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Human Rights Watch
Activities and Programs

- We successfully led an international coalition to press for the adoption of a treaty banning the use of child soldiers. Currently, as many as 300,000 children are serving in armies and rebel forces around the world. The treaty raises the minimum age for participation in armed conflict to eighteen.

- We and our partner organizations in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for our work campaigning against this indiscriminate weapon. The mine-ban treaty was approved more quickly than any big multilateral treaty in history.

- We were among the first to call for an international war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and have worked extensively with the tribunal''s investigators and prosecutors. Six of the seven counts on which the tribunal finally indicted Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in 1999 were cases that Human Rights Watch had documented in Kosovo.

- We have provided extensive evidence of human rights abuses to the war crimes tribunal for Rwanda, where the genocide in 1994 killed more than half a million people. Our expert testimony and legal analysis have helped convict several genocidaires.

- We played an active role in the legal action against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London and helped to buttress the important principle that even former heads of state can be held accountable for the most heinous human rights crimes. The "Pinochet precedent" has established that dictators who block their prosecution at home can be tried anywhere in the world. Human Rights Watch is also leading a global campaign so that all countries ratify the treaty for a permanent international criminal court, to prosecute those accused of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

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