Shifting Directions: Human Rights Watch Now Following an Inclusive Path

For more than 40 years, Human Rights Watch has enjoyed an international reputation for taking on and often accomplishing its […more…]

A Global Challenge

It has always been important to recognize that injustice and discrimination occurs in the United States and not only in […more…]

Human Rights Watch

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Human Rights Watch Director: Elisabeth Leader


Human Rights Watch established a presence in Southern California more than two decades ago, convinced that the unique population, influence and resources of the region could be mobilized to defend human rights around the world. In Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, a vibrant community of supporters are engaged in raising awareness of human rights abuses, building financial support for Human Rights Watch, and strengthening HRW’s local research and advocacy.

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We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s director of development and/or Executive Director.

The Human Rights Watch Santa Barbara Committee is the most incredible way to engage with social justice issues and supporters around the globe. The scope and breadth of HRW’s research and work shines a light on challenges faced by some of the world’s most vulnerable.
“Examples of injustices exposed recently include those experiencing the most extreme impact of climate change in places such as Brazil, immigrants suffering mistreatment on our southern border and in nations where war and extreme poverty have forced whole populations to migrate, and health inequities which have been exposed by COVID-19, which has demonstrated the serious deficiencies in public health and access to vaccines and care.
“I support Human Rights Watch Santa Barbara because I learn so much about the world – through reading reports, watching Zoom briefings, and meeting the researchers when they come to Santa Barbara – and it helps me feel more knowledgeable and more importantly, more hopeful, about the future.
Rita Moya
Santa Barbara HRW Committee Vice Chair

Take the Matching Gift Challenge

Please help us unlock any of the following matching grants by contributing to one of these invaluable areas of work:

$25,000 Matching Grant for our Health & Human Rights Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered serious deficiencies in public health and access to healthcare in societies around the world. The effects of the crisis underscore the urgent need to reform government health policies that disproportionately impact the world’s most socially and economically marginalized communities. As HRW lays the foundation for a new body of work on health and human rights in the coming year, it plans to focus on the following areas: tackling health inequalities; protecting the most marginalized communities; ensuring access to health information; addressing health and climate change; and curbing attacks on health in conflict and crisis settings.

$10,000 Matching Grant for Human Rights Watch’s Work in Tibet

Under Xi Jinping, Chinese authorities have accelerated their assault on Tibetans’ human rights, tolerating only expressions of identity that show loyalty to the state and the Chinese Communist Party.

• About two million rural and nomadic Tibetans have been forcibly resettled under the guise of poverty alleviation and environmental protection, cutting them off from their traditional ways of life and communities.

• Authorities have accelerated aggressive campaigns to further curtail Tibetans’ religious freedom, publicly humiliating monks and nuns, destroying irreplaceable communities, and prosecuting expressions of loyalty to the Dalai Lama.

• Even the youngest Tibetan children in rural and urban communities are now denied the right to be educated in their mother tongue.

Tibetans tell Human Rights Watch they believe these policies will erase their distinct culture, religion, and way of life. Our research plays a critical role in challenging Beijing’s claims to have brought prosperity and modernity to the region, and arms policymakers, journalists, and activists with essential facts to hold Chinese government officials accountable for their abusive policies.

$10,000 Matching Grant for our Environment & Human Rights Work

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration has sabotaged environmental law enforcement in the country, effectively giving a green light to criminal networks that drive the destruction of the Amazon. Deforestation, fires, illegal mining, and invasions of Indigenous territories and public forests have soared under his watch. Human Rights Watch is working steadfastly to protect the Amazon and support its defenders. We are working with the U.S. government, European Union, and multilateral organizations to apply pressure on Brazil to produce measurable, concrete results to reduce deforestation, protect Indigenous peoples’ rights, and end impunity for environmental crimes.


Committee Leadership

Santa Barbara Human Rights Watch Committee:
Executive Team
Wendy Read, Chair
Graciela Montgomery, Vice Chair
Rita Moya, Vice Chair
Sue Aldrich Wagner, Vice Chair

Santa Barbara Steering Committee

Benjamin J. Cohen
Christine Fletcher
William Fletcher
Alisa Freundlich
Gwyn Lurie
Rassa Montaser
Casey Rogers
John Steed
Fiona Stone
D. William Wagner
Susan Washing
*Plus a Santa Barbara Committee of over one hundred community leaders