The Philanthropy of George Soros: Building Open Societies

By Chuck Sudetic | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Promoting Justice

Aryeh Neier joined George Soros’s Open Society Foundations in 1993 as president after directing the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch. While at Human Rights Watch, he helped expand the mandate of the international human rights movement, which had previously limited its efforts to safeguarding the rights of individual victims of politically motivated abuse. Under Neier’s leadership, Human Rights Watch began drawing attention to the direct responsibility governments sometimes bear for massive human rights abuses and, crucially, to the indirect responsibility of foreign governments and institutions that effectively support governments that com mit wholesale rights abuses. Neier also led efforts to expand the work of the international human rights movement to address abuses that were not politically driven, including abuse of women, police brutality, and deplorable conditions in jails and prisons for persons awaiting trial or serving sentences for ordinary crimes.

Neier met George Soros in 1979, when Soros was just beginning his philanthropic activity. Soros became a strong supporter of Human Rights Watch, and he and Neier developed a friendship and a fruitful partnership.

Neier joined the Open Society Foundations at a particularly auspicious time for advancing open society and international

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