September 13, 2010

With $100 million Soros gift, Human Rights Watch looks to expand global reach

Posted in Philanthropy at 8:11 pm by philanthropynews

By Colum Lynch

NEW YORK – The $100 million gift to Human Rights Watch from billionaire George Soros announced last week will extend the overseas presence of the influential American rights champion and ensure its financial health for years to come.

But the goal of the gift is more ambitious still: to alter the way human rights are promoted in the 21st century, making rights advocacy less of an exclusively American and European cause.

The donation, the largest single gift ever from the Hungarian-born investor and philanthropist, is premised on the belief that U.S. leadership on human rights has been diminished by a decade of harsh policies in the war on terrorism. Soros said he hopes the money will cultivate a much broader constituency of foreign policymakers and philanthropists who embrace the notion that human rights should be observed universally.

“Unfortunately, we lost the moral high ground during the Bush administration and the Obama administration has not done enough to regain it,” Soros said in an interview. “Therefore human rights as an American cause is often resisted because it comes from America.

(Read more via The Washington Post.)

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