Human Rights Web

Human Rights Emergencies


o What Constitutes a Human Rights Emergency?
o What Does Not Constitute a Human Rights Emergency?
o What to Do and Who to Contact

What Constitutes a Human Rights Emergency?

As I use the term here, a human rights emergency is a case where the life, health, or mind of a person is under imminent threat from the actions of a government or non-governmental group. Such situations include the following:

If you have witnessed such an occurrence personally or are personally acquainted with someone who is experiencing something like this, PLEASE contact one or more of the individuals below so that we can help. Situations like this are extremely dangerous, and if someone does not intervene, people often die.

What Does Not Constitute a Human Rights Emergency

The following situations do not constitute a Human Rights emergency in themselves:

This does not mean human rights groups are uninterested in such cases as this. It simply means that immediate action is either not needed, or that the groups probably already know about the situation and have the same or better information than you can give them. By all means, feel free to express your concerns and ask about these situations, but please do so through non-emergency channels.

What to Do and Who to Contact

In cases like this, the best contact is usually Amnesty International, and particularly the Urgent Action Network. The UAN is geared precisely toward responding to situations like this. Human Rights Watch is also helpful in situations like this, and I have also included their number below.

You may phone, fax, or send electronic mail directly to the following addresses:

If you need to send confidential information, or information that might be dangerous to you or others if it became public, you may use the Human Rights Web's PGP Public Key to encrypt your message, and I will forward it by secure means to whomever you want it sent to. (The public key is available from Public Keyservers as well as this page.)

You may also phone me at home at +1 (408) 736-2237. If I am not there, leave voice mail and I will return your call as soon as I can.

Created on November 21, 1994 / Last edited on January 25, 1997

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