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
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
"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
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.