Advancing Human Rights Launches
On February 24th, Human Rights Watch founder, Robert L. Bernstein, launched a new human rights organization called Advancing Human Rights (AHR).
"I believe that creating Advancing Human Rights is the most important thing I’ve done in my life," said Bernstein, who will serve as the organization’s Chairman. "I never imagined that at 88 years old I would be founding a new human rights organization, but I am doing it out of necessity because I believe there are trends which are doing great damage to democracies throughout the world."
At a pre-launch event attended by journalists, authors and human rights activists, Bernstein introduced the AHR team. "Leading our new organization as executive director is David Keyes. David and I started working together one year ago. He has built a phenomenal organization, CyberDissidents.org, which is a central part of our new human rights organization. It supports pro-democracy Internet activists throughout the Middle East and has been on the cutting edge of human rights."
AHR will return to the fundamentals of human rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CyberDissidents.org and Straight Talk on Human Rights, a new platform for common sense analysis, will form the initial programs of AHR.
"We will focus on women’s rights and free speech," Bernstein noted. "These two rights—the spearhead of most totalitarian repression—are so important because where they are absent, achieving the other very important human rights is practically impossible. We will, of course, go into closed societies."
"Now that these closed societies are exploding," he continued, "they will need every ounce of the human rights community’s attention so that we don’t have another Iran."
Bernstein and Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and one of AHR’s board members, announced the groups formation on Bloomberg TV on Friday. The video appears below or can be accessed by clicking here. The AHR board includes famed Soviet dissident, Yelena Bonner, and former Canadian Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler, among others.
Media inquiries can be directed to AHR’s New York headquarters: