Human Rights

It would be impossible to provide a comprehensive resource here regarding addressing human rights-related needs in a developing country or in a crisis situation. Instead, this page focuses on where to find in-depth information (web sites, books, journal articles and other publications) on this subject. This page was authored by a volunteer from the AWN community. Updates and new pages are welcomed!

On this page:

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Human Rights NGOs
  • Other Human Rights resources 


United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR, not to be confused with UNHCR) is based in Geneva. The current High Commissioner is Louise Arbour, a former Supreme Court judge from Canada, who has also been Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals on Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The profile of UNHCHR has grown considerably since it was established in 1993. It has a broad human rights mandate. In humanitarian emergencies it often deploys teams of human rights monitors to investigate past human rights abuses and to monitor present observance of human rights. Its website is at


Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly. It is available, in many languages, at

It is this document above all that UNHCHR and other human rights bodies refer to when reminding governments and others of their human rights obligations.


Human Rights NGOs

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is a leading independent human rights NGO, based in New York but with offices around the world. It is at Amnesty International ( is another global, highly respected human rights movement.

There are many smaller human rights NGOs, often campaigning very courageously for respect for human rights in their own countries. To take just one example, Héritiers de la Justice ( is based in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo. It has won wide respect over many years as it has tried to uphold human rights during the tragic and disastrous war.


Other Human Rights resources

Human Rights Internet ( helps exchange of information within the worldwide human rights community by providing a wide range of resources on its website.

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