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Soros gives $100 million to human rights group

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Billionaire investor George Soros will donate $100 million to Human Rights Watch, the organization announced Tuesday.

Soros - a noted backer of liberal causes - will provide the "challenge grant" over a 10-year period, the organization said. As a result, Human Rights Watch is expected to raise an addition $100 million in matching private contributions,

Soros referred to Human Rights Watch as "one of the most effective organizations I support" in a press release from the organization.

"Human rights underpin our greatest aspirations: they're at the heart of open societies," he said.

The New York-based organization, which does not accept government donations, said the challenge grant will allow it to increase its annual budget to $80 million from $48 million within five years.

With a staff of about 300 workers, Human Rights Watch publishes about 100 reports annually and hundreds of press releases to draw international attention to human rights violations in some 90 countries.

With the influx of additional funding, the organization said it will add staff to "maximize the impact of its research" by engaging "more effectively" with governments on areas of concern and developing relationships with journalists.

Most recently, the organization published a report on police brutality in Zambia, urged a fair trial for human rights advocates in Kyrgyzstan and requested that Indian hospitals conduct less "degrading" tests for rape victims. To top of page

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