Soros to give USD 100 million grant to Human Rights Watch
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Last Updated: Wednesday, September 08, 2010, 00:26
New York: Billionaire George Soros has announced a USD 100 million grant to Human Rights Watch in a bid to transform it into a global organisation.

Soros, 80, noted that the gift to Human Rights Watch is the first of a series of large gifts that he plans to make.

"This is partly due to age. Originally I wanted to distribute all of the money during my lifetime, but I have abandoned that plan.

"My foundation should continue, but I still would like to do a lot of giving during my lifetime, and doing it this way, with such size, is a step in that direction," he said in an interview with The New York Times.

"I'm afraid the United States has lost the moral high ground under the Bush administration, but the principles that Human Rights Watch promotes have not lost their universal applicability. So to be more effective, I think the organisation has to be seen as more international, less an American organisation," Soros was quoted as saying by The Times.

This is also only the second charitable donation made by any individual for the amount of USD 100 million or more, according to Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, it reported.

"We're seeing noticeably fewer charitable gifts at the USD 100 million level from individuals reported than we did just a few years ago," Patrick Rooney, the Center's Executive Director, said.

The group, which is based in New York, would use the money to expand its influence in emerging power centers, Kenneth Roth, the chief of Human Rights Watch, said.

It would involve adding 120 staff members to its team of 300 around the world.

Roth also noted that South Africa had more sway in Zimbabwe than the United States, while India, China and Japan are more influential in Sri Lanka.

"We need to try to generate pressure on those governments, those emerging powers, now, which means expanding our capacity to deploy our information," he said.

Soros also wants the Human Rights Watch raise more money in places like Brazil, Mexico, India and China, according to Roth.

"This is a transformative grant in more than one way for sure," the HRW chief said.


First Published: Wednesday, September 08, 2010, 00:26

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