Throughout 1990, Human Rights Watch continued to work closely with three casework groups composed of members of Congress -- the Congressional Friends of Human Rights Monitors, the Congressional Committee to Support Writers and Journalists, and the Congressional Working Group on International Labor Rights. All three groups are bipartisan and bicameral. Human Rights Watch initiated the formation of these groups to enable concerned Members of Congress to write letters and urgent cables to governments that violate the basis rights of human rights monitors, writers, journalists and unionists. Human Rights Watch supplies the groups with information about appropriate cases of concern; the groups, in turn, determine which cases they would like to act upon.
The Congressional Friends of Human Rights Monitors, which was formed in 1985, is composed of 32 Senators and 143 Members of the House of Representatives. During 1990, the committee took up the cases of dozens of human rights monitors who had been killed, disappeared, arrested arbitrarily, assaulted, or harassed. During the year, the committee acted on behalf of human rights monitors in Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Turkey.
The Congressional Committee to Support Writers and Journalists, which was formed in 1988, is composed of 15 Senators and 74 Members of the House of Representatives. The committee protested dozens of cases of killings, abductions, illegal detentions, violent attacks, and acts of censorship against writers and journalists around the world. Letters or cables were sent to the governments of Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Cameroon, China, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia.
The newest group, the Congressional Working Group on International Labor Rights, was formed in March 1990, and is made up of seven Senators and 43 Members of the House of Representatives. During its first year, it protested numerous cases of labor rights abuses, including murders, abductions, illegal detentions, beatings, illegal firings, and unwarranted bans on unions. The committee wrote to many governments, including Brazil, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey and Zimbabwe.