This 20th annual World Report summarizes human rights conditions in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. It reflects extensive investigative work undertaken in 2009 by Human Rights Watch staff, usually in close partnership with human rights activists in the country in question.
Every government is at times tempted to violate human rights, but the global human rights movement has made sure that abuse carries a price. Still, some governments cannot resist trying to minimize that price by attacking human rights defenders, organizations, and institutions. The aim is to silence the messenger, to deflect pressure, to lessen the cost of committing human rights violations.
These efforts have yet to succeed, but the campaign is dangerous. Human Rights Watch calls on governmental supporters of human rights to help defend the defenders by identifying and countering these reactionary efforts. A strong defense of human rights depends on the vitality of the human rights movement now under assault.