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The Power of an Idea
The Power of an Idea

A film history that traces the human rights movement to the founding of Human Rights Watch in 1978. Human Rights Watch was created as “Helsinki Watch” to support the fight for freedom in Russia and Eastern Europe.  The film shows how the efforts of this small group of activists helped bring down the Berlin Wall and end the Soviet Union.

It also tells how “Americas Watch” responded to the oppression of military dictatorships in 1980’s Latin America, standing by menaced human rights defenders and demanding they be protected from death squads. At the same time “Americas Watch” had to challenge a U.S. president who sent military aid to the repressive regimes, and was openly hostile to the search for truth and justice in the hemisphere.

In the post cold-war world, HRW is portrayed as a strong advocate of women’s rights and a leader in the campaigns to ban landmines and the use of child soldiers, to establish an International Criminal Court, and to support the democracy movement in China.

– Commissioned by Human Rights Watch