• 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.
  • 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

Corporations

  • Mar 25, 2015
    Burma’s government has failed to engage in meaningful public consultation on a draft investment law that could have a profound impact on human rights in the country.
  • Mar 11, 2015
    A bill passed today by Georgia’s House of Representatives includes important and far-reaching reforms of the state’s abuse-ridden for-profit probation industry, Human Rights Watch, the national American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLU of GA) said today. The bill will next be considered by the state Senate.
  • Mar 9, 2015
    The Ethiopian government has renewed efforts to silence independent voices abroad by using apparent foreign spyware. The Ethiopian authorities should immediately cease digital attacks on journalists, while foreign surveillance technology sellers should investigate alleged abuses linked to their products.
  • Feb 25, 2015
    Human Rights Watch is an independent international organization that monitors human rights in more than 90 countries around the world. I am writing to request your input and perspective regarding follow-up to our March 2014 report, They Know Everything We Do: Telecom and Internet Surveillance in Ethiopia, which documents Ethiopian government human rights violations facilitated by abusive digital surveillance.
  • Feb 18, 2015
    Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to submit comments on the use of encryption and anonymity in digital communications for the special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression’s 2015 report to the Human Rights Council. Human Rights Watch is an independent global organization with a presence in more than 90 countries, investigating human rights abuses, publishing findings, and working with local partners to promote respect for and adherence to human rights obligations around the world.
  • Jan 14, 2015
    Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to review the draft IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. Below are recommendations based on research conducted by Human Rights Watch in various countries. Human Rights Watch has carried out extensive research on business and human rights issues, including on human rights and mining in India, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mali, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Jan 12, 2015
    More children work in agriculture than in any other industry in the world. But the scale and complexity of the problem is no excuse for tolerating a practice that traps children in multi-generational cycles of poverty, or, worse, leaves them injured, maimed, or dead.
  • Nov 21, 2014
    The bold activists around the world who stand up to corporate and government economic interests frequently face a harsh backlash. Individuals and communities are threatened, and activists may be arrested or killed with impunity in retaliation for speaking out against abuses of worker rights, hazardous environmental conditions, and displacement from large-scale infrastructure projects, to name some all-too-common examples.
  • Nov 13, 2014
    For more than 15 years, Human Rights Watch has documented the impact grand corruption has on human rights. It is our belief that it is one of the key drivers for human rights problems in many parts of the world.
  • Sep 24, 2014
    BP should tackle a harsh government crackdown on independent groups and activists in Azerbaijan, Human Rights Watch said in a letter released today. The crackdown has seriously compromised an international natural resource transparency initiative in which the company plays a leading role. On September 20, 2014, BP and the government of Azerbaijan, a member of the same group, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), held a high-profile ceremony to mark the official start of a major new project to supply gas from Azerbaijan to Europe.