take to make it less likely that schools will be attacked, and to mitigate the consequences if attacks occur. 

    This increased attention to the problem of military use of schools may be having a positive effect. Globally, incidents of military use of schools—as verified by the UN—have fallen since 2014. 

    Read full article by Bede Sheppard, Human Rights Watch's Deputy Director at the Children's Rights Division here.

  • September 8, 2020

    Norway, with a tradition for discrete participation in peace mediation, has avoided country-specific leadership on human rights issues except for South Sudan since 2019. In the absence of leadership by larger states, it is incumbent on smaller states, individually and collectively, to ensure that multilateral tools remain relevant to address dire human rights situations. The Nordic countries have done so in the past; it is time for them to do so again.

    Norways' non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2021-22 term, is a chance to become a principled voice for human rights and lead on country-specific situations, Bruno Stagno writes. Read full article here.


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